Following the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a non-racing vessel in the final stages of the racing leg into Hong Kong, the organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race have commissioned an independent report into ocean racing at night in areas of high vessel traffic density, to establish what steps race organisers may take to mitigate risk going forward.

The report will be conducted by an Independent Report Team (IRT), chaired by Rear Admiral Chris Oxenbould AO RAN (Rtd) and assisted by Stan Honey and Chuck Hawley.

Rear Admiral Oxenbould is a former deputy chief of the Australian Navy and an experienced ocean racing yachtsman with a particular expertise in navigation. He is also the former chairman of Australia Sailing’s National Safety Committee.

Renowned current sailor and ocean navigational expert, Stan Honey, who won the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06 as navigator onboard ABN AMRO ONE, and Chuck Hawley, who is the former chairman of the U.S. Sailing Safety at Sea Committee, will assist Rear Admiral Oxenbould on the report.

The IRT will examine all the issues associated with racing a Volvo Ocean 65, or similar racing boat, at night in areas of high vessel traffic density, drawing on the experiences in recent editions of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Any findings from the report that could benefit the wider sailing community will be released. It is intended that the IRT will make its report available to Volvo Ocean Race by June 2018.

Phil Lawrence, Race Director, stated: “Understandably, there has been a lot of reaction to this incident in the sailing community, but the fact is, it takes time to make a responsible assessment of what could be done differently to minimise risk and increase safety.

“Our sailors, as qualified professionals, understand their responsibilities under the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, Racing Rules of Sailing and the Rules of the Volvo Ocean Race.

“As race organisers, we will continue to evaluate safety as we race over the coming months and take the appropriate steps to minimise risk.” concluded Lawrence.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp. 
Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in Rhode Island by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2018, 2019, and 2020 and an honorable mention in the Common Good Awards in 2021.

Born and raised in Rhode Island, Belmore graduated from Coventry High School and the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition to living in Newport for 10 years, he has lived in Portsmouth, Coventry, Providence, Smithfield, Burrillville, and East Greenwich.

Belmore currently serves as Vice President of the Board Of Directors for Fort Adams Trust and on the Board of Directors for Potter League For Animals. He previously served on the Board of Lucy's Hearth and the Arts & Cultural Alliance for Newport County.

Belmore and his wife, Jen, currently live in Alexandria, Virginia, a move they made in 2021. Read more about that here - https://whatsupnewp.com/2021/09/letter-from-the-publisher-some-personal-news/

Belmore visits Newport every couple of weeks to support the 12+ paid contributors What'sUpNewp has on the ground across Rhode Island, a place he called home for 39 years.

Belmore is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers, Society of Professional Journalists, and the North American Snowsports Journalists Association.

In 2020, Belmore was named Member of the Year by LION and won the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Newport County's Dominque Award.
Belmore can be contacted at ryan@whatsupnewp.com and 401-662-1653.