The first day of racing at the 2nd edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth dawned with 25 knots of tropical tradewind breeze and showers sweeping over the picturesque French island located midway down the Caribbean chain. The regatta’s fleet of maxis, racing and cruising yachts, multi-hulls and classics – 48 confirmed on race day – set off on a race course around the nearby archipelago, and met with plenty of wind and bumpy seas, especially on the islands’ exposed eastern side.
You certainly couldn’t have asked for a prettier race course, which today sent fleets on jaunts of either 16-, 22-, or 25-nautical mile jaunts. Most intriguing was the trip around the northern tip of St. Barth and through the nearby archipelago, which in a typically French way makes one ready for a meal with names such as Ile Chevreau (baby goat), Ile Fregate (bird), Ile le Boulanger (the baker), Ile Fourchue (fork), Grouper et Petite Groupers (fish), Le Boeuf (beef), and Le Pain du Sucre (sugarloaf).
Today’s later start at 1300 did nothing to diminish the wind and sea, as the first two classes off – Maxis and Multihulls – with eleven boats, started in 22 knots and encountered two meter seas and were sent on a 25-nautical mile course. George David’s Rambler 100 with Ken Read as skipper, got away at the pin end of the starting line and lead Hugo Stenbeck on Genuine Risk up into the outer harbor to an offset turning mark. Once around, Rambler set a huge asymmetric spinnaker and was on her way for the day.
On the eastern, and windward, side of the island the big boats reveled in the conditions which eventually topped out above 30 knots – Genuine Risk, with their combined crew Swedish/ American crew, recorded 30 knots of boat speed surfing downwind through the islands.
Also racing in the Maxi class was the 86’ CNB sloop Spiip, owned by Robin de Jong, who is making his way westward to Tahiti with the boat. Onboard Spiip is Bruno Trouble, well known for creating and overseeing the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series (for the America’s Cup) that originated in 1983. Trouble is racing at the regatta for the first time, and he said, “Les Voiles de St. Barth reminds me a lot of the early days of the Nioulargue with boats from all over the place taking part. Things are going to really build and it is just great, it really reminds me of the first Nioulargue!”
In the Racing Class, the crew work aboard Jim Swartz’s Vesper looked well-honed as the team traded tacks with Peter Cunningham’s Farr 60 Venomous (CAY) up the first short beat. Back on the quay, Venomous’ tactician Tony Rey recounted the day, “We had some great sailing – St. Barth’s is such an awesome place to sail, every time you turn around an island, or a piece of land, the view just gets better and better. It’s just that the race course is a minefield because the wind twists and turns up the corners and the crevices – but it’s a fascinating place to sail! We also had the added challenge that our instruments went down, so we were guessing on our wind speed and direction, and guessing at our boat speed for part of it too, which turned us into good seat-of-the-pants sailors.”
Before scores were tabulated, though Rey suspects, “We think we were probably 2nd or 3rd, we’re pretty sure Vesper beat us handily, because downwind you just can’t stay with a boat like that. We could have sailed better for sure, we left a few seconds on the race track, but generally we’re thrilled, it was a great day of sailing!”
In the 24-boat Racing Cruising class, the Swan 60 Fenix closely led Jereon Hin’s First 50 Black Hole (NED) after the first upwind beat. This class has a gamut of boats including two all-women entries, Annie O’Sullivan’s Diamonds Are Forever (UK), and Henneke Stegweg’s iLost (NED). As well, there are two Moorings 50.5 charter boats with two crews from Oakville, Ontario, Canada, headed up by Andre Beese and Patrick Festing. Both crews are comprised of friends and fellow Etchells sailors, who were originally headed to Antigua to race when a friend suggested they race at Les Voiles de St. Barth.
The Classics class, while low on numbers with just five boats, were high on style points with the 76’ W-class White Wings, the 80’ Fife yawl, Mariella, the 60’ dark-hulled gaff-rigged yawl Kate from St Kitt’s, and the 26’ Friendship sloop La Sirene, gracing the line.
Carlo Falcone, from Antigua, is a frequent competitor with Mariella in both classic and offshore races around the world, which he, more often than not, wins. He enjoys sailing in St. Barth because it has, he says, “more European style than other parts of the Caribbean.”
The yacht was designed by American naval architect Alfred Mylne, and built by Fife in Scotland in 1938. As Falcone says, “The beauty of this boat is the mix of the two. Mariella is well sailed and immaculately maintained, and Falcone says, “I believe the more you use the boat the better it is. But it’s never-ending work – not buying the boat, but keeping it. They say, ‘the owners are just taking care of the boat until the next one.’” His regular crew is a mix of family and friends including his daughter Sylvia, his long-time navigator, 89-year old Henry Pepper (Marblehead, Mass), and crew from Italy, Australia and Dominica. Les Voiles de St.Barth is a way to prepare the boat for this summer’s classic yacht series in New England.
