ADOR's AZZAM makes her way to rejoin fleet

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It was a tough Saturday night hearing the news of ADOR’s dismasting.  It’s always hard for the guys to head out into a beating on the first night.  You hope that the preparation, equipment, and training has the boys well positioned and safe.  Obviously a leg 1, night 1, failure isn’t want anyone expects.  Perhaps the word gutted is an overused expression when dealing with this type of situation even if it does sum up the situation rather well.  I think it’s always important that we all take stock of a situation like this and be thankful that the sailing crew is safe and unhurt.  The human part is the most important thing, because the equipment is really just that.  The boat itself is more than OK and able to continue as competitive as it was at the start.  That said, seeing Azzam motor back into port with the stump of a mast and the remaining rig tied alongside was emotional.

With the boat on the dock it was amazing to see all the parts of the team move into action.  The group I was working with was able to quickly assess the relatively minor damage that the boat had incurred in contact with the loose rig and rigging.  Repair instructions were quickly created with the help from the FYD team in Annapolis and work was underway almost immediately.

In hours we had the mast off of the boat and laid out for forensic work on land.  The spare mast arrived midafternoon and a team was quickly at work dressing the new tube.  Their hard work day and night would ultimately determine how quickly we could resume racing.

The boat itself was able to be hauled out of the water late the first night after the gusty wind laid down a bit which allowed the crane to work.

On day 2 we were able to wrap up all the minor composite repairs pretty quickly and start cleaning up the boat, and preparing it for racing again.  The work on the new rig continued well into the evening with an eye towards stepping the rig as soon as possible.  Gear bags were packed back on the boat, and the sailing team was already looking ahead at weather routing and race modeling for the leg ahead.

Day 3 saw the boat rebranded in way of the repairs and ready to go back in the water.  Rig work continued well into the night so that the boat would be ready to launch first thing on Day 4.  All in all it was a fantastic response by an extremely dedicated team.  It is absolutely amazing how an event like this can galvanize a team.  I’m astounded by the determination and focus of the human mind when it meets a challenging obstacle.

As the sailing team goes back out onto the water to resume racing from the spot they suspended, I feel for them.  It won’t be an easy sail down to Cape Town without the competitive environment of the fleet.  I can honestly say that we’ve done everything we can as a team to put them in a position to be competitive for the rest of the race.  I think that the whole team will be stronger for the suffering, and more focused than ever at climbing our way up onto the podium again. Whatever happens, the whole team at FYD will be working to support them as much as possible.

Patrick Shaughnessy, President

Photo by Tim Stonton/Volvo Ocean Race

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