View Full Version : 2017 - 2018 Volvo Ocean Race

Pages : [1] 2

10-05-2016, 09:35 AM

The start of the 2017-18 edition is still over a year away – but at the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard facility in Lisbon, Portugal, our team of boat building experts is already working against the clock.

How do you prepare a boat to race three times more Southern Ocean miles than in recent editions? Well, it starts with an unprecedented and unique refit process, which will see all seven Volvo Ocean 65s undergo a complete overhaul.

"To say we're on a challenging schedule is an understatement," says Sam Bourne, Head of the Boatyard's Deck Gear Division.
"We have seven boats to upgrade between now and next summer. Every three weeks a boat will come in, and from January 2017, we'll start to push the boats out and hand over to the teams. There's not a moment to waste."


The first boat has already been lifted out of the water – and it's now a race against the clock for the Boatyard team as they work through a stringent re-fit process, based around reliability, to ensure that they can race another 45,000 miles around the planet.

“The boats ended the last race in fantastic condition,” said Nick Bice, Director of Boats and Maintenance.
“When a boat comes out of this re-fit process it will look brand new, with a new paint job. You won’t be able to tell they’ve ever been in the water, never mind raced and trained over 60,000-70,000 miles through the toughest conditions on earth.”
Work on each will take around 15 weeks, but the process will be staggered to allow a new boat to enter the facility every three weeks.
It is the first time in the history of the race that a one-design re-fit process has been undertaken. It will be completed in June 2017 – four months before the start of the next edition in October 2017.


Bice adds: “We’re making some changes across the boats using our learnings from last edition to ensure that they’re even more reliable than before – and we’re also modifying the sail inventory, combined with several other upgrades all taking safety, reliability and technological advancement in to account.”
The Boatyard facility, which opened in May, is a pre-race training hub for the teams, allowing them to access Atlantic Ocean conditions. The maintenance centre based at Race HQ in Alicante continues to be available for teams as a Mediterranean training and support base.


all photos © Amalia Infante/Volvo Ocean Race

Bice continues: “The building we’re using to house the Boatyard is an old fish market. If you were to design and build a facility to undertake these upgrades to the boats, you wouldn’t be able to design it better than what’s already here in the docks in Lisbon.
“The training options are almost limitless. You can go up around the corner, around Cascais and be virtually guaranteed wind at any stage. Equally, you could train in the Tagus River to practise in light air scenarios.”

The maintenance centre based at Race HQ in Alicante will continue to be available for teams as a Mediterranean training and support base.


Panama Red
10-05-2016, 01:57 PM
Looks like they could use a few more teams!

Single Hander
10-05-2016, 02:28 PM
You would think there would be a waiting list.................

Carl Spackler
10-05-2016, 03:17 PM
Maybe Kanye West could sponsor a boat, I understand his fashion line is killing it.

Dutch Rudder
10-05-2016, 03:49 PM
Kim needs more jewelry, not another boat.

IOR Geezer
10-06-2016, 09:06 AM
What's the cost to campaign one of those boats for a cycle?

IOR Geezer
10-06-2016, 09:22 AM
Found this:


Lots of euros, but less euros than previous editions!

Buzz Light Beer
10-06-2016, 09:41 AM
Interesting that prices are down and entries are scarce.

Thought the recession was over.

10-10-2016, 10:01 AM

Volvo Ocean Race changes rules to maintain growth in top level female participation

In the first of a series of ten announcements that the Volvo Ocean Race will make over the next two weeks, the rules of the race will limit all-male teams to seven sailors, one fewer than in 2014-15, and give mixed teams a significant numerical advantage:

– All-male teams still permitted, but adding the world’s best female sailors is incentivised
– Different crew combinations possible on different legs, giving skippers room to follow various selection strategies according to the expected weather conditions
- Under-30 rule fine-tuned to squeeze age of ‘youth’ sailors down further

ALICANTE, Spain – The Volvo Ocean Race is making a major rule change to give world-class female sailors a much clearer pathway to compete at the highest level of offshore sailing in the 2017-18 edition.

In the first of a series of ten announcements that the Volvo Ocean Race will make over the next two weeks, the rules of the race will limit all-male teams to seven sailors, one fewer than in 2014-15, and give mixed teams a significant numerical advantage.

The possible crew combinations for 2017-18 will be:

7 men;

7 men and 1 or 2 women;

7 women and 1 or 2 men;

5 men and 5 women;

11 women


Teams will be able to change their crew combinations from leg to leg in the race, which starts from Alicante in October 2017 and visits 11 cities around the globe, but as in previous editions, teams will be required have the same crewmembers on board for the In-Port Race as either the previous or the subsequent offshore leg – with the exception of a team that is racing offshore with 7 males who can add an additional female for the in-port racing.

