Team Abu Dhabi’s ‘Azzam’ Arrives in Cape Town

The race within a race stepped up a gear on Wednesday as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing arrived in Cape Town — 19 days after being forced to retire from Leg 1.

The team’s striking black racing yacht Azzam arrived by container ship at Cape Town’s commercial boat. Cocooned among containers on the ship, she came in safe and sound and was lifted by crane straight off the ship and into the water.

From there, she motored round to the Abu Dhabi base and the sailors and shore crew set to work unloading a boat that lost her rig on the first mast.

“It’s great, even though it isn’t quite how we wanted to arrive in Cape Town,” said skipper Ian Walker before joining in with the unloading. “It’s taken a lot of work to get organised and get her here safely.

“There is one more stage to go — to cure the new rigging. It’s another step on the journey. We’re really in the hands of Future Fibres. It will take five days to cure the new set of riggning and it should be ready by December 6, to be back in the water by December 7.

“It’s really one long chapter. We’re taking it quite positively. Things could have been a lot worse as we’ve seen with what happened to PUMA and the terrible things they have had to deal with.

“Every team is going to have setbacks in this race and it’s all about how well you deal with them. So far we’ve dealt with this one well.”

Abu Dhabi did manage to step her replacement mast and continue in Leg 1 but reluctantly decided they would be better served by doing work on their rigging and making sure they could be on the start line for the Cape Town in-port race on December 10 and the Leg 2 start the following day.

Abu Dhabi were one of three boats forced to retire from Leg 1.

Team Sanya, who suffered damage to the boat’s hull inside the first 24 hours, were also scheduled to get their Volvo Open 70 back in Cape Town by ship on Wednesday.

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG are still waiting on Tristan da Cunha, with a container ship on the way to meet them and take them back to Cape Town, with an ETA of December 6.