by Gareth Evans
Race day 1 started light, but the forecast promised winds would increase. Bryan Willis, the British representative on the America’s Cup International Jury, was confident that racing would go ahead. Matt Sheahan of Yachting World magazine, a renowned expert on Valencia weather, was forecasting 8 knots, with possibly 14 knots during squally showers. Unfortunately the weather failed to cooperate.
Racing was officially cancelled at 1350 Valencia time.
Within the America’s Cup village, the area in front of the large screen was packed with standing room only. The lucky few that arrived early had managed to find seats. The crowds were entertained with music & acrobats, and videos of the America’s Cup final from 2007 shown on the screen. Large groups of school children were brought along to enjoy the America’s Cup experience.
Following racing I was very kindly granted access to the BMW Oracle Racing base, hidden deep within the Port away from prying eyes. Shortly after arriving at the base, USA-17 emerged from the rain. A number of ribs went out to meet her, and brought her onto her mooring buoy. The wing is left standing during normal weather conditions, so she sits on a swinging mooring allowing her to move with the wind. The wing is breathtaking, and even more impressive in real life.
The BMW Oracle genoas weigh about 200kg each – that is why they use a lifting beam. The main sail – before the wing went up – was about 600kg.
The race crew were still on board, and assisted with the de-rigging of the boat. A RIB brought Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts ashore. Ellison immediately boarded another tender which took him to his private yacht, anchored in the distance just outside the port. He has a view of USA-17 at all times from his yacht. When asked how the days sailing was, Russell Coutts replied “Good for us”, implying the suspected dominance of Alinghi in lighter airs.
Whilst at the BMW Oracle base I was afforded a close look at the Racers Edge wind measurement binoculars. They were sitting on a sofa in a large protective case, with Racers Edge emblazoned on the lid. They work in two modes. The first measures wind at 400m, 700m and 1000m distances from your location. The second mode measures wind speed vertically through a 40 degree arc at a distance of 400m from the boat. They communicate with the yacht’s on board computer system via Bluetooth, allowing a 3-dimensional image of wind speed to be calculated. At $150,000 a pair I did not ask if I could hold them!
Alinghi 5, the 33rd America’s Cup defending yacht, left the Alinghi base this morning for Race 1 of the 33rd America’s Cup amid a cacophony of Swiss bells and cheers from Alinghi fans, friends and families. This moment has been long awaited. Too bad that enthuasism was cut short by a postponment of today’s racing due to lack of wind.
“We have been looking forward to this moment for a long time,” said Ernesto Bertarelli, Alinghi team president and principal helmsman. “It is good to be going racing at last. The designers have done an amazing job in creating this boat for us and the shore team have done a phenomenal job in building it. It’s time to go racing.”
Race 1 of the America’s Cup is a 40 nautical mile windward/leeward course (20nm upwind and 20nm down) and is due to start at 10:06 this morning, weather permitting.
Defender vs. Challenger
Alinghi 5, Société Nautique de Genève (SUI) vs. BMW Oracle Racing, Golden Gate Yacht Club (USA)
Alinghi, the Defender of the America’s Cup, has the blue flag, which means port entry in to the starting area.
Crew List BMW Oracle Day 1:
Below is the crew list for BMW ORACLE Racing for Race One of the 33rd
America’s Cup Match.Name Position on Board
Brad Webb (NZL) Bowman
Simone de Mari (ITA) Pitman
Ross Halcrow (NZL) Jib Trimmer
Dirk de Ridder (NED) Wing Sail Trimmer
Joey Newton (AUS) Wing Sail Caddy
John Kostecki (USA) Tactician
James Spithill (AUS) Skipper/Helmsman
Matteo Plazzi (ITA) Navigator
Thierry Fouchier (FRA) Aft Pit
Matthew Mason (NZL) Mast
Crew list Alinghi Day 1:Bowman: Piet van Nieuwenhuijzen (NED)
Midbow: Curtis Blewett (CAN)
Pitman: Rodney Ardern (NZL)
Trimmer upwind: Simon Daubney (NZL)
Trimmer downwind: Nils Frei (SUI)
Mainsail trimmer: Warwick Fleury (NZL)
Traveller: Pierre-Yves Jorand (SUI)
Helmsman: Ernesto Bertarelli (SUI)
Tactician: Brad Butterworth (NZL)
Runner: Murray Jones (NZL)
Navigator: Juan Vila (ESP)
Floater: Jan Dekker (RSA/FRA)
Floater: Loïck Peyron (FRA)
Pre-start: Peter Evans (NZL)
Quotes from the race boat
Nils Frei (SUI), downwind trimmer
What’s the feeling among the team this morning?
