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Trials and Tribulations of Team Sanya

Team Sanya had a run of bad luck in the Volvo Ocean Race. Really bad luck. Sanya Lan, skippered by Australian Mike Sanderson, is a VOR veteran, yet in this race it seemed like she spent nearly as much time out of the water being fixed as she did in it.

Team Sanya had a run of bad luck in the Volvo Ocean Race. Really bad luck. Sanya Lan, skippered by Australian Mike Sanderson, is a VOR veteran, yet in this race it seemed like she spent nearly as much time out of the water being fixed as she did in it.

Just hours into the first leg of the 39,000-mile race, sailors aboard Sanya Lan discovered a hole in the bow which, according to the VOR website, is thought to have been caused by impact with a submerged container in the Mediterranean. Sanya Lan was put onto a container ship and sent to Cape Town, South Africa, where Sanya’s shore team fixed the delaminated bow in less than 10 days.

The trouble didn’t end there. Between Cape Town and Abu Dhabi on Leg 2, a watch captain spotted a piece of broken rigging that forced them to retire to Madagascar for more repairs.

Then, in leg 5 from Auckland to Itajai, one of Sanya Lan’s rudders broke in the Southern Ocean, forcing the crew to head to New Zealand for repairs. In the yard, the shore crew also discovered and repaired a 1.5-meter crack in the hull.

Team Sanya then made their way to Miami, where they were able to join the rest of the VOR fleet for the final 4 legs of the race, undoubtedly with much care and knocking-on-wood.

They weren’t the only team that had trouble, but they certainly had the lions share. PUMA Ocean Racing was dismasted in the Atlantic and Groupama lost their rig in leg 5. But it really was the shore crew supporting Team Sanya that gave the most impressive performance.

The Team Sanya shore crew was presented with the DHL Shore Crew Award in Galway, in recognition of their hard and speedy work and dedication to the team. A statement on the VOR website said, “They patched up a serious hole in record time, repaired a broken rig on a remote island, shipped their yacht across continents and fixed serious structural damage with unfaltering skill and dedication—and that's what won Team Sanya the overall DHL Shore Crew Award.” Clearly, they earned it.

Photos courtest of Volvo Ocean Race

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