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Tauranga-bound Sanya pledge return in Miami at latest

Team Sanya are confident they will be back sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race at the very latest by the Miami In-Port Race after the broken rudder and consequent hull damage suffered on Leg 5 to Itajaí in Brazil forced them to head back towards Tauranga in New Zealand.

"We have the full support of our sponsors and so now it's about working out what the logistical options are and how quickly we can get the boat back racing again" - Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson


Skipper Mike Sanderson pledged today to get back in the race as soon as possible, with the logistics involved in getting the boat shipped from New Zealand likely to mean that they are looking at re-joining the race in Miami rather than Brazil.

"We are 100 percent focused on getting back into the race as quickly as possible, with the safety of the boat and the crew being of highest priority," Sanderson said from the boat. "We have the full support of our sponsors on that and so now it's about working out what the logistical options are and how quickly we can get the boat back racing again.

"Obviously ideally that would be the in-port Race in Itajaí but shipping options between New Zealand and Brazil are not plentiful and time is against us. The most realistic option now will be to ship the boat to the United States in time for the Miami stopover to ensure we are on the start line and race ready for the in-port Race in Miami.

"We are still doing everything we can to find other options and if another chance does come up to get the boat to Itajaí in time we will jump at it but for now Miami looks the more likely scenario."

A return in Miami in May would see the team in position to contest the final three legs, across the Atlantic to Lisbon, around the Azores to Lorient in France and finally the short sprint to the finish in Galway, Ireland.

The breakage happened as Sanya was travelling at high speed and it immediately sent the boat into a crash gybe with water pouring into the aft compartment. Sanderson said the incident laid the boat almost flat and had taken a considerable time to recover from.

After some swift action by the crew to seal off the stern section and get the boat back under control a fuller damage assessment revealed that the starboard rudderstock had sheared off inside the hull.

"As soon as you are into patching up the boat and deploying your emergency rudder, which is a safety solution not a racing solution, then it's all about getting the boat and the crew back to land safely," said Sanderson.


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