Newport, Rhode Island – 5 February 2013 – Newport, Rhode Island will host the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time after winning a place on the route for the 12th edition of sailing’s premier round-the-world challenge in 2014-15.
The Race will reach Newport, one of the world’s sailing capitals, around May 2015 after a stop in Itajaí, Brazil. From Newport, the teams will sail across the Atlantic for the final legs around Europe.
The Volvo Ocean Race has visited the United States in every edition since 1989-90 but despite Newport’s great sailing heritage, it has never before had Host Port status.
“I’m delighted to announce that we are bringing the world’s greatest offshore sailing event to one of the world’s great sailing cities,” Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad. said at a presentation at Rhode Island State House in Providence.
“It’s about time the Race came to the city of Newport and we are looking forward to a real festival that will delight and inspire sailing fans and those who are new to the sport.”
Rhode Island is known as the Ocean State and for over 50 years Newport was the home of the America’s Cup. The city hosted a hugely successful stop on the America’s Cup World Series in 2012, with 65,000 people visiting over the four-day racing period.
Frostad was joined at the presentation by Rhode Island Governor Lincoln D. Chafee, Newport Mayor Harry Winthrop, Sail Newport executive director Brad Read and other local and state officials. Volvo Ocean Race COO Tom Touber was also at the presentation.
“It gives me great pleasure and pride to welcome the Volvo Ocean Race to beautiful Rhode Island for the first time,” said Governor Chafee. “We have made significant strategic land and marine infrastructure improvements at Fort Adams State Park, paving the way for a new era of racing in Rhode Island and setting the stage for the world-class events we continue to host.
“We had a positive experience with the America’s Cup World Series last summer, and I look forward to welcoming the Volvo Ocean Race to Rhode Island. These large-scale sailing events draw impressive numbers of visitors to our state – visitors who make valuable contributions to our economy.”
Newport, a popular tourist destination, is the sixth Host Port for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 to be revealed so far. The Race will start in Alicante, Spain and visit Recife in north east Brazil. Later in the Race, the teams will race to Auckland in New Zealand before rounding Cape Horn and making a second Brazilian stop in Itajaí and then heading to Newport.
The Race will finish in the Swedish city of Gothenburg. The remaining stopovers on the 2014-15 route will be revealed over the coming weeks.
The upcoming edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will start in autumn 2014 and will be the 12th edition of the 40-year-old event, which started in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race.
The next two editions of the Volvo Ocean Race will be contested in a new high-performance yacht, the Volvo Ocean 65, designed by Farr Yacht Design in the United States and built by a consortium of boatyards in the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Switzerland.
The new 65-foot (19.8-metre) monohull racing yachts will be strictly One Design and delivered “ready to sail”. The boats incorporate the latest video, satellite and content production facilities to further enhance the Onboard Reporter programme that has been in place since 2008-09.
The all-female Team SCA were the first to announce their participation in the 2014-15 edition. Backed by SCA, the global hygiene and forest products company, they will be the first all-women’s team to compete in the race since 2001-02. A team from the state of Pernambuco, Brazil has also been announced.
The previous edition of the Volvo Ocean Race started in October 2011 in Alicante, Spain and was won by Groupama sailing team, skippered by Frenchman Franck Cammas.
The last race took the teams over 39,000 nautical miles (45,000 miles or 72,000 kilometres) and started in Alicante. The route featured stopovers in Cape Town (South Africa), Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lisbon (Portugal) and Lorient (France) before the finish in Galway (Ireland).
Abu Dhabi shrugged off seven months of frustration to seal their first offshore victory in a nerve-jarring transatlantic leg from Miami to Lisbon, while Groupama’s second place finish — five and a half minutes behind after more than 3,500 nautical miles racing — was enough to take them top of the leaderboard in place of long-term leaders Telefonica.
Groupama spent days snapping at the heels of the Emirati team and were within a mile of their rivals as they headed up the River Tagus towards the finish line.