“It’s good, very good. We are looking forward to racing. I think we have had some good training the last couple of weeks and we’re confident with the forecast. We’re looking forward to it.”
How important is this line-up with BMW Oracle? What will the team learn?
“We’ll learn a lot today. We’ll see how the boats are going. So far we’ve observed them and they’ve observed us, but we’re not 100 percent sure how it’ll go on the water. I think about 20minutes after the start we’ll probably know a lot more. It’s going to be interesting.”
What’s been the most fascinating aspect of this campaign?
“These boats are so huge. They are fast. It’s something new to everyone. We’ve been able to develop the boat, and every day we make it faster. It’s high tech and very, very interesting.”
Murray Jones (NZL), runner
Race 1 for the America’s Cup; what’s the weather forecast and how will it affect the sailing?
“There’s about 5-12 knots forecast. We’ll see when we get out there. It’s always changing here in Valencia and it depends exactly where we are out there. We’ll line-up and see how we go.”
Did you know?
The last – and only – time a catamaran competed in the America’s Cup Match was in 1988 when the 60ft cat Stars & Stripes defeated the 90ft load waterline length monohull KZ-1.
On a typical practice day in the week leading up to the 33rd America’s Cup Match Alinghi 5 sailed approximately 100nm per day.
Alinghi was the first European team to win the America’s Cup in 2003 and in 2007 it became the first team to successfully defend the Cup in Europe.
Alinghi has a 10-2 record in races for the America’s Cup.
Alinghi 5 is 90ft/28m long. It has a beam equivalent to the width of two tennis courts and a mast 17 storeys tall. The total sail area is the equivalent of nine tennis courts.
On this day in America’s Cup history
1990 – The New York Court of Appeals affirmed the First Division’s judgment and confirmed Dennis Conner’s controversial Stars & Stripes victory for the San Diego Yacht Club in the 27th America’s Cup Match. Popularly known as the “mismatch”, it featured a match between challenger New Zealand, a 90ft load waterline monohull sloop, and the defender’s 60ft catamaran Stars & Stripes. The decision brought to an end almost three years of legal turmoil in the America’s Cup.
2009 – Alinghi defeats BMW Oracle Racing in Round Robin 2 of the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series held on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. It would be the first of three match race victories against BMW Oracle Racing in the regatta, securing Alinghi´s record of not having lost a match race against BMW Oracle since 4 October 2005 in Trapani, Sicily.
Groupama 3 is on Stand-by in her attempt at the North Atlantic record. Holder of this record since 23rd July 2007 with a time of 4 days, 3 hours and 57 minutes, the maxi trimaran skippered by Franck Cammas has been given until 18th August to find the weather conditions. The aim is obviously an improvement on their own reference time and hopefully one that sees them complete the course in under four days.
In Gateway Marina, at the entrance to the port of New York, Groupama Team’s shore crew has finished preparing the maxi trimaran. With the engine removed, the racing sails in position and the hull inspected and cleaned, everything is now ready for Groupama 3 to set off to conquer the ocean:
“Since the boat’s arrival last Thursday, we haven’t lost any time. With the help of the hoist, we got the engine out and then dismantled the propeller shaft by diving beneath the central pod. Aboard, all the superfluous gear has been removed so that only the bare essentials remain” says Yann Mérour, in charge of logistics. To give him a hand, Marine, Sam, Gaël, François, Loïc and Pierre are on site, as are three of the sailing crew, Loïc Le Mignon, Olivier Mainguy and Ronan Le Goff.
Analysis and patience!
During this time, onshore, Sylvain Mondon from Météo France, Stan Honey, navigator, and Franck Cammas, have been analysing the grib files. Each morning, Sylvain sends the team a summary of his observations, which is subsequently discussed. As skipper, it’s up to Franck Cammas to decide on the colour of the code that will organise the life of the team and the crew. For today it’s code RED. This means that there is no weather window opening and hence no departure within the next 120 hours, or 5 days.
