Photo: Brian Carlin / Team Vestas Wind

Team Vestas Wind crew rescued

Chris Nicholson's posse finally en route to Mauritius

Tuesday December 2nd 2014, Author: James Boyd, Location: Mauritius

The stranded Team Vestas Wind crew are finally on their way back to civilisation after two days sitting on a remote ‘sand pit’ in the Indian Ocean.

Íle du Sud, an almost deserted islet, with no communications with the outside world is serviced weekly by a 20m long fishing vessel, the Eliza, from Mauritius, which is some 250 miles away to the SSW. A trip to the remote island takes more than a day to complete.

Skipper Chris Nicholson’s nine-strong crew finally were on their way after aboarding Eliza on Tuesday. From there, they plan to fly to Abu Dhabi at the end of the week.

Neil Cox, Team Vestas Wind's Shore Manager, commented: “We’ve had nine guys sitting on a sand pit in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
You’d think it’s a bad movie. You sit there and talk to the coast guard and they’re telling us about everything we’re dealing with on the technical side, then they’re asking me to warn the guys that the reef is riddled full of sharks and barracuda and God knows what else.”

He added: “They’re telling me about a fisherman they found out there, who’d been basically mauled by a barracuda and there was barely much left of him to deal with. You’re sitting there, going, yeah, well, next time I talk to Nico (Nicholson) I might remind him that if they are wading out there in the reef, to keep their eyes open.”

The crew will arrive in Mauritius mid-morning on Wednesday with literally the clothes they have on their backs, Cox said. “We want to make sure that even the simple things are covered; a clean T-shirt, undies, a toothbrush, a bit of food,” he said. “The coast guard here did a flyover yesterday and they parachuted in cans of Coke, chocolate and cookies. I don’t think people can totally appreciate how remote this place is. We saw there’s a coast guard out there; it’s literally a tool shed in someone’s backyard.”

Meanwhile the Danish team's grounded VO65 is being stripped of key kit and Cox is still working out how it can be retrieved. He paid tribute to the crew for keeping their cool and professionalism after such a hienous collision.

“Their procedure, everything was as professional and as good as it could be - you couldn’t ask for more.” Chris Nicholson said that a "mistake" had been responsible for the collision with the reef, but did not elaborate.


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