Ian Walker’s team defended resolutely, however, matching their rivals gybe for gybe to ensure their first podium finish on an offshore leg would also be their first win, and spark wild celebrations lit up by a booming firework display.
For Groupama, the consolation prize came soon enough, as Telefónica’s finish in fourth place — behind PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG in the third podium slot and just ahead of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand — meant the French team climb above them.
Abu Dhabi, who finished at 21:23:54 UTC, received 30 points for victory, with Groupama netting 25 after their finish at 21:29:21. PUMA took 20 points, Telefonica 15 and CAMPER 10.
Team Sanya finished sixth to pick up five points.
Groupama, skippered by Franck Cammas, now lead Telefónica by three points overall, with the Spanish team dropping off the lead for the first time since their victory on Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town back in November.
Four teams remain separated by just 21 points, making it the closest contest in the 39-year history of the Volvo Ocean Race with just two offshore legs and three in-port races still to come.
The arrival in Lisbon represented a homecoming for Abu Dhabi, who had a training base in nearby Cascais during the build-up to the race.
“It’s incredible — what a welcome,” said Walker, before he and Emirati crew member Adil Khalid were chucked into the water by their team mates.
“Do you think you can make the last 10 miles of a race any harder than that?
“It’s one of the most amazing experiences of my sailing career, that’s for sure. Mentally, certainly I’m exhausted. It’s just such a relief.”
Abu Dhabi also visited Lisbon in much less happy circumstances during Leg 1, after a dismasting within the first few hours ultimately forced them to ship the boat from Lisbon to Cape Town.
While they have notched up three victories in in-port races, and have a strong chance of winning the series, this is the first time they have really been able to shine in an offshore leg.
First Groupama and then Telefónica enjoyed the lead for long spells on a leg that started out looking like a fast, direct sprint across the Atlantic before the effects of Tropical Storm Alberto altered things drastically.
One by one, the boats were forced to head ever further north towards the ice exclusion zone.
Abu Dhabi moved into the lead on Day 6 and after briefly surrendering it to CAMPER they were back ahead the following day.
Two days later they were clear, though skipper Ian Walker warned repeatedly that a light-air zone inside the final 300 nautical miles would see the fleet compress.
That’s exactly how it turned out, with Abu Dhabi forced to scrap every step of the way to an emotional victory at the team’s second home.
“It came down to the wire, and we certainly had our ups and downs, but we are very happy,” said Groupama skipper Franck Cammas. “it was a good operation for us!”
Third place for PUMA kept them in contention for the overall lead, 12 points behind new leaders Groupama.
“This is a great result,” said the team’s American skipper Ken Read. “There’s still a lot of points on the board and to be on the podium is a big deal for us.”
The battle between Telefónica and CAMPER for fourth and fifth came down to a slow-motion tussle over an excruciating final few miles, with no breeze and the current against them.
Telefónica eventually finished with an advantage of 102 seconds and less than a boat length for a five-point boost that could yet prove crucial.
The action resumes with the In-Port Race on June 9, followed by the start of Leg 8 to Lorient the following day.
Leg 7 results:
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 11d, 04h, 23m, 54s
2. Groupama sailing team – 11d, 04h, 29m, 21s
3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG – 11d, 06h, 26m, 52s
4. Team Telefónica – 11d, 08h, 28m, 27s
5. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand – 11d, 08h, 30m, 09s
6. Team Sanya – 11d, 08h, 44m, 25s
Overall Leg 7 Total
1 Groupama sailing team 25 183
2 Team Telefónica 15 180
3 PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG 20 171
4 CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ 10 162
5 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 30 104
6 Team Sanya 5 32
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing launched an 11th hour comeback in the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race to take their tally of in-shore successes to three, while Groupama scored a strong second to pile the pressure on overall race leaders Telefónica.
Ian Walker’s crew were rewarded for sailing a near-perfect race on Saturday when they snatched the lead from Groupama on the penultimate leg and went on to seal a dramatic victory.
