The Newport Bermuda Race Safety at Sea Seminar on March 17-18 introduces a new approach to safety education. The seminar serves sailors in the 2012 Newport Bermuda Race as well as delivery and crews returning from Bermuda and other offshore sailors. It is also perfect for skippers and crews on coastal racers plus ocean and coastal cruisers, too. This Cruising Club of America seminar is at the Newport (RI) Hyatt Regency Hotel on Goat Island.
Register at http://www.bermudarace.com/EntryProcess/SafetyatSea/tabid/190/Default.aspx in advance. Or for those who choose to register at the door in Newport, walk-ins are welcome
On Saturday, March 17, the seminar offers two tracks. The morning �refresher course� is for anybody who has attended two or more US SAILING certified safety seminars since 2002. Participants may then do hands-on, in-water survival training in the afternoon. They will earn an ISAF Approved Certificate in one day. The other track is the All-day Safety at Sea seminar for people who have not attended a safety seminar recently.
On Sunday, there are two all-day courses� the Practical, Hands on Training Safety Seminar that combines with Saturday’s all day Safety at Sea Seminar to award the ISAF Approved Offshore Personal Survival Course certificate and a Red Cross First Aid and CPR training course. In addition, a Newport Bermuda Race Preparation Seminar aimed specifically at Bermuda Race sailors will be held in the morning.
More information about the CCA Safety at Sea Seminar and a link to direct registration and details about the Newport Bermuda Race are at www.BermudaRace.com.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race, which this year starts on Saturday, 17 October, has witnessed many changes and challenges over its forty-one year history and 2009 is no exception. For the first time ever the race will start from Malta’s most famous natural harbour – Grand Harbour – a significant change to past routine. Perhaps more exceptional, though, is the change that has taken place over the past year to the Royal Malta Yacht Club’s premises, the headquarters for the race.
For those taking part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race for the first time, the enormity of the change may well be lost. The remarkable atmosphere created by the surroundings of eighteenth century Fort Manoel has been swept away and replaced by a stunning, modern enterprise that looks as though it has been operating for a number years. Nothing could be further from the truth. When the horn sounded as last boat home, Squibs, crossed the finish line of the Rolex Middle Sea Race last year, one chapter in the history of the Royal Malta Yacht Club and its flagship event closed and a new one was just beginning. One that was by no means certain with its ending.
John Ripard, President of the Royal Malta Yacht Club, sheds some light on the extraordinary events that have unfolded and seen the club shift its operation from Manoel Island across Msida Creek to Ta’ Xbiex, “sitting in this building today it is hard to imagine that twelve months ago we did not have title or really even the idea that we would be coming here. It has been a tremendous undertaking. I have to acknowledge that a great deal of the merit for having achieved all this: the acceptance that we had to move, dealing with the trauma connected with the move after so long in Fort Manoel, to actually creating a clubhouse such as this one in a very short space of time; we have to attribute to the indefatigable effort, time and energy that our present commodore Georges Bonello Dupuis has devoted to the whole project.”
It has been some achievement. Most clubs running a 600 nautical-mile offshore race attracting some of the world’s top offshore race boats and more spend a good eight months preparing for it. Very few contemplate or even execute during that same period a move of premises, especially to ones that need gutting and rebuilding. The move required verve and nerve. Negotiations with the Maltese Government were not finalised until two weeks ago when the lease was formally signed. In the meantime, the RMYC Committee pushed ahead with the design and refurbishment of the former Yachting Centre that used to house Customs, Immigration and Malta Maritime Authority services. The deadline for completion was always the 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race, the thirtieth edition of this internationally acclaimed distance race.
The deadline was a real one. The Rolex Middle Sea Race now typically attracts over 70 yachts to Malta from all around the world – this year’s list currently stands at 77, the record fleet is 78. The need to make excuses for the RMYC’s archaic former premises was always lost in the bewilderment of the newly arrived foreign crews taking in the history of the place. Seasoned participants grew to enjoy the eclectic charm that formed part of the attraction of the race. Inviting these same well-travelled crews to a half-built club, even one with a magnificent view of Valletta, did not bear thinking about. Not for a club as proud as this one.
