At 1541 UTC on Thursday, May 25, while racing in Leg 5 of The Ocean Race, 11th Hour Racing Team activated its Hazard Button to alert Race Control and the wider fleet they had hit something, suspected to be a marine mammal or megafauna.
The Team was in the mid-North Atlantic Ocean at 52°N, 35°W – approximately 750 nautical miles [863 miles/1,389 km] off the coast of Newfoundland, sailing at 29 knots [33mph/54 kmph], in 28+ knots [32 mph/52 kmph] of wind speed – some of the fastest conditions yet seen in the race.
The impact was sudden, and the crew onboard were thrown forward, causing two injuries onboard. Trimmer Charlie Dalin (FRA) has a suspected mild concussion, and Media Crew Member Amory Ross (USA) has injured his shoulder. The Race’s on-call Doctor – Dr. Spike Briggs – has spoken to the sailors onboard the boat by satellite phone. Dr. Briggs has prescribed painkillers, bunk rest, and plenty of water to hydrate, and is monitoring the situation closely. The two sailors are reported to be comfortable, and their next of kin have been informed.
The crew are all very shaken by the incident and will follow best practices, reporting the suspected strike to the International Whaling Commission.
After the incident, the crew slowed the boat down to conduct checks: the boat, as far as they can visually assess, has no damage.
The three other sailors onboard are all uninjured. Skipper Charlie Enright (USA), Navigator Simon Fisher (GBR), and Trimmer Justine Mettraux (SUI) – will continue to race the boat towards their final destination – Aarhus, Denmark.
– ENDS –
For information on marine mammal mitigation best practices, read more here