Although they were pipped at the post, Groupama’s result moves them to within just seven points of Telefónica, who had yet more in-port disappointment when a penalty for touching one of the turning marks relegated them to last place.
In a thrilling finale, PUMA came from behind to rocket past CAMPER into third just metres from the finish line.
It was a fourth successive podium finish in the in-shore series for Ken Read’s PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crew, and it brought them to within a point of third-placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand on the overall scoreboard.
Team Sanya, the only team not racing in a new generation boat, were unlucky not to finish higher up the leaderboard, having to settle for fifth after a brave battle with their rivals.
“It feels great,” said a jubilant Abu Dhabi skipper Walker moments after crossing the finish line.
“We’ve had a tough time of it. We had no time at all to prepare for the last in-port race and we made a special point of having two full days’ training here. We wanted to show the world that Abu Dhabi hasn’t given up. We’re a good team, we’re determined, and it feels great to win a race.”
With the Volvo Ocean Race entering a critical stage with just three offshore legs and three in-port races left, just 14 points split the top four boats.
Telefónica still lead with 165 points but snapping at their heels are Groupama on 158, while CAMPER and PUMA are dangerously close on 152 and 151 respectively, bolstered by the results of the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race.
In a nail-biting contest peppered with position changes, Abu Dhabi capitalised on a strong start along with Sanya but it was Telefónica who led round the first mark, showing off their blistering speed on Leg 1.
The action couldn’t have been any more intense with Abu Dhabi and Groupama overhauling Telefónica on Leg 2. Meanwhile, after paying the price for heading offshore, CAMPER and PUMA were left desperately chasing the frontrunners.
While the front two stretched their lead, a fierce battle for third developed, climaxing on Leg 6 with Telefónica hitting the mark and the rest of the fleet piling in behind.
Telefónica were penalised by the on-the-water umpires, adding to their in-port misery and ending their hopes of consolidating their overall lead.
Sniffing a chance to pick up crucial points, PUMA, CAMPER and Sanya put pedal to metal and launched an extraordinary comeback that brought them back in touch with then leaders Groupama and second-placed Abu Dhabi with just a few legs left.
Abu Dhabi’s defining moment came when they hoisted a bigger sail than their French rivals, making the most of the smallest of speed advantages to pass Groupama despite having to dodge a spectator boat.
With the breeze fading, race officials chose to shorten the course and Abu Dhabi hung on to claim the win, all the more sweet due to the fact that just a few weeks ago their stricken boat Azzam was on a container ship en route to Brazil.
The sailors and shore crews are now turning their sights on the final preparations for 3,580 nautical mile Leg 7 from Miami to Lisbon, Portugal, starting on Sunday at 1700 UTC (1300 local time).
PORTMIAMI In-Port Race results:
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 74:09
2. Groupama sailing team, +00:33
3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, +02:02
4. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, +02:11
5. Team Sanya, +2:35
6. Team Telefónica, +6:28
Ken Read and The PUMA Ocean Racing Powered By BERG team win Leg 6,American skipper Ken Read led his PUMA team to a second consecutive leg win on Wednesday, arriving on home soil in Miami triumphant following an epic 17-day match race with closest rivals CAMPER to confirm they are back in contention for overall victory.
Since the heartbreak of the first leg, in which their yacht Mar Mostro dismasted, PUMA have been on the up – and after scoring their first offshore success in Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil, they made it two in two with glory in Leg 6.
After coming off best in an intense battle for first place with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, who at one point closed the gap to less than a mile, Read said his team were back in the fight for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 trophy.
“That was about as stressful as it can get, believe me,” Read said. “It was touch and go, and the guys on CAMPER sailed very well, but I couldn’t be more proud of our team — they did an unbelievably great job.”
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG crossed the finish line at 18:14:00 UTC, 17 days after leaving from Itajaí, Brazil, with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand around an hour behind PUMA and on course to take second.
PUMA dominated the 4,800 nautical mile leg from the start, only surrendering the lead on two occasion to CAMPER and for no more than 48 hours.