Ian Walker, Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 winning skipper, and Olympic silver medallist, commented: "If female offshore sailors ever want to compete at the same level as the best in the world then they need to train and race with the best.

“It would be very hard to compete with only seven people on a Volvo Ocean 65 against teams of eight or nine. This new rule will almost certainly force teams to hire women and that will create a great platform for learning."

The move follows the success of Team SCA’s 2014-15 campaign, which saw an all-female crew finish third in the In-Port Race series and become the first to win an offshore leg in 25 years – but still saw a ceiling in their offshore performance overall without being able to learn from the more experienced sailors once out on the ocean.

“This is not about lowering the standard as some in the sport will suggest – the reverse – it is giving more opportunity to the very best female sailors in the world to compete on equal terms," said Mark Turner, Volvo Ocean Race CEO, who masterminded Briton Dame Ellen MacArthur’s successful Vendée Globe race in 2001, where she finished second.

"Sailing is one of the few sports where you can have mixed teams, and we want to take advantage of that, and also reflect the growing desire for greater diversity in businesses – in particular the kind who back the race teams today.




“The Team SCA project in the last race did a great job to restart female participation, after 12 years with just one sailor getting a slot [Adrienne Cahalan, Brasil 1, Leg 1 2005-06]. We’re determined to build on that momentum, and we want to guarantee that the Volvo Ocean Race continues to have the very best sailors competing in the race – both male and female.”

He continued: “We’re using the crew rules to incentivise skippers to bring one or more female sailors onboard. I really hope that it’s not necessary to have any rule at all in the future – but it seems it’s the only way today to ensure we can maintain progress.”

The race, which celebrated its 43-year anniversary last month, has a long history of female sailors, with over 100 women having competed since its inception in 1973, compared with over 2000 men.

“We’re determined to maintain our female presence in the Race – the proportion of women in sailing is growing all the time, and we think that it’s important that, as sailing’s leading offshore property, we maintain a representative demographic,” explained Race Director, Phil Lawrence.

And news of the move has already attracted a positive reaction from many female sailors.

"This is fantastic news for elite female athletes not just in sailing, but in sport as a whole,” said Dee Caffari MBE, who raced onboard Team SCA in 2014-15 and, in 2006, became the first female to sail solo and non-stop the ‘wrong way’ around the world.

“It was important to make a big impact with an all-female team last edition in order to change the perception of women in sailing, and we showed that we could compete on the same boats, in the same conditions.”

She added: “I’m excited to see the concept of mixed teams evolve. I do believe that there are enough female sailors out there who can step up and prove that they can perform, deliver and earn a place onboard.”

The race has also reaffirmed the commitment to youth sailing, with a rule that two crew must be under the age of 30 at the end of the race in July 2018.

10-12-2016, 09:04 AM
Eighth boat under construction for Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

In the third of 10 announcements over 10 days, Volvo Ocean Race has confirmed that, in an unexpected boost to the next edition of the race, an eighth boat is being built at Persico Marine, Italy


As a One Design class, it will of course be identical to the existing fleet of seven Volvo Ocean 65s in every way, and will be launched in May next year, five months before the start of the next edition. The team behind this new build will be announced early in 2017.

"It’s exciting to welcome an addition to the fleet ahead of the next edition, as this was not necessarily expected,” said Nick Bice, the Volvo Ocean Race’s Director of Boats and Maintenance. “We now have a real prospect of starting the next race with more boats than in the last edition."


He added: "There will be absolutely no advantage in terms of physical performance or reliability. The new boat will be identical to the existing fleet in every respect.

"All of the Volvo Ocean 65s were built with at least two editions in mind, possibly even a third – and the seven that finished the 2014-15 edition are still in fantastic condition."

Persico Marine is the lead contractor for the new boat, and will use the same moulds, materials and process of building the original fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s. After completion, the boat will be delivered to the Boatyard facility in Lisbon, where it will undergo rigorous measurement tests.

"When it comes to measuring, we run a fully transparent process. Anyone from any team can come and witness the boats being measured in our refit facility in Lisbon, to ensure they fit the bill," said Bice.

"Our tests on the existing boats have shown they have not lost any of their rigidity or performance, so whilst the team building a new boat will have ‘no excuses’ from a mental perspective perhaps, there will be no real advantage in physical terms."

An extensive refit process is currently underway on the original Volvo Ocean 65s. That process is designed to ensure that the components make another 45,000 nautical miles around the world, but also includes significant upgrades in communication equipment, safety, energy generation, and performance electronics as well as new designs of sails which will level the playing field again to some extent.

The Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante in October 2017 and finishes in The Hague over eight months later, taking in a total of 11 landmark cities.




