SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Mission accomplished! Team Vestas Wind's journey through in Lisbon
Many experienced observers of the 41-year-old race had feared there was no way back for the Danish team in the race's 12th edition when the Vestas Wind ran aground on the Cargados Carajos shoals in the Indian Ocean during Leg 2 on November 29.
The collision caused heartbreaking, extensive damage to the beautiful blue boat.
But the doubters would have underestimated the combined efforts of an expert team assembled by Vestas and race organisers, who have managed to rebuild the shattered Volvo Ocean 65 boat to the strict one-design demands of the race in four months – half the time it would normally take to build the boat.
The bulk of the work has been carried out by the Persico Marine boatyard in Bergamo, Italy.
On Saturday, May 22, the boat left the Persico yard and embarked on a land and sea journey to Lisbon, with the help of Maersk Line and GAC, where she arrived in the small hours of Wednesday morning, ahead of schedule.
In the final stages of her journey before arriving in the Portuguese capital, the boat was transported just over 50 kilometres by road, crossing the Vasco de Gama Bridge (the largest bridge in Europe) across the Tagus River.
Final preparations, including the reassembly of the keel and rig, are now underway. The team is preparing to return to the water for the first time on Saturday ahead of the long weekend of racing (June 4-7), which includes the Lisbon In-Port Race on June 6 and Leg 8 departure for Lorient, France, the following day.
Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, applauded all the combined efforts that have ensured Team Vestas Wind are back in business for the final legs to Lorient and then to Gothenburg, via a pit-stop in The Hague.