If it looks like there will be a possible weather window, the team will switch to a code ORANGE with the chance of a departure within the next 72 hours. At that point in the procedure, a possible departure of the crew for New York starts taking shape. In the event that favourable weather conditions are confirmed, the team then switch to code YELLOW, with a departure possible within the next 48 hours. The crew is then ready to board the plane. In the next 24 hours, the crew switch to code GREEN with the departure time selected by Franck Cammas in consultation with Sylvain Mondon and Stan Honey or, if the window deteriorates, a return to code Red. In this instance, the crew get back on the plane to Europe. “Since 2007 and the five records we’ve broken, the team has become familiar with the complexities of this exercise. We are answerable to the boat and nothing else. You just have to be patient and also very rigorous with the weather analysis as, ultimately, it’s the weather that decides. In 2007, we beat Orange’s record by over four hours and, in so doing, beat the 24 hour distance record with 794 nautical miles at an average of 33.08 knots. We can naturally do better than that. However, even though we know Groupama 3 better than we did two years ago, it’s the weather which will make the difference” analyses Franck Cammas.
One minute will do
To beat the record, one minute will do (World Sailing Speed Record Council rule). To succeed, the skipper of Groupama 3 has brought together a first class crew. Indeed, half of them were aboard during the 2007 record (Stève Ravussin, Fred Le Peutrec, Loïc Le Mignon, Ronan Le Goff, Bruno Jeanjean) but there are also some top rate newcomers too: Lionel Lemonchois, Bernard Stamm, Olivier Mainguy and Stan Honey.
Accustomed to high speed sailing, they have all sailed aboard Groupama 3 this season, notably during the Route of the Subsidiaries and then the delivery between Lisbon and New York. Enthusiastic about how Groupama 3 handled, they know that this crossing will be a real sprint, that the battle against the clock can be as exciting as it is frustrating, and that there is no room for approximation in the manoeuvres.
Their mission will comprise total commitment and that’s what they love. And this is especially true given that there is another trimaran waiting patiently in New York. Bigger, heavier, Banque Populaire skippered by Pascal Bidégorry doesn’t yet have a single record under her belt. If they choose the same weather window, it’ll be very interesting to compare their performances. If this is not the case, it will be the clock which will decide on the verdict. Given the difference in size of the two trimarans, this latter option seems likely. Lighter and nearly 30% shorter, Groupama 3 could set off in medium winds, whilst her direct rival will be seeking to reap the benefits of a steadier breeze.
Wait and see…
The ten crew on Groupama 3:
• Franck Cammas, skipper
• Stève Ravussin, watch leader
• Frédéric Le Peutrec, watch leader
• Loïc Le Mignon, helm
• Lionel Lemonchois, helm
• Bernard Stamm, helm
• Ronan Le Goff, bowman
• Olivier Mainguy, bowman
• Bruno Jeanjean, bowman
• Stan Honey, navigator
Groupama 3′s five records:
• The Discovery Route on 1st May 2007 at an average of 21.7 knots
• Miami New York on 4th June 2007 at an average of 27 knots
• The North Atlantic on 23rd July 2007 at an average of 29.26 knots
• The 24 hour on 20th July 2007 at an average of 33.08 knots
• The Mediterranean Crossing on 16th May 2009 at an average of 26.72 knots
On Sunday night in St. Petersburg, the final prizegiving was an opportunity to remember and celebrate all that has happened on this magnificent adventure.
It was an emotional evening, with all of the teams, their families and friends finally able to truly relax after living in the pressure-cooker of the past nine months. It was also time to say goodbye, with most of the teams disbanding as early as Monday, airplane tickets taking them to all corners of the globe already in hand, booked months in advance.
The most poignant moment came with the inaugaral awarding of the Hans Horrevoets Rookie Trophy, which was created in memory of Hans, who was lost at sea during the last edition of the race. The Dutchman was washed over the side of ABN AMRO TWO on the transatlantic leg. He had played a key role in ABN AMRO’s unique and ambitious project to help young talent break into the top level of offshore sailing.
His wife, Petra, was on hand to present the award and her emotional speech saw even the most hardened of sailors wiping tears from their eyes.
The award was created to recognise a rookie sailor who was younger than 30 when the event commenced. Each skipper was asked to nominate a who has shown a significant drive to make an improvement to their own skills and to the skills of the team and who has shown a significant contribution in strengthening the team onboard. The Race Committee made a selection from those nominated.
