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Team Sanya win DHL Shore Crew Award

New to the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012, the DHL Shore Crew Award recognizes the ‘unsung heroes’ working behind the scenes to keep the boats in the running. After a hard finish, Team Sanya, whose small team, modest budget, can-do attitude and tenacity in the face of some near-race-ending challenges won the overall award.

Credit Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race

At the dazzling final prize-giving ceremony of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012 in Galway, Ireland, DHL proudly presented the DHL Shore Crew Award to Team Sanya, the Chinese entry in the race. Sanya’s shore crew was recognized for their attitude, tenacity and overall efficiency throughout the nine-month, 39,000-nautical-mile regatta. Working with a smaller crew and budget than most of the other teams, Sanya overcame a number of obstacles that would have left a less motivated team ready to throw in the towel.

In Galway to present the award to Team Sanya was Jean-Claude Delen, Chief Executive Officer Benelux/France DHL Global Forwarding, who said, “[Sanya] are the epitome of a fantastic team and deservedly take the overall prize despite huge competition from the five other highly professional shore crews.”

Time and time again, the shore team led by Nick Bice, demonstrated their unfaltering commitment to the campaign, which was tested from the get-go.

Credit Ian Roman/Volvo Ocean Race

Barely out of the gate

Just hours into the start of Leg 1, Team Sanya suffered hull damage after hitting an object after leaving Alicante. Forced to retire from the race after discovering the severe structural damage to the bow of their Volvo Ocean 70 and taking on water, they limped to the nearest port.

The damage was extensive and initial estimates gave two-three weeks for the repair – time the team didn’t have. Especially when you factor in the time need to ship the boat to Cape Town.

Before Sanya’s boat even reached the southern tip of Africa, Sanya shore manager Nick Bice and a team of boat builders had been working furiously to make a new oversized section of the bow to replace the damaged area.

Once there, Team Sanya’s shore crew pulled together, working around the clock to complete the job in two days – a record time that kept Sanya’s hopes of being ready for the In-Port Race on December 10 and the start of Leg 2 the day after alive.

For this, Team Sanya won the inaugural DHL Shore Crew Award, which you can read about here.

Never give up
Team Sanya's troubles didn't stop there, as in Leg 2, the team had to pull ashore in Madagascar for repairs to the rigging. The shore crew were the driving force behind the repairs in Legs 5 and 6 as well, when broken rudders forced the team to pull out of the water and ship their boat to the US for repairs.

After leaving New Zealand for Leg 5, the longest and most gruelling leg of the race, Team Sanya was forced out of the water yet again with a broken rudder. The team decided to ship the boat ahead to the North American Atlantic coast, where the sailors and shore crew docked the boat for repairs. DHL hauled the yacht by freighter, a move that meant two months out of the water and no points in two consecutive legs, dashing all hopes of a win.

Yet the team didn’t give up. Determined to finish the race, the shore crew prepared the boat just in time to join the other yachts starting Leg 7 out of Miami.

In Lorient, France, after Leg 8 the team was faced with another dilemma: haul out their boat for important repairs and be penalized for doing so or sail with a damaged vessel. The small yet highly efficient shore crew did not hesitate and within hours had set to work on fixing their problem.

Read how Sanya won the DHL Shore Crew Award in Leg 8

The DHL Shore Crew Award
At DHL, we know only too well what goes on behind the scenes to make businesses work. As the Official Logistics Partner of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012, we worked tirelessly to make the sure the logistics race was won before the boats hit the water for each of the nine legs of this epic yachting race.

Enabling others to do business is precisely what DHL is all about. The crucial characteristics of an award-winning shore crew embody DHL’s core brand values of speed, teamwork and reliability. The shore crew makes it possible for the team to compete just as DHL – the Official Logistics Partner of the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race – helps to make the race possible.

DHL meets Sanya in Fort Dauphin, Madagascar to help arrange shipment of spare parts to the remote Indian Ocean port town.

DHL initiated the Shore Crew award to recognize the behind-the-scenes efforts of the teams’ shore crews, which include boat builders, sail makers and others, to make the competing yachts as competitive and seaworthy as technically possible.

Each shore crew was evaluated leg by leg by a special panel of judges appointed to evaluate the teams’ performances based on a set of criteria. In addition to the winners of each leg, shore crews accumulated points during the race, culminating in an overall winner in Galway, Ireland after the final leg of the race.

Shore crews work on extremely tight schedules and are held to the highest standards. They are responsible for multi-million dollar team kits and equipment. This, too, mirrors DHL’s role in the race, which is to ensure that the team kits reach the ports safely and on time and to be available around the clock to express deliver spare parts for the teams when needed.