A fast start to the leg in fresh conditions saw PUMA lead out of Itajaí and into several days of fast sailing up the Brazilian coast.
As winds eased the fleet split into three groups, with CAMPER and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing closest to the shore enjoying two days at the head of the pack, while Team Telefónica and Groupama sailing team opted to head east in search of better breeze. PUMA split the difference and it paid as they got a jump on their rivals that would lay the foundations for their eventual win.
With the south-east trade winds providing near-perfect conditions for the Volvo Open 70s, a drag race began up to the Equator and through the Doldrums, which presented little problem for the fleet. But 10 days into racing, PUMA were nearly undone by storm clouds which stalled the leaders, allowing CAMPER and Telefónica to reel them in to just six miles.
Into the Caribbean Sea they enjoyed fast sailing once more until they hit tricky weather systems that once again saw the leading boats compress. Despite coming under fire from CAMPER right up until the very last minute, faultless sailing saw PUMA defend their lead to claim the win.
It’s the fourth time in six legs that PUMA have finished on the podium, and they pick up an invaluable 30 points for the leg win to take their overall tally to 147.
CAMPER will be awarded 25 points for second place, their best result in the offshore series since Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi when they finished second behind Team Telefónica.
“It’s been a long leg and PUMA have sailed very nicely, they have defended very well, but I think we have attacked well too,” CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson said as his team closed in on the finish line. “I’m pretty happy with how it’s gone. We’re in better shape now for the next leg.”
Both teams will close the gap on overall leaders Telefónica, who were still scrapping it out for the final podium position with Groupama sailing team.
The current ETA for the arrival of Groupama and Telefónica is 0300 UTC, with fifth-placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing expected to arrive at 0800 UTC.
Charged with documenting the race from the perpectives of the crew on board, the role of Media Crew Member is often percieved as a glamorous “dream job”.
But throw into the mix a gruelling work schedule alongside tasks including cleaning the bilges, bailing water from the boat and cooking all meals, and suddenly it’s not all fun and games if you’re a Volvo Ocean Race MCM.
While the Volvo Open 70s are in transit from the safe haven port, we caught up with Amory Ross, MCM on PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, about the challenges of life on board Mar Mostro.
volvooceanrace.com: You came into this race quite late. Has it met your expectations so far?
Amory Ross: I didn’t come into this race with any expectations per se but I think it’s been a lot of what I was looking for in a sense of getting out there, finding something new and different. It’s been a really special opportunity. The material the MCMs are given is really impossible to access from any other perspective. We’re certainly hitting on all strides there. We have certainly been one for surprises so far – no shortage of new, off the topic adventures with islands and all kinds of stuff going on. It’s been exciting and the expectations have been a little left behind in terms of new adventures, and something to really sink the teeth into.
VOR: The dismasting on the first leg must have been incredibly difficult to cover as an MCM. Tell us a bit about how you dealt with that.
AR: When it happened I think we were all more surprised than anything else. The nice thing about my situation is that there are 11 guys on the boat and each has a job to do. The sailors understand I am there for moments like that, and they have all been really gracious and welcoming with questions, and forthcoming with honest answers. Thinking about it now, it was tough. It seems like it was just yesterday. With the suddenness of it all, I immediately started recording the footage but not necessarily the reactions, just making sure from a technical standpoint everything was there because those are the moments you don’t get again. You get one try and that’s that. That very quickly shifted to trying to talk to some of the sailors. I’d be lying if I said it was easy, and there were some less than pleased reactions, but that’s my job. I look back at it now and I’m happy I had the gusto to say something because we all look back on it now in a very different light and everyone understands that in the heat of the moment it’s very frustrating for all.
VOR: What are the challenges of being an MCM?
AR: There’s no question that the public’s perception of the job is probably a little glamorous while from the inside it’s anything but. If I had to pick three of the more challenging components they would be:
1. Mentally being ok not helping out. That’s a big one for me. I come from a sailing background and it’s not necessarily that I want to improve the boat’s performance or anything but it’s tough. When times are down and people are struggling a bit I just want to help, I just want to grab something and offer two more hands to the equation. The nice thing is I direct that energy to the food, to the bailing, and just try to stay positive. For me that’s my contribution to the performance of the boat.