Images by Rick Tomlinson and Dave Kneale / Volvo Ocean Race
(click on image to enlarge)
The winner of the inaugural Hans Horrevoets Rookie Trophy is Michi Mueller from PUMA Ocean Racing, whom skipper Ken Read said had grown from a raw, untested rookie, into a linch-pin of the team.
It was a good night for PUMA as the Inmarsat Media Prize went to Rick Deppe, who was recognised for his outstanding work across the entire race. Deppe won the prize for leg 10 (his fourth win), as well as the overall prize (which included a cheque for 10,000 euros), and he was quick to pay tribute to his colleagues, asking all of the media crew members to join him on stage.
Presenting the prize, Perry Melton, COO, Inmarsat said: “The Volvo Ocean Race selected Fleet Broadband before its launch. They have described its global performance as flawless. We are delighted that the innovation of media crew members was paired with our newest service to deliver media coverage from the harshest of maritime conditions.”
The advent of the media crew members has allowed the race to secure HD footage that has never been recorded in past races, when regular crew were asked to to double duty as media men as well. In this race, the media crew members have not been allowed to participate in the sailing of the boat. As a result, they are more like ‘embedded reporters’, bringing the true story of their teams to life.
Deppe wasn’t the only media crew recognised on the night. Green Dragon’s Guo Chaun was presented with a new market media award in recognition of the media interest generated across China.
The Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Seamanship Award was given to the PUMA Ocean Racing shore crew (Neil Cox, Sean Healey, Will Oxley and Kimo Worthington) for rending assistance to Telefonica Blue, after they ran aground at the start of Leg 9 in Marstrand.
And finally, to the sailing teams themselves. All eight teams were recognised for their achievements while Ericsson 4, the winner of the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race, was presented with the ‘Fighting Finish’ trophy by Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, patron of the Volvo Ocean Race; a just reward for a team that has dominated the competition, securing the overall title in Stockholm, with one in-port race, and one offshore leg to spare.
In closing the ceremonies, Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad paid tribute to his team in addition to all of the sailing teams and was already looking forward to the start of the next race, in 2011 in Alicante, Spain.
Following the formalities, the celebrations started in full force and continued long into the night and indeed well into the morning. With no more racing scheduled, there was no reason to stop the party. Until next time, this is, the end of the road.
Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 Prizes
Best 24-hour run - Ericsson 4, 596.6 nautical miles
Hans Horrevoets Rookie Trophy - Michi Mueller, PUMA Ocean Racing
Inmarsat Media Prize – Rick Deppe, PUMA Ocean Racing
Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics Seamanship Award - PUMA Ocean Racing shore crew
Volvo Ocean Race, 3rd place – Telefonica Blue
Volvo Ocean Race, 2nd place – PUMA Ocean Racing
Volvo Ocean Race, 1st place – Ericsson 4
It was an historic moment tonight in St Petersburg, Russia, when as the
White Night turned to dawn the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, led by Telefónica
Black in a thrilling climax, crossed the tenth and final finish line of
this nine-month, 37,000 nm race around the world.
Spanish skipper, Fernando Echávarri said, ³It¹s a prize for all the crew and
all the shore crew. We have been trying to do it in all the legs but
couldn¹t; this was our last chance. We had a nice battle with PUMA in the
last 100 miles. We are really happy.
“It has been really difficult. We prepared the boat for light conditions and
the first 150 miles we had more wind than expected so we suffered a lot.
Then it got lighter and we got faster. We have been fighting with PUMA,
Telefónica Blue and Ericsson 3 for the last 250 miles. It has been really
close. It has been like a match race. I don¹t know how many tacks we have
done! It is a great way to finish the Volvo Ocean Race. I am really proud of
everyone in the group. They have done an excellent job.”
Victory for Telefónica Black was hard-fought and a match race developed with
PUMA, who had led the fleet for the majority of this 400-mile sprint from
Stockholm. At just after midnight GMT and while on the additional triangle
added to lengthen the course, Telefónica Black gained a small advantage,
which translated into a two and a half boat length win, denying PUMA a
second leg win in a row. However, with a total of 105.5 points, PUMA takes
second place overall.
