3 Dec 2014

Team Vestas Wind crew picked up

7:08 am on 3 December 2014

The Australian skipper Chris Nicholson's stranded Team Vestas Wind crew are finally on their way back to civilisation after two days sitting on remote "sand pit" in the Indian Ocean where there was a risk of shark encounters.

The crew included New Zealanders Rob Salthouse and Tony Rae.

The Volvo Ocean Race team dramatically grounded their boat after ploughing into a reef on St Brandon archipelago on Saturday at 19 knots and were forced to abandon it in the early hours of the following day, before wading through knee-deep water to a dry position.

Team Vestas Wind a competitor in the Volvo Ocean race lies on a reef in the India Ocean.

Team Vestas Wind a competitor in the Volvo Ocean race lies on a reef in the India Ocean. Photo: Supplied

They were then picked up by a coastguard boat from the near deserted islet with no communications with the outside world.

The islet is serviced weekly by a 20-metre fishing vessel, called 'Eliza', from Mauritius, which is some 430 kilometres away to the south-west. A trip to the holiday island takes more than a day to complete.

Nicholson's nine-strong team finally were on their way after taking the 'Eliza' yesterday.... from there, they plan to fly to Abu Dhabi at the end of the week.

The team will arrive in Mauritius today with literally the clothes they have on their backs.

A team spokesman says the coast guard did a flyover yesterday and they parachuted in cans of Coke and chocolate and cookies.

The incident happened on leg two of nine in the nine-month offshore marathon which will finish on June 27th in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The team are hoping to retrieve the boat from the reef but there is a big question mark over whether it can be repaired to return to the race.

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