2. The scheduling we have is another one. The first leg we had was easy as it was pretty much north-south so there wasn’t much change in daylight hours or time zones. This last leg I had a really hard time with my schedule. I have a schedule for Volvo Ocean Race which runs on UTC, I have our boat time which was Cape Town time, and then I have the changing daylight so people are asking what time food’s coming up, if they are eating dinner when it’s really light or breakfast when it’s really dark. It messes with everyone’s cycle. Trying to regulate my own time and make sure meals are cooked on time, the content’s off the boat on time, making sure I get sleep – it’s a lot to handle.
3. Lastly it’s really hard to find time to rest. My time to work is when it’s sunny and so I find myself up all day, and then at night I’m editing. Sometimes it’s so loud and there’s so much going on. Whether you’re tacking or gybing or stacking your stuff, you really don’t have much rest. I always tend to end these legs pretty darn exhausted. The upside is that we get the opportunity to capture something really special. I will find myself in a bit of a swear-fest hating life, and two hours later I’ll take a picture or get something on video that makes all of it worthwhile. It’s amazing how quickly you forget.
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson (AUS) nursed his boat through heinous sea conditions overnight and into Table Bay to clinch second place at 10:48:04 UTC (12:48 local time) in Cape Town on Sunday after 21 days, 21 hours, 48 minutes and 4 seconds (21:21:48:04) at sea.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, throttled back overnight in winds gusting 35 knots and mountainous seas, but once daylight broke, they were up to speed and screamed across the finish to take 25 points to add to their four points earned for a third-place finish in the Iberdrola In-Port Race in Alicante on October 29.
They are now in second place overall on the Volvo Ocean Race leaderboard with 29 points – two behind Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) who finished first on Saturday evening. Groupama sailing team are expected to finish on Tuesday, with third place set to take them up to third overall with 22 points. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (6 points), PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (5) and Team Sanya (3) were all forced to retire from Leg 1.
On stepping ashore, skipper Chris Nicholson/AUS spoke of the decision to stay on the African coast early in the leg:
“Everyone was trying to get to the coast and we were getting there nicely, but it was the wrong call. It’s been 20 days playing catch-up from that decision. We weren’t able to make up that deficit. We would have loved to have been head to head with Telefónica and PUMA.
He added that it was a tough leg: “The conditions were pretty rough as you can see with all damage from the boats. We handled it well, we’re here in second and so that’s a good result.”
Co-skipper Stu Bannatyne (NZL) said: “It’s very nice to be in Cape Town finally. It felt like a very long leg. We got a podium result so we are very happy. Last night we backed off once Telefónica had finished, with winds between 35 and 40 knots. We nursed it in last night as there was no point pushing at that point.”
The highlight for CAMPER was their run of 554.16 nautical miles in the 24-hour period up to 1755 UTC on November 24. That will almost certainly make them the winner of the IWC Speed Record Challenge for Leg 1. The overall fastest time, over all nine legs of the race, will land the 11 members of the winning crew with an IWC Portuguese Yacht Club Chronograph Edition ‘Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12’.
CAMPER’s fortunes on this opening leg were mixed. After leading the six-boat fleet in a slick start and out through the Straits of Gibraltar, they paid a high price for a tactical dilemma early on day three as the fleet headed out into the Atlantic.
Initially the team chose the inshore option keeping close to Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA), both boats following the African coastline. On day four, Nicholson decided to sacrifice miles gained towards the mark and headed the red and white boat offshore to join PUMA’s Mar Mostro (Ken Read/USA) and eventual leg winner, Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP).
It was an expensive decision, and one from which the team never really recovered and, by 2200 UTC on day five, CAMPER were 105 nautical miles behind in last place. No one likes not being in the lead and on board, the crew of CAMPER had been left with a bitter taste after sacrificing so many miles.