PUMA skipper Kenny Read said: “Congratulations to all those guys, they have
worked very hard for their first leg win. We will take our second and our
second overall. You know what? We just sailed around the world. I guess I
said a thousand times that we know no other way but to make it hard for
ourselves. It¹s a shame, because we usually win these close battles and
today we didn¹t.
“The big picture is we finished this race, everyone is safe and the boat has
been spectacular. We flew the flag well for Volvo and I think we flew the
flag well for PUMA. We have everything to be proud of. Relief is the right
word. Right now, it is relief and, as always, we are a pretty tired group
onboard. Let the celebrations begin because all the group deserves it.”
Images by Dave Kneale and Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race
(click on image to enlarge )
Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) filled the third spot both on leg 10 and
overall, to close the team¹s account on 98 points.
Bekking said on finishing: “We’re tired and hungry! It has been full on.
Lots of tacking. It was a beautiful leg in that it was sunny. But we have
been a bit unlucky. That¹s how it goes. But well done to the Telefónica
Black boys, they deserved to win. They had a superb leg. Good for them. We
were all very close. It is a very nice feeling to have finished and got all
the boys home safely. We had a podium finish which is nice as well.”
Fourth place finishers tonight and fourth overall with 78.5 points was
Ericsson 3 and Swedish skipper, Magnus Olsson was exhausted. “I feel so
tired I cannot say anything! Everybody is happy because they have sailed
around the world, but they are also very tired. After a day or two we can
say more intelligent things. You always want to do well in every leg, but
this was special because it was the short one and the last one. We were up
there so we are happy, but we couldn¹t keep up until the finish. They beat
us fair and square.”
Runaway overall leaders, with a final tally of 114.5 points and nine points
clear of PUMA, Torben Grael and his 10 crew of Ericsson 4 finished this leg
in fifth place. In an interview with Guy Swindells, skipper Torben Grael,
who raced every offshore leg with the same crew, was reflective in his
comments as overall victory in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 finally became a
“I think it is a mixed feeling because we know this is the end of the story
for the project. It¹s a funny feeling because some of these guys you have
never met before and you become like brothers. Now we go our own ways and
it¹s a strange feeling.
“On the other hand it has been a long race. It was a very long race around
the world. We are completely drained and tired so I think everyone is
looking forward to a nice rest. We have had a wonderful time. We enjoyed our
training time in Lanzarote and the race as well. We have had our ups and
downs, but it has been fun. After we won, it was a bit of a relaxing leg. It
has been so intense and so consuming so I think it is normal that after you
achieve your goals you relax. I am very glad for Telefónica Black and
Fernando and his guys for winning this last leg.”
Green Dragon kept her slender lead over Delta Lloyd to finish the leg in
sixth place, and fifth overall with 67 points.
To conclude the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09, Delta Lloyd, the only generation
one Volvo Open 70 to compete in the race, finished shortly after Green
Dragon to finish the race on a total of 41.5 points.
Skipper Roberto Bermúdez said: ³We made a good job and everyone enjoyed
their time. Everyone is happy and that is the most important thing. It
started well but then there was some fighting with the Dragons. They did a
fantastic job with the manoeuvres and I say congratulations to them for
that. It has been fun.²
Ian Walker, skipper of Green Dragon, should have the last word:
³It is a privilege to sail in this fantastic race and I am very proud to
have had the chance. I am proud of every member of our team, and I am proud
of what we have achieved together. We promised to give it everything and to
never, ever give up and that is exactly what we have done. We haven¹t won
this race, but we have won many battles and achieved more than many dreamed
possible. It has been a very special year.²
The full story of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 is chronicled in Mark
Chisnell¹s book, Spanish Castle to White Night, published in October. Order
your copy now: http://www.volvooceanrace.org/multimedia/book/
Overall Leaderboard (provisional)
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 114.5 points
2. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 105.5 points
3. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 98.0 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 78.5 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 67.0 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP): 58.0
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 41.5 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points
Leg Ten Finishing Order St Petersburg
1. Telefónica Black
3. Telefónica Blue
4. Ericsson 3
5. Ericsson 4
6. Green Dragon
7. Delta Lloyd
Telefonica Black skippered by Fernando Echavarr
Telefonica Wins Leg 10 of the Volvo Ocean Race In St Petersburg just minutes ago after a fierce battle between them and PUMA Ocean Racing for the last miles of the race.
