Volvo Ocean Race: Shipwrecked Team Vestas Wind rescued

The moment Vestas crew crashed

A shipwrecked crew have been rescued from shark-inhabited waters during the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race.

The nine-man Team Vestas Wind crew were stranded after crashing on a remote coral reef, before being picked up by a coastguard boat and taken to Mauritius.

Shore crew chief Neil Cox, said: "We've had nine guys sitting on a sand pit in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

"The coastguard was asking me to warn the guys that the reef is riddled full of sharks and barracuda."

The seven-strong fleet was making its way from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi - the second stage of the nine-leg race. The leading teams are due to complete the 5,185 nautical mile route and arrive in the United Arab Emirates capital around 13 December.

The grounded Team Vestas Wind
The grounded Team Vestas Wind boat - taken by rivals Team Alvimedica who waited to make sure the crew were safe

The team, skippered by Australian Chris Nicholson, 45, will try to rescue their damaged boat and re-join the nine-month global race - possibly in time for the start of stage four in Sanya, China, in February 2015.

Nicholson said: "I'm really disappointed. On the other hand, we have to realise how fortunate we are.

"It's clear that human error is responsible for the shipwreck, there's no avoiding that. And as skipper, I take ultimate responsibility.

"The past four days have been very challenging for all of us, and I am extremely proud of the whole crew's professionalism, composure, and endurance."

About the Volvo Ocean Race
The global event takes nine months to complete and covers 38,739 nautical milesOne nautical mile is equal to 1.15 land miles and is used for navigating and charting
The race is regarded as crewed sailing's toughest testThe event was previously called the Whitbread Round the World Race
Read more about the raceexternal-link

The 65-foot boat crashed on Saturday and was left with a badly damaged stern. The crew had to wade through knee deep water to a dry position on the reef and wait until Sunday morning.

The local coastguard took them to a small deserted islet called Ile du Sud, popular with shark-watching day-tourists, but with no lines of communication to the outside world.

A weekly fishing vessel which navigates the 430km, day-long trip from Mauritius to the islet, completed the rescue.

Team Vestas Wind
The Team Vestas Wind boat stranded on its side
Team Vestas Wind
The boat hit the reef at 19 knots - the equivalent of 35km/h - badly damaging the stern
Team Vestas Wind
A plane drops emergency supplies to the crew, stranded on an islet 430km off Mauritius
Team Vestas Wind
Team Vestas Wind finally make it back to Mauritius four days after crashing into a coral reef

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