The PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG team finally arrived in Cape Town, South Africa, early Wednesday morning, concluding a long and unexpected journey during Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. PUMA’s Mar Mostro safely hit the water at approximately 12:30 am local on Wednesday, Dec. 7, after 31 days since departure from Alicante, Spain, to start this year’s race.
“It’s bittersweet to be here,” said skipper Ken Read upon arrival. “To come into the channel and not have your sails up is just bizarre. At the same time, we’ve known our predicament now for a long, long time. It’s just shy of a miracle that it looks like we have a chance of getting out there for the start of Leg 2. That’s been the goal now for more than two weeks. God bless our shore team and sailing crew, our sponsors and those who helped with logistics – it’s been an amazing team effort.”
On Monday, Nov. 21, the rig onboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro failed about 2,150 nautical miles from Cape Town – the second port in the race – forcing the team to retire from Leg 1. PUMA was in second position in the first leg of the race, sailing from Alicante to Cape Town, when the mast broke.
After receiving needed fuel from a nearby ship, the 11-member PUMA crew motored the boat to the island of Tristan da Cunha, the closest safe location. They arrived at Tristan on Saturday, Nov. 26 and remained on the island until the Team Bremen container ship arrived on Friday, Dec. 2 to pick the team and boat up to deliver them to Cape Town, completing a rare open sea transfer. A new mast arrived in Cape Town on Saturday, Dec. 3.
With Leg 2 of the race on Sunday, Dec. 11, and the In-Port Race on Dec. 10, the entire PUMA crew is focused on getting ready to race again.
“The shore team is working through the night and pulled the boat out of the water immediately,” Read said. “We got a lot of work done on the ship, so the plan is to get the boat polished up and back in the water with a rig in by Wednesday afternoon. We have a big mountain to climb, but I know everyone has the drive to try to pull it off.”