TELEFONICA BLACK finished at 00:41:25 GMT – Elapsed leg time 1 day, 12 hours, 41 minutes 25 seconds – Total Race Time 87 days, 1 hour, 31 minutes 20 seconds
In the final run-in to the finish, Telefonica Black on starboard crosses in front of PUMA by 2.5 boat-lengths, and allows PUMA to carry on out to the south and tack on what looks like a layline to the finish.
Telefonica Black tacks onto port, and now has to maintain enough of their early advantage to cross clear in front as they come back together, as Ken Read has the right of way now PUMA has tacked to starboard.
Telefonica Black crosses in front of PUMA and tacks. Ken Read goes for speed and tries to get through to leeward. Both boats can sail straight to the finish, so it’s all about who has their bow forward. It’s Telefonica Black, quicker, and pulling out to a couple of lengths lead. It’s Telefonica Black, taking Leg 10.
“It’s a prize for all of the crew, all of the shore crew. We have been trying to do it in all the legs but couldn’t; this was our last chance. We had a nice battle with PUMA in the last 100 miles. We are really happy.
“It has been really difficult. We prepared the boat for light conditions and the first 150 miles we had more wind than expected so we suffered a lot. Then it got lighter and we got faster. We have been fighting with PUMA and Blue and Ericsson for the last 250 miles. Really close. It has been like a match race. I don’t know how many tacks we have done! It is a great way to finish the Volvo Ocean Race. I am really proud of everyone in the group. They have done an excellent job.”
PUMA, who is now assured second place overall, led the Volvo fleet out of Sandhamn, on the outer edge of the Stockholm archipelago today – a spectacular day where conditions were perfect for the start of the tenth and final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 to St Petersburg in Russia.
Sailing confidently in 10 -12 knots of breeze, PUMA, Telefónica Blue and Ericsson 4 were the front runners off the start line and a huge spectator crowd needed no excuse to get out on the water and watch what these ocean greyhounds do best. A steady breeze and flat water ensured plenty of white water spilled from the bows as the boats started a leg for the last time, fully powered up and under a cloudless sky.
Leading round both buoys marking the traditional ‘sausage’ before heading to out to sea, the crew of PUMA had set the black boat up perfectly and extended their lead, while behind, Bouwe Bekking’s bowmen wrestled with their heavy code zero sail, which had remained furled and unused on the bow and was slowing the blue boat down. Green Dragon scorched past overall race winner Ericsson 4, who had the pressure put on by sister ship Ericsson 3, while Telefónica Black and Delta Lloyd were in the second string.
Team Russia joined the pack once the racing fleet had completed the inshore loop, to sail, but not to race, homewards to St Petersburg, with owner Oleg Zherebtsov working the bow as he did in the earlier legs of the race.
Although speeds were good as the fleet left Sweden behind, the leg is expected to be predominantly upwind to Russia and race rules allow for Race Director, Jack Lloyd, to shorten the 400-mile course if necessary. The fleet must arrive in St Petersburg on Saturday morning in order to clear customs and pass through two bridges, which will be raised specially in order to let the fleet into the historic city.
PUMA has now clinched second place overall, their performance improving hugely in the second half of the race. Telefónica Blue will take third after losing the battle for second when they finished last in leg nine after going aground in Marstrand, while Ericsson 4 is the runaway leader, winning the race with a leg to spare.
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 110.5 points
2. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 98.5 points
3. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 92.0 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 73.5 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 64.0 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP): 50.0
7. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 39.5 points
8. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points
TELEFÓNICA BLUE LEG TEN DAY 1 QFB: received 25.6.09 2044 GMT
We just tacked with Ericsson 4 just few minutes after us. The last three hours have been a bit up and down, the wind was shifting quite a bit from something like 20 to 60 degrees TWD. The two Ericsson boats managed to climb up quite well on us thanks to some lifting puffs and we did the same thing to PUMA. We’re only 200 metres in front of Ericsson 4, nearly one mile in front of Ericsson 3 and same distance behind PUMA. We’re now all on port for another 30 minutes or so, after that we’ll all tack again towards the channel. Everyone is hiking hard pushing the boat. It’s going to be pretty long.
Gabri Olivo – MCM
GREEN DRAGON LEG TEN DAY 1 QFB: received 25.06.09 1616 GMT
Here we go again – sailing upwind and slowly losing miles. I will not miss this when the race ends. Fortunately, it cannot last for days, as St Petersburg is less than 300 miles away.