With a relatively new event, one may wonder what goes into the thinking for the course on day one. Following this morning’s skipper’s briefing, the, Les Voiles Race Committee Principal Race Officer, Jean Coadou offered some insight, “There were three main elements: the weather forecast, looking at the strength and direction of the wind around all of the islands. Also it was important with such a large fleet to avoid any boats crossing paths. And first and foremost, the enjoyment of sailing was a key factor. We try to ensure that the competitors encounter all the different points of sail, upwind, downwind and reaching. The idea is to come up with three hours of exciting racing each day; that is why the courses are around 30 miles in length for the fastest boats and 16 miles for the smaller craft.”
Key information: Les Voiles de St. Barth is being hosted from April 4 – 9 2011 by the St. Barth Yacht Club
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
GBR 115 FARR 115 Peter HARRISON /Marc FIDZGERALD
888 SWAN 112 RS/GPR 112′ ALBERT KEULARTS
FRA 8686 CNB 86 86′ ROBIN DE JONG
RAMBLER 100 USA 25555 READ Ken
8390 DUBOIS/MC CONAUGHY 97′ HUGO STENBECK
750 OPEN 750 24′ JAN VANDEN EYNDE
FRA 27917 Farr 36,7 DEREDEC Christian
USA 45454 Farr 45 DEMARCHELLIER Patrick
GRB 1513L GRAND SOLEIL 43′ WILLEM WESTER
SPEEDY NEMO SBH 26 MAGRAS Raymond
TP 52 54′ JAMES SWARTZ
GBR 60006 FARR DESIGN 60′ PETER CUNNINGHAM
MAE-LIA MAGRAS Raphael
SOLANO FRA 34625
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
US2 W CLASS 76′ DONALD TOFIAS
ES5 MYLNE 60′ Walwyn
3 FRIEND SHIP SLOOP R WILSON 26′ DAVID PERTEL
464 YAWL/FIFE 80′ CARLO FALCONE Pre-entry
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
GBR 9660R SWAN 60′ MORITZ BURMESTER
123 Beneteau 45 VELASQUEZ Robert
GER 150L FIRST 50 50′ JEROEN HIN
88 DUFOUR 425 GL 43′ REY PASCAL
FINOT BENETEAU 47.3 ALAIN CHARLOT
FRA 491 REQUIN 33 MELISSA RIMBAUD
FRA 479 REQUIN 33 FOX MOWGLI
BERRET 50.5 ANDRE BEESE
X-YACHT 34 MAGRAS Raphael
BERRET 50.5 PATRICK SMITH
DUFOUR 34′ RAYMOND MAGRAS
51952 BALTIC 39 39′ MAX IMRIE
SUN ODYSSEY 54 DS 54′ HENRY ALBERT
FRA37407 GRAND SOLEIL 40′ PHILIPPE HERVOUET
IVB 612 X-YACHT 60′ NICO CORTLEVER
US 50007 SWAN 48′ JACK DESMOND
FRA 34625 LATINI 52 FELCI 52′ FREDERIC RIALLAND
DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER
GRB 1007L ELAN 37′ ANNIE O’SULLIVAN
GBR 9949 T FIRST 40.7 41′ KEN ACOTT
HARMONY 42 42′ HANNEKE STEGWEG
USA 1 J 95 31′ THOMAS MULLEN
WILD DEVIL ISLAND WATER WORLD
NM 1993 KIWI 35 35′ BEN JELIC
TANGRA 413 REQUIN 35′ QUERE Pre-entry
Yacht Name Sail Design LOA Skipper Status
399BC GUNBOAT 66′ PAUL HAND
COULOMBEL 40′ ERICK CLEMENT
SEACART 30′ HERVE DE MARJOLIE
GBR 565 40′ JASON GARD
BLUE CAT VAN PETEGHEM 40′ CHAYER
CATAMARAN MY CAT 26′ CONSIDERE CLAUDE
Volvo Ocean Race Leg 7 Boston, USA to Galway, Ireland
(click on image to view gallery)
Volvo Ocean Race Boston In Port Race
Volvo Ocean Race Leg 6 Finish - Rio de Janeiro, Brasil to Boston, USA
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.”
A familiar face is on the horizon. Team Russia are on their way to Stockholm with the intention of taking part in the leg 10 sprint to their home port of St Petersburg, Russia.
In what amounts to a race against time for the team, who are currently at sea en route from Gothenburg and expect to be in Stockholm by Tuesday afternoon or evening. The leg 10 start is on Thursday
The team suspended racing in Singapore after leg three as a consequence of insufficient funds, and have since been trying to source funding to resume.
In the meantime, they have largely changed their management and crew – Stig Westergaard has taken over from Andreas Hanakamp as skipper and, along with founder Oleg Zherebtsov, is the only returning member of the sailing team – and they now face a difficult task in being declared eligible to race.
Race Director Jack Lloyd said ”We haven’t seen the boat since Christmas time when they left Singapore so we have no idea of the state of the electronics or the measurement condition of the boat. She just has to comply with the rules, like any other boat. All other boats have to maintain the boat in measurement trim and their crew have to qualify. They just have to go through that process.
“Their old crew has disbanded so probably about eight of them – if they want to take a full crew – have to take a safety course. We have got to do medicals and a little bit of other training, plus we have to get the boat back into measurement trim and get all the electronics done.”