Team Vestas goes for coral: some defend and some cry conspiracy


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The article we published after the incredible accident that occurred to Team Vestas
(the beaching of the crew captained by Chris Nicholson in the Volvo Ocean Race, on the reef at Cargados Carajos Shoals, about 200 miles north-northeast of Mauritius-with the crew forced to abandon the boat), accomplice to the somewhat provocative title, (Vestas, figurehead at Volvo: boat buried among corals and in ridicule) sparked a heated debate on our site and on social. There are those who have accused us of being “armchair sailors” and those who, like us, have no capacity for what happened given the technology on board VO65s and the experience of the entire crew. In an open letter, navigator Wouter Verbraak publicly admits his faults and errors in judgment, taking responsibility for everything that happened. Among the many comments you sent us, as in the greatest tragedies, there is also the voice outside the chorus that cries “to the conspiracy!” How about you? What do you think? Please continue to express your views with a comment!

I can’t resist. I have been reading these days the comments for and against from all my fellow harbor sailors. In fact, as a harbor bar. But if the most we have done is probably the crossing from Liguria to Corsica. And still, I can’t bring myself to argue against the mystery reporter’s article. It is crazy for a super-tech boat to crash on a reef with all its technological paraphernalia. So absurd that, had I been the one to write the article, I would have thrown it out there: but didn’t they just do it on purpose to get the whole world talking about a regatta that no one was bailing on? Kind of like Russell Coutts when he scuffed destroying the oracle catamaran? Anyway, I guess, the boat is paid for by the insurance company… And looking at the pictures of the Vestas crew shipwrecked on a coral reef atoll, it looks like being on the set of Famous Island.”
Domenico Fantini Sperlonga

When I read high-sounding titles such as, “…boat buried among corals (and in ridicule)” I always get to thinking what is the resume of their editor who authorizes such sagacity but then, thinking about what Chris Nicholson did in his four Withbreads, two Olympics and six world championships won I remember that mediocrity always tries to glorify another’s failure to justify its own existence.”
Nilo Calvi

“Hi guys,
I answer for what I experienced …the 4 a.m. phone call from Vitto and John who had tipped over at Jacques Vabre….everything can be attributed to him but inexperience!
Caught in the night by a wind shift near a 15 north to 30 , the rudder no sie came off and failing to puggle , oph .. the trimaran capsized after they had made a great comeback and thought they were passing some antagonists..
On the above incident…I have no elements…but the motivation is always the same…taking risks to gain positions…but that is part of the race. Like when you skid on a curve because you took it too hard!
Yes maybe I would shine from gossip newspaper headlines….vizio of the entire Italian press…you have too much class for all that.
A hug to all the editorial staff
I remember out of 14 starters only 4 finished the race, I always told them.”
Enrico Malingri

Ouch ouch ouch.This time we got a little carried away by events…. Shouting as you did (you) x attract the attention of an audience (us) that prefers to look at things with detachment..sometimes a bit snobbish…but not without emotion, this time was an own goal… A fall in style.. Too bad … I as a reader would have preferred a cut of the article with a bit more chronicle and technical hypothesis on possible causes, rather ke a gossipparo scream and a bit, excuse me for using a strong term, BECERO, which usually does not distinguish you … Sometimes the cut of the articles is also funny and ironic … This time I did not like it!!! When you look for the limit (in such a race) sometimes you cross it … He who does not laugh does NOT laugh,,, somewhat as you have tried to do … Gathering however some criticism … I would like a sincere “well yes ..we went too far…. We wanted to provoke you ..
Greetings and good work wishes. Now you have some need..”

“My sympathy to the person who wrote the title and article, the solons who attack him so harshly will surely be great experts on sailing and ocean racing but certainly not on media and communication ! I might not even have opened that article if it had not had such a strong title ! And anyway, I’m sure that those who defend the captain of a hyper-tech boat that manages to hit an atoll in the middle of the ocean are the same ones who (rightly) covered Schettino with mockery and insults for hitting the Giglio with a ship that takes more than 5 minutes to start turning: two egregious mistakes (with the first one by sheer luck causing no casualties), double standards just because Nicholson is your champion and Schettino a sketch….ioI will continue to read the sailing newspaper, thank you.”

“Great respect for the career of Nicholson and co. but with today’s technologies (you land a probe on a comet). catch a coral bank they have to explain to me how they did it.electrical blackout with stop of gps ,radar etc.? electromagnetic field that offset the data?not a criticism but curiosity.”
Joseph Rainer

“Of course centering a coral atoll at 19 knots knowing it was there is not exactly an example of high seamanship.
it could easily have been a tragedy and fortunately there were no injuries..but that is certainly not to the credit of the crew. anything can happen but as megaprofessionals such a lightness is not acceptable and surely someone among the 9 made a huge mistake.”
Vittorio De Blasiis

“Surely the person who was supposed to set the course and who was in command of the boat at that time is responsible.
That said, it is true, all of us have sometimes made mistakes and will make mistakes. However, this does not excuse us from having to be more careful when we are in command of a vessel since it is many times the difference between life and death for the crew.
Whoever is in command of a boat, it may be trite to remember, however, it always instinctively comes to my mind (with a shiver running down my spine) whenever I embark people on my little “sailing island,” is responsible for the lives of the crew.
I don’t think goodness serves any purpose in these cases. Caesar must be given what is Caesar’s, even if only on a moral level, so that everyone can learn from this matter. Fortunately, there were no injuries or deaths, but this, as correctly pointed out in the article, was more due to chance than to the crew.
With the technology that supports us today, it is becoming easier and easier to prevent events like these from happening without any thought of some superficial behavior on the part of the crew.
Our common passion for the sea should lead us to always be cautious and always be careful. That said, I am rejoicing wholeheartedly at the auspicious outcome of the affair, and I wish all the sailors involved a sincere tailwind for the upcoming sailings, which I hope they will undertake!”




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