The Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s largest global yacht race, finished in July. Despite turning down the opportunity to be an official logistics partner, Maersk Line ended up playing an important role in the success of Team Sanya from China, providing essential shipping assistance to keep the team in the race.
“Just one day into the race having started in Alicante, we received a call from senior management in Volvo asking for urgent assistance,” remembers John Hawthorn, Global Head of Out of Gauge Cargo for Maersk Line. Team Sanya, the first ever Chinese entry to the race, had collided with an unknown very large object in the sea around Gibraltar. The boat narrowly avoided sinking and limped in the tourist resort of Motril.
Race logistics partner DHL moved it by road to the port in Algeciras. Here Maersk Line organised to load the huge boat (21.5 meters long, with a 29 meter mast) on a vessel bound for Cape Town. In Cape Town, the boat was repaired and could rejoin the race for Leg 2. But their trials were not over yet.
In May 2012, on day 2 of Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajai, the rudders broke on Team Sanya’s boat, and they had to limp back to Tauranga. Once again, Maersk Line stepped in and transported the team from Tauranga to Savannah, skipping Itajai altogether so they could rejoin the race in Miami for Leg 7.
Fortunately Team Sanya could continue the race without incidents after this. When the full fleet arrived in Galway on 1 July, Team Sanya was there, coming in sixth place. At the end of race awards ceremony, Sanya were awarded the “DHL Shore Crew Award” in recognition of the incredible efforts required to keep the boat in the race while faced with brutal sea conditions and three major incidents.
While not an official sponsor, Maersk Line remained the race’s “Carrier of choice”, due to the reliability proved by timely arrivals for all stopovers.
Volvo Ocean Race
The Volvo Ocean Race is the world’s premier global yacht race and one of the most demanding team sporting events out there. Run for the first time in 2001-2, it has just concluded another nine months of sailing. Six teams of 11 have sailed over 39,000 nautical miles, starting in Alicante and traversing treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajai, Miami, Lisbon and Lorient. The next Volvo Ocean Race is scheduled for 2014-15.