SAN DIEGO — Vestas 11th Hour Racing won’t compete in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race and its 65-foot sloop is being shipped from Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand, to repair damage sustained in a fatal collision with a Chinese fishing boat two weeks ago.

The team had been tight-lipped about its plans until releasing a statement Monday.

The team said its “seriously damaged” boat couldn’t be repaired in Hong Kong, and that a new bow section is being built by Persico Marine in Italy and will be installed in Auckland.

Race organizers originally said there was limited damage from the collision, but photos of the yacht taken hours later showed a large hole in the port hull near the bow.

After declining to comment for several days, the team curiously waited to release its statement Monday until the rest of the fleet was heading from Guangzhou back to Hong Kong after a weekend in-port race.

The American-Danish team didn’t say when the yacht was shipped to Auckland.

Team spokeswoman Kate Wilson said in an email Monday that crew members were in their hometowns. Wilson said she couldn’t say more because it is “an ongoing international investigation.”

In an email to The Associated Press, Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-founder Mark Towill said he “simply can’t comment at this stage.”

Leg 6, which is 6,100 nautical miles, begins Wednesday in Hong Kong.

Vestas hopes to rejoin the fleet in time for Leg 7 from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil, which starts March 18.

The collision with the fishing boat occurred 30 nautical miles from Hong Kong at the end of Leg 4. One fisherman was killed and nine had to be rescued after their boat sank.

Few details about the collision have been released.

This is the second time in as many editions of the round-the-world race that a boat sponsored by Vestas Wind Systems, a Danish wind company, has been seriously damaged. In December 2014, Team Vestas Wind smashed into a reef in the Indian Ocean. The boat was repaired, but the team missed most of the rest of the race.

Other than the title sponsor, Vestas 11th Hour Racing has no relation to Team Vestas Wind. Towill and fellow co-founder Charlie Enright led Team Alvimedica in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race before starting Vestas 11th Hour Racing.


Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at https://twitter.com/berniewilson