What a great city Stockholm is – it is definitely another place on my list that I will need to come and visit again. That city is built to host maritime events and the Archipelago is built for cruising. After the long but picturesque motor to the start off Sandhamn, we made a good start to the leg and enjoyed holding off Ericsson 4 and others for a leg or two. Now everybody is engaged in a drag race on port tack and we are nearly halfway to Estonia. Hopefully, something will change in the weather at some point to shake up proceedings. For now, it is a question of doing the best we can to stay in touch with the other boats. The conditions are perfect with flat water, medium winds and sunshine – who knows maybe we can get to St Petersburg without getting wet?
Ian Walker – skipper
ERICSSON 3 LEG TEN DAY 1 QFB: received 25.06.09 1800 GMT
I was a bit pessimistic in the first blog. I guess I was tired and Stockholm was too good to leave without a sad feeling. But once we got outside Sandhamn to the starting area, the mood got better.
Sun, flat water and 15 knots of breeze would make anyone happy. Unfortunately, we did not come of the start line in a good way. We were stuck with no speed and our poor positioning did not improve by an override with the sheet for the headsail. But we sorted it out quickly and once we had rounded the last mark, we were just a couple of metres after Ericsson 4, with PUMA and Telefónica Blue a bit further in front.
Now, at 1800, the positioning is pretty much the same. The Russians are behind us to leeward, Delta Lloyd and Green Dragon are straight to leeward. PUMA is still in front and Telefónica Blue and Ericsson 4 are following closely behind.
The most action-filled incident we had so far was when our Finnish guest had to jump overboard. Mason helped her get the drysuit on, then he led her down to leeward, lifted her up and held her with one arm above the surface until he thought the chaseboat was close enough. Then he let her go. Splash and gone! You really understand why you don’t want to fall overboard from one of these boat. To turn around and pick someone up would just take ages
Magnus has cheered up a bit and is now smiling more. He still tired and he knows this will be though. “It’s a bit of an anticlimax but we have to fight on and finish this race in a good way”, he says.
On the last legs we have had a big problem with tiredness. People just don’t get enough sleep. This time we are going to use the ‘standby watch’ system a bit more and everyone will get down to rest as soon as they can.
Gustav Morin – MCM
It was like the end of a school term at the skippers’ press conference in Stockholm today as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet prepares to tackle Leg 10, a final, short, sprint to the overall finish line in St. Petersburg.
With just 400 miles remaining in a nautical miles, and the leaderboard almost entirely decided, the finish line – the real one – is now in sight. that measures over 37,000
One leaderboard duel does remain. With a maximum of eight points available to the winner of the leg, PUMA leads Telefonica Blue by 6.5 points in the battle to finish second overall in the race.
The forecast is promising for the start on Thursday afternoon. A light Northeasterly breeze of 8-10 knots is expected. But as the leg progresses, the wind is forecast to ease. It could be a long 400 miles.
“This weather forecast is not perfect for us,” said PUMA skipper Ken Read. “We don’t want it to turn into a light air crap shoot because anything can happen that way. Telefonica can go and win the leg by 100 miles if they want; (but) we just have to beat one boat.”
“I think, realistically, they have sewn it up,” countered Telefonica Blue skipper Bouwe Bekking. “But it’s and hopefully they sail the wrong way, come last and we come first. There would be a lot written if that happened. We’ll certainly be pushing hard for a win.”
Also making an appearance at the press conference today was Team Russia skipper Stig Westergaard, who brought the Russian boat, Kosatka, into Stockholm last night. They haven’t competed since Leg 3 and the team is now engaged in a race against time to get rule compliant ahead of the start.
With Ericsson 4 having mathematically won the Fernando Echavarri, that will be motivation enough. on the leg into Stockholm, the rest of the teams are sailing for pride. And, according to Telefonica Black skipper
“This is the last chance we have to win a leg and we’ll try to do that,” he said. “It’s more about personal pressure and trying to finish with a leg win, rather than pressure on the overall standing. It’s going to be good (weather) conditions for our boats so we’ll try to do our best to arrive in St Petersburg in the top position.”
Ericsson 4 skipper agreed it will be a competitive race: “We all owe it to our sponsors to get a good result and we are all very competitive people. A win is important to us.”