Vestas 11th Hour Racing collided in the dark with a fishing boat about 30 miles from the finish line of leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race. One fishermen died as a result of the collision and nine others were rescued.
According to the AP, none of the crew of the American-Danish team was injured in the Saturday morning collision. The 65ft sloop had a hole in the port side of its hull but was able to reach port on its own power.
Race organisers said that Vestas 11th Hour Racing issued a distress call for the fishing vessel, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre. Authorities began a search and rescue mission. The South China Morning Post reported that the fishing boat sank. Police authorities said that all ten fishermen were thrown into the water, but one became unconscious. He was airlifted to a hospital and later died.
Before the collision, Vestas 11th Hour Racing was in position to finish second in the leg from Melbourne. The retirement dropped it to seventh.
Charles Caudrelier, skipper of Dongfeng Race Team, told the AP that the collision was “terrible news” after arriving in Hong Kong. ”We are of course very sad to hear it and very concerned about the fishing boat,” he said. “It is always very dangerous when sailing in these fishing areas when there are so many boats and some have no lights. Obviously this is very bad news for these fishermen, the Volvo Ocean Race and for Vestas.”