Still stuck in the windless Med two days after restarting with their spare rig, Ian Walker and the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team made the call to withdraw from leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race late last night, forfeiting the 10 points on offer to the fifth place finisher of the leg. Azzam will instead load onto a Cape Town-bound ship in Lisbon that’s scheduled to leave on Monday.
Official word from the team says that current routing puts them in Cape Town so late that they won’t have time to get their boat properly prepared for the complicated and pirate-laden leg to Arabia, where further boat problems could have significant implications on their race. But a little reading between the lines (and into Walker’s comments about ‘stepping a new mast to set off into the dark straight offshore’), it’s pretty clear the team doesn’t have a lot of confidence in the new rig just yet, and was probably worried that the loss of the backup rig somewhere in the South Atlantic would mean an end to their race.
We also understand that Future Fibres’ analysis of the rig failure isn’t finished; hopefully the next two weeks will give the team the tools to feel good about ADOR’s chances for the rest of the race.