The losses continued to grow as the team struggled to get out to the west. The lowest point was early on day seven, when they logged 334 nm behind the leader, but from 2200 UTC that night, their fortunes changed. That night the team clawed back 56 miles. The boat was finally back on track and taking the course the crew had wanted. The gains continued and CAMPER were back in contention as the expensive westerly option started to pay dividends.
On day nine, CAMPER had moved up to third place and rounded the island of Fernando de Noronha on day 13, November 17, 126 nm behind PUMA’s Mar Mostro. On the fateful day that PUMA’s Mostro dismasted, day 17, November 21, CAMPER had closed the gap to within 110 nm.
The crew had their feet firmly on the pedal and were pushing the boat to her limits and by day 18, the pressure had taken its toll. Bowman Mike Pammenter from South Africa was washed down the deck, his fall broken by his face smashing against the shrouds. It was a stern reminder of just how dangerous and on the edge this race can be. His face stitched up and minus a front tooth, Pammenter was soon back on deck and CAMPER continued at breakneck speed towards Cape Town. She was now hot on the heels of leg leader Telefónica and in touch, just 94 nm behind.
“Now we need to think about our new rival CAMPER,” wrote the crew of Telefónica. But luck ran out for CAMPER who arrived at the exciting cold front, the super-quick conveyor belt to Cape Town, a little too late to gain the full benefit and Telefónica were gone. CAMPER eventually finished Leg 1 over 200 nm and 16 hours behind.
DTL DTLC BS DTF
1 TELE Finished: 021d 05h 14m 25s
2 CAMP Finished: 021d 21h 48m 04s
3 GPMA 0.00 534.0 21.8 521.4
- ADOR Retired from Leg 1
- PUMA Retired from Leg 1
- SNYA Retired from Leg 1
With the cold front shifting very quickly across 40° South, the pace has really gone up a notch, to the extent that all the teams have sailed in excess of 500 miles in 24 hours with ease. On a more manageable sea, the north-westerly wind is kicking out over twenty knots of breeze, though Groupama 4 will be the first to slow down once the zones of high pressure settle into position behind the front.
“After a fairly hard first week of racing, things have been pretty routine with the tradewind system we’ve been in since Fernando de Noronha. It is frustrating not to be sailing neck and neck with the others so we can gauge Groupama 4′s potential. However, taking options is part and parcel of racing: sometimes you win, sometimes you lose… Right now things are beginning to get more difficult with the return of the cold and the constant dampness. We haven’t had to put in a lot of manoeuvres, which means that we aren’t too tired. We’ve got the time to trial the different sail configurations, and really get a feel for the boat: Groupama 4 is an excellent boat and we should be able to enjoy some very good legs. I also think that we’ve made a good sail choice: we know that on certain points of sail with eased sheets in the breeze, the boat is powerful and really very quick”, said Charles Caudrelier at the noon radio link-up this Thursday.
A very fast stretch…
In any case, Groupama 4 is in perfect condition after virtually three weeks of racing, thanks to some outstanding preparation on the part of the shore team. As such the crew can exploit her potential without restrictions. Evidence of this lies in the high average speeds racked up over the past few hours with surfing at over 25 knots and a total of 516 miles covered in 24 hours. Naturally, during this same period, the leader Telefonica has racked up 533.8 miles and Camper 540.6 miles, but these two crews are benefiting from some better sailing conditions due to being further South and further East, within the front. These boats will also continue to pull off such performances over the next 24-36 hours as, contrary to Groupama 4, they’ll be able to remain hooked onto the western edge of a system dishing out a dozen or so knots of south-westerly wind for longer. This wind should enable them to reach Cape Town without too much difficulty this weekend, whilst Franck Cammas and his men will have to deal with a weak system stretching out for over 800 miles from the finish. Indeed, from tonight, Groupama 4 will stall considerably in breezes of less than ten knots along an area which is bordering the so-called roaring forties!
“The ranking for this first leg is unlikely to change now. Indeed given the grib files, we’re likely to finish the leg with quite a deficit as the strong winds will abandon us over the coming hours. That means that our deficit is set to increase. I don’t think Camper will be able to make up ground on Telefonica either, unless the latter suffers damage. For the past 24 hours we’ve had between 20 and 25 knots of breeze at 130° to the wind, with the temperature dropping and lots of humidity in the air… We’re adding more fleece layers now, but there’s not too much spray as we’re sailing downwind. The atmosphere is rather greyish, with a few albatrosses about. In principle we’re soon going to see our progress slowed because we’ll get swallowed up by the high pressure. We’ll probably have to choose between dipping South again to hook onto a new depression, or threading our way to the finish in light winds: ultimately Franck is considering taking a route halfway between the two so as to preserve the gear as we should finish third in any case”, explained Groupama 4′s so-called `performer’, Charles Caudrelier, whose role includes studying the boat’s performance.
Waking up with a start from a deep sleep, Erwan Israël injured the area above his eye by smacking up against a reinforced area of the deck above his bunk. It wasn’t serious but, after consultation with the official doctor for the Volvo Ocean Race, it was decided that a couple of stitches were the best solution. However, in 25 knots of breeze, big seas, high speed, the dead of night and no in situ experience, `doctor’ Charles Caudrelier, ably assisted by Jean-Luc Nélias and Martin Strömberg, was a bit tense…
“I was a bit anxious about it because I really didn’t want to hurt him. However, Erwan is a brave patient! Fortunately the boat wasn’t rocking about too much at that stage and I did have my training on pigs to back me up… Making the first move is the hardest thing, but once I’d started, the operation went smoothly without hurting him. It seems to have worked well as Erwan’s in good shape with a fabulous eyebrow arch! Added to that, it hasn’t become infected. Obviously it did remind me of the Vendée Globe when Bertrand de Broc had to sew up his own tongue…”
Position of the competitors in the Volvo Ocean Race in the first leg from Alicante – Cape Town at 1400 UTC on 24/11/2011
1. Telefonica – 1,019.3 miles from the finish
2. Camper – 101.8 miles astern
3. Groupama – 339.1 astern of the leader
Puma – retirement
Abu Dhabi – retirement
Team Sanya – retirement
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG reported that they had suffered a broken mast on the first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, which began 17 days ago from Alicante, Spain. The crew are unhurt.
The rig onboard PUMA’s Mar Mostro failed at around 1500 UTC in the southern Atlantic Ocean, about 2,150 nautical miles from Cape Town, South Africa.
Skipper Ken read reported: “We were sailing on a port tack, beam reaching in 22-23 knots of breeze, heading east northeast with eight to 10 foot waves when the mast failed. There were no warning signs.
“There was no panic onboard, and all crew are safe and well.”
“Thanks to amazing seamanship, the three pieces of the mast and all of the sails were recovered. We haven’t suspended racing at this point and are weighing are options.
“At this point we are not using our engine, but are taking some time to clear our heads and evaluate next steps. Our plans may include heading to the island of Tristan da Cunha – about 700 nautical miles from us, nearly on the way to Cape Town.
“This is the saddest and most disappointed 11 people on earth. We were in a comfortable second position, traveling south to get into the final front and head across the southern Atlantic towards Cape Town.
“We were planning to be there in five days. At this stage, my goal is to make sure we get this crew back safely and we will look at options as to how to get back in this race.”
The Brazilian search and rescue organisation have been informed and are on standby to assist if necessary.
Volvo Ocean Race control is in constant contact with the team to establish the full extent of the damage and ensure the crew are given full support to enable them to deal with the situation.
The causes of the dismasting are not known at this stage. However, the rig is of a different origin and manufacture to that of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam which suffered a failure earlier during Leg 1.
PUMA Ocean Racing’s shore team are working on a recovery plan to ensure the yacht can rejoin the race as soon as practically possible and will work closely with Volvo Ocean Race to determine the cause of the dismasting.