Chief Architect to the project, Godwin Zammit, is also Rear Commodore Racing and Chairman of the Rolex Middle Sea Race Committee. Initially he was sceptical that everything could be achieved in the time available, “I had my doubts initially, it was a big job. We had to move into a building before we had renovated it so we have had to move around within it, while we gutted and remodelled it, knocked parts of it down and rebuilt it. Once we committed to it we pulled our socks up and did what we had to do to finish.” What we see today would be enough for many clubs, with large open spaces housing offices, committee rooms, briefing rooms and a bar area overlooking the water. According to Zammit, though, this is only the end of phase one.
This is not the first time in its long history that the Royal Malta Yacht Club has moved premises. The club is reputed to date back to 1835, but its first true clubhouse was built in 1930 at Floriana. This building was demolished by a bomb in 1942, during World World II. The St Rocco Baths were used as temporary facilities in the immediate aftermath, until a new clubhouse could be built at Hay Wharf, Floriana, in 1951. In 1972, the RMYC moved house again to the Couvre Port of Fort Manoel, where it remained until last year, an official squatter. The RMYC’s position at Fort Manoel was at times as precarious as the building itself. The Club had never been able to acquire formal ownership rights and after more than ten years of negotiation with the Maltese Government and the owners of Manoel Island, suitable permanent premises at Ta’ Xbiex Wharf were eventually identified late in 2008.
As noted by John Ripard, whose experiences with the Club date back to the late 1950s, one of the prime movers behind the successful change has been Commodore Georges Bonello Dupuis. For Bonello Dupuis this was a move brought about by force of circumstance, but one that the Club needed to embrace positively. ” Staying where we were would have meant probable death for the Club. By contrast, this is an incredible opportunity for us, but it has not been easy. There were huge emotional ties to Fort Manoel; the start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has always been conducted from the terrace in front of the old Club,” he says; continuing, “as Godwin says, once the decision was made we always had a target date to meet. The start of the Rolex Middle Sea Race has served to focus the minds of all those behind the move. It was unconscionable that we would greet the entrants to this great event from anything less than a fully functioning clubhouse.”
To say the Royal Malta Yacht Club has been successful is an under-statement, as any of the participating crews would testify. With the start of the 30th Rolex Middle Sea Race only four days away, the organisation is safely housed and the competitors being welcomed as only is possible in Malta.
Tomorrow, Wednesday 14 October, sees a warm-up Coastal Race starting from Marsamxett Harbour at 10.00 CEST. The 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race starts from Grand Harbour at 11.00 CEST on Saturday, 17 October.
The final prize giving is at noon on 24th October.
George David’s Rambler (USA) established the current Course Record of 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds in 2007.
Two months out from the start of an event the stature and complexity of the Rolex Middle Sea Race, most yacht clubs would be happy to be entering the home straight of processing competitor registrations. Not the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Not only are they organising this 606 nautical mile offshore race, they are preparing to start it from a new line and with the new yacht club premises still in build. Only in Malta. On the plus side this is the thirtieth time the race has been held and this year’s fleet looks no less exciting than any of the past decade; a period which has seen the race return to the world stage of competitive offshore sailing.
Mike Slade’s ICAP Leopard is the headline act at this year’s Rolex Middle Sea Race. Bursting with satisfaction having taken back-to-back line honours at the Rolex Fastnet, the crew of this 100-foot ocean-eater will be looking to add part two of an offshore racing trifecta that Slade hopes will culminate in December with the Rolex Sydney Hobart. The only other yacht to take consecutive Line Honours at all three of these 600-plus mile races is Neville Crichton’s first Alfa Romeo, which some years later in the hands of George David and under the name Rambler, scorched to a new course record in 2007. And, that will be another of Slade’s objectives when he hits the line on Saturday, 17 October.
Where in the fleet the overall victory is decided will depend on the prevailing weather. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a four-sided course, not without its share of traps and pitfalls for the unwary. The tidal gate at the Strait of Messina that separates Sicily from mainland Italy is a critical point in the race, but it comes at the end of the first straight. With three more sides of the irregular quadrilateral to go, no one is certain of victory at this juncture.
Leopard’s closest rival on the water at this summer’s Rolex Fastnet was Karl Kwok’s brand new Farr 80 Beau Geste. Led once again by Gavin Brady and Francesco de Angelis, do not be surprised to see this Hong Kong maxi breathing down the neck of Leopard, despite being 20 foot shorter. Strategy and tactics are as key to success in this race as speed. Slightly further a back major battle will be underway between the Mini Maxis. The Royal Malta Yacht Club expects Niklas Zennstrom’s Rán 2 (overall winner of the 2009 Rolex Fastnet) and the STP 65s of Udo Schütz (Container/GER), Patrizio Bertelli (Luna Rossa/ITA) and Roger Sturgeon (Rosebud/USA – overall winner of the 2007 Rolex Sydney Hobart) to be joining Hap Fauth’s Bella Mente (USA) and Andres Soriano’s Alegre (GBR) – the 2008 Rolex Middle Sea Race Line Honours winner – for the another major offshore race line-up in the class.
Recent years have proved time and again that size is not everything in this race. The 2008 winner of the magnificent Rolex Middle Sea Race trophy for victory overall was the 40 foot French yacht Spirit of Ad Hoc. In 2004, it was the 50-foot Greek yacht Optimum 3. The Maltese also stuck the flag in the sand for small boats back in 2002, when the 32-foot Market Wizard claimed the prize. The Maltese will be out in force again this year. Some more experienced than others, but none just in it for the ride.
Jonathan Gambin has entered his own boat, Ton Ton, for a second time and whilst this will be only his third race, it confirms a growing enthusiasm for the course. This is no surprise. Even before crossing the start line in 2008, Gambin vowed “whatever the result I’ll be back again next year.” He finished a very respectable eleventh overall on handicap, beating two-thirds of his class in the process. Kevin Dingli is one of this year’s novice skippers. Last year he participated on Squibs, the last boat to finish the race. Undeterred, for this edition, he will be leading a crew on his 40-foot Beneteau, Fekruna. “I only started racing in 2005,” says Dingli. “Although we are relative novices, we are taking the race seriously. Taking my own yacht on the race is something I have long wanted to do and it will be an adventure. I’m looking forward to both the start and finish,” he continues, “The start will be an adrenalin charged moment, especially within the confines of Grand Harbour. But our main objectives are to finish safely and within the time limit.”
Other yachts to watch out for are: Kees Kaan’s GS43 ROARK/Claus en Kaan’s Architecten (NED), Boat of the Series at the 2008 Rolex Commodores’ Cup, and fellow countryman Piet de Vroon and his latest Tonnerre de Breskens. De Vroon is a former winner of the Rolex Fastnet. Yachts likely to catch the eye are the brand new Shipman 72, Geometry (BVI), entered by Philippe Gigon and the Swan 82RS, Nikata (GBR), entered by Nicolai Tangen. Gigon is another on a fast learning curve for this race, although the unknowns are primarily associated with his yacht. “Geometry was launched on 13 July this year,” explains Gigon. “We’re still testing the systems and sails, and will do so right up to the start. My co-skipper did this race last year on Coral and we both have racing backgrounds, so we’ll do our best to get round the course at the best of Geometry’s potential.” Like Dingli, Gigon is looking forward to the start. Amusingly, he says the bit he is not looking forward to is the finish, since it means a return to winter quarters in Italy.
The place to be to watch the start of the race this year will undoubtedly be the Saluting Battery in the Upper Barrakka Gardens overlooking Grand Harbour from the Valletta side. This will be the first time in the forty-one year history of the race that Malta’s most famous port will host the start. The RMYC is working hard on the final details with the Malta Maritime Authority, which will be closing the harbour for around four hours on the day. The purists need not worry that some of the theatre may be lost with this move of venue. The line is planned to stretch across to the bastions of Fort St Angelo on the Birgu side of the harbour and there will be plenty of the familiar echoing gunfire as the starting procedures get underway.
As for the yacht club premises, given the short lead-time, Commodore Georges Bonello DuPuis is delighted with progress to date, “the majority of the major works have been completed. As with all projects of this nature there are moments of difficulty, but the membership of the club is thoroughly involved and we will be in good shape come October. We’re all looking forward to another great race.”
The Rolex Middle Sea Race commences on Saturday, 17 October 2009. Entries close on 10 October. The final prize giving is on Saturday, 24 October 2009.
George David’s Rambler established the current Course Record of 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds in 2007.
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.”