Abu Dhabi quits opening leg of Volvo Race
Madrid, November 12, 2011
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing pulled out of the opening stage of the Volvo Ocean Race on Friday, leaving only four of the six boats contesting the leg between Alicante and Cape Town.
British skipper Ian Walker decided to head for Lisbon as concerns remained about their boat Azzam's rigging after it lost its mast on the first night of the leg last Saturday, organisers said.
The team would work to get the 70-foot vessel back in shape for the remaining eight legs of the eight-month, 45,000-nautical mile event, they added.
'We need time to make modifications to our rigging system in Cape Town and the only way we can gain that time is to travel there by ship,' Walker was quoted as saying on the race website.'
'This has been one of the hardest decisions of my life to make but I have to consider not only the safety of the crew but the long term interests of the project,' he added.
'This is only the first leg of a long race and with this decision and a lot of hard work we can be race ready for leg two.'
Sanya, the first ever Chinese entry in the race, lasted less than 24 hours before her bow was holed in stormy conditions in the Mediterranean.
The two teams need to complete repairs by Dec. 10 when they are due to compete in an in-port race in Cape Town before leaving for Abu Dhabi.-Reuters