The skipper, Chris Nicholson, and the navigator, Wouter Verbaak, publicly admitted it, during a press conference: the sinking of Team Vestas Wind during the second leg of the VOR 2014 was caused by human error. In particular Wouter Verbaak specified that, “We should have continued to zoom in on the area using our electronic maps. Not having done that was a huge mistake I made, but the good news is that after that we didn’t make any others.”

A missed in-depth analysis of the area the ship was crossing is therefore the real reason for the most clamorous sinking in the history of this fascinating competition. The honesty of the skipper and navigator in facing the question is appreciated, as they did not look for excuses and took full responsibility for what happened. There is still a question as to whether or not the Vestas team will return to the competition.

The ship cannot be repaired, but it will be removed from the reef to avoid any pollution issues. The CEO of Team Vestas, Morten Albæk, declared that all options are being discussed, time and budget foremost, regarding the construction of a new boat and re-entering the competition in leg 4.

In the meantime, the race continues with Team Brunel leading the regatta at little over 700 miles from the arrival in Abu Dhabi, followed closely by Dongfeng, sightly further away is the winner of leg 1, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Alvimedica, Mapfre and Team SCA follow at 312, 322, and 423 miles respectively.

18 December 2014