10-17-2016, 09:36 AM

ALICANTE, Spain – The Fastnet Race, one of the most revered and feared tests in sailing, and a new Lisbon-Alicante Prologue will both feature in an intense period of pre-race qualifying for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 – serving as a first clash of the fleet while providing an early form guide for the fans.

In the sixth of a series of 10 major announcements in 10 days, Race Management outlined a number of mandatory qualifiers before the start in Alicante, Spain, in October 2017 – including provisionally a transatlantic test for all the fleet in June or July.

In August, the fleet will assemble for Cowes Week in the Isle of Wight, UK for ‘Leg Zero’, which will include the 600-mile Fastnet Race.

The Rolex Fastnet Race – always unpredictable – will take the teams from Cowes, through the English Channel, around Land’s End and out into the Celtic Sea. After rounding Fastnet Rock off the southwest coast of Ireland, they race on from Plymouth. The boats will then race from Plymouth to Lisbon, Portugal to complete Leg Zero.

Teams will then tackle a brand new Prologue race from Lisbon to Alicante, where they will remain until the start of the 2017-18 edition.

France’s Charles Caudrelier, who skippered Dongfeng Race Team in 2014-15, commented: “You train for months, alone, and so it’s good to be able to do more racing as a team before the start. It’s very different, racing under pressure, than training, and good for boat testing.”

“I’ve done a few Fastnet Races, some were windy and some were light. It’s a nice course, very fun and interesting to sail around the coast, with the effect of the currents. It’s a good test and a very dynamic race, with interesting weather.”


He continued: “In two or three days, you have a lot of decision-making to do, so it’s good to test not just everyone’s speed but also taking decisions quickly under pressure.

“And of course, you get to see which teams are stronger.”

Many Volvo Ocean Race teams have used the Fastnet Race as part of their preparations but it has never before been a mandatory qualifier.

The maxi yacht Drum, preparing for the 1985-86 race, famously capsized during the Fastnet and pop star Simon Le Bon was among the crew who had to be rescued by the Royal Navy.

Richard Mason, four-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran and now Operations Director for the Race, said: “It’s super important to be doing these miles, at the right time of year.

“It’ll provide some awesome hours on the water for the teams, and that’s where they’ll learn the most – getting out there in the middle of the ocean, and getting amongst those weather systems, in a race that no sailor would dare take on lightly.”

He continued: “The Fastnet Race is on the bucket list of every ocean racer in the world. It’s famous for being very tricky and coastal. You can have no wind, you can have enormous amounts of breeze, and vicious seas, out near Fastnet Rock, it’s navigationally and tactically challenging, you don’t get much sleep. It’s the perfect race – an amazing thing to be a part of.”

The seven existing Volvo Ocean 65s are currently undergoing a stringent re-fit process at the race’s Boatyard facility in Lisbon, Portugal, and an eighth boat is currently being built.

The Race will start in Alicante in October 2017 and finish eight months later in The Hague in summer 2018, visiting a total of 11 landmark cities.

Last week, the Volvo Ocean Race made key announcements on crew rules regarding women sailors, a new crew communicator that will allow the athletes to send social media updates from the oceans, the building of an eighth Volvo Ocean 65 to join the existing fleet, the introduction of bespoke new premium team bases to enhance the pit lane experience in the Race Villages and the use of M32 catamarans to increase the amount of guest sailing at each stopover.

The Race will make four further announcements this week.

10-18-2016, 11:47 AM

ALICANTE, Spain – The Volvo Ocean Race is revolutionising the scoring system for 2017-18 to encourage strategic risk-taking from the teams and give extra reward for strong performances in the two Southern Ocean legs and the final ocean leg of the race, across the North Atlantic from Newport to Cardiff.

The seventh in a series of 10 announcements from the Race in 10 days is designed to open up the competition in an era of incredibly close One Design racing and give an incentive for teams to gamble more often to split the fleet. The new rules state:

- Scoring will change to a high-point system
- The two Southern Ocean legs – from Cape Town to Hong Kong, and Auckland to Itajaí, plus the North Atlantic leg near the end of the race, Newport to Cardiff – will all score double points
- The winner of each and every leg will score one bonus point (10 for a win, 8 for second, 7 for third, etc)
- There will be a bonus point for the first team to round Cape Horn in a nod to the mythical significance of this turning point in the race
- A further bonus point will be awarded for the team with the best total elapsed time overall in the race
- The In-Port Series will remain the tiebreaker should teams, as in the last edition, be tied on points at the finish in The Hague.


The new scoring system is the first confirmed change in a series of options being considered by Race HQ.

“One of the most fantastic things about the move to One Design in 2014-15 was that we had extraordinarily close racing all the way around the world – but there was also a bit of a ‘sheep’ mentality, with no-one really wanting to break from the fleet for fear of being left behind, and instead just wanting to play the averages” explained Mark Turner, Race CEO.

“We need to do something to encourage that strategic risk-taking. We’re amending the points system, but we’re also considering things like blackouts in terms of positions, so teams can go into ‘stealth’ mode, and in terms of weather data provided, so that navigators need to use more of their own judgement at certain times”

Charles Caudrelier, who skippered Dongfeng Race Team in 2014-15, commented: “I think these bonus points could be interesting. It’s good to have a bonus point for rounding Cape Horn first, as sometimes you lead part of the leg and fall back because the end of the race is in a light spot, and you don’t deserve that.

“Stealth mode could be interesting, and the weather blackout is something we’ve done in other races. Yes, maybe, it could be good if they choose an important moment to stop the forecast, but I don’t really think it will change a lot.”

As in the 2014-15 edition, In-Port Races will be scored as a separate series and used to break any ties in the final table.

The race begins in Alicante in October 2017 and will take the teams 45,000nm around the planet, including three times more Southern Ocean miles than in the last edition, on their way to the finish in The Hague eight months later.

Last week, the Volvo Ocean Race made key announcements on crew rules regarding women sailors, a new communicator that will allow the athletes to send social media updates from the oceans, the building of an eighth Volvo Ocean 65 to join the existing fleet, the introduction of bespoke new premium team bases to enhance the pit lane experience in the Race Villages and the use of M32 catamarans to increase the amount of guest sailing at each stopover.

10-20-2016, 09:20 AM

ALICANTE, Spain - The Volvo Ocean Race is reinventing its unique Onboard Reporter programme in order to tell more of the raw story than ever before – with the Race creating a squad of multimedia reporters able to work across the fleet instead of necessarily being permanently attached to individual teams.

- Fourth iteration of Onboard Reporter (OBR) programme introduces most radical change yet;
- Volvo Ocean Race will employ pool of OBRs able to work across the fleet, which as a consequence means this has been able to be started already (rather than waiting for teams to sort at much later date);
- OBRs will still be matched to the needs of each team’s sponsors, in terms of language, culture and objectives;
- Move is ninth in series of 10 announcements in 10 days.

In the penultimate announcement in 10 days regarding the 2017-18 race, the team of 10-12 Onboard Reporters will be more fluid and flexible, potentially being able to embed within teams on a leg-by-leg basis instead of signing on with one team for the whole race as before – and avoiding also the very late appointments by many of the teams in the last edition, which compromised the technical abilities of the OBRs in some cases.

“We’re putting the emphasis firmly on the Reporting side of the OBR’s role, and we are already up and running with the trialing and training as a result of being able to move forward now. The quality of OBR we believe we can acquire by doing this will also help in what of course is a difficult task of balancing integrity and acquiring sufficient trust of the sailors – like a war reporter jumping in the front line with the soldiers. We actually experienced, for unfortunate reasons in fact, having more than one style of OBR in the last race onboard Dongfeng and it worked very well,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner.

“Having dedicated reporters onboard the boats, embedded in the action, was a groundbreaking step when it was first introduced back in the 2008-09 edition – and now it’s time for the next evolution. Their only job is to tell the team’s own story in as raw a way as possible, to share what remains just a small slice of the incredible journey of the team onboard. We probably still only share 5% today – if we could get to 15% that would be great, and we would not be digging too far into certain sensitive content that should still stay on the boat.

“It’s another part of our commitment to share just a little bit more of the raw and direct story of the teams, and faster than ever before – whilst of course being sensitive to the personal stories onboard. Just like in any professional sport today, this balance is important.”

According to Volvo Ocean Race’s Head of TV, Leon Sefton, this is a fundamental shift in the way that content is gathered onboard.

“It’s true that the OBRs will not be able to create the sort of long term bond with their teams that they may have done in previous editions, and we could lose some of the storytelling opportunities that are provided by that kind of relationship,” he explained.

“But we believe that the ability to rotate the OBRs this way will provide a crucial distance between the teams and the OBRs that will better enable them to properly perform the role of observational journalist.”

He added: “We’ve already begun the process of trialing and training OBRs, and by the start of the Race, we’ll have a pool of top storytellers across the fleet.”

“Of course, this news doesn’t mean that we will rotate all Onboard Reporters, every single leg – if there’s a particularly interesting story or relationship on a particular boat then of course it would make sense to let it play out for multiple legs – but this added flexibility gives us the opportunity to shake things up if we feel it’s necessary.”

No OBR will be on the race unless their basic safety and ability to survive onboard the Volvo Ocean 65s has been well tested pre-race and signed off by at least two skippers. The ambition is in fact for the whole pool of OBRs to actually train on any of the boats to which they might be assigned during the race itself.

Teams have been capturing footