A racing yacht sailing for Team Vestas Wind in the Volvo Ocean Race ran aground on a reef in the Indian Ocean, forcing all nine of the sailors onboard to abandon ship in the predawn hours Sunday, according to a press release issued by the race. All hands were rescued safely and transported to Ile du Sud, a tiny island some 250 miles northwest of Mauritius.
The collision broke the boat’s rudders; the boat began taking on water late Saturday night. After battling rough seas, Australian skipper Chris Nicholson—runner-up in the past two editions of the race—gave the order to abandon ship around midnight. The crew was able to wade to a dry section of the reef to wait about two hours for rescue. A rival team diverted and prepared to assist their competitors but pressed on when it was clear they faced no immediate danger.
The Volvo Ocean Race, formerly known as the Whitbread Round the World Race, is a race around the world that’s been held every three years since 1973. This year’s edition pits seven teams of nine sailors against each other. The race started in October in Alicante, Spain, and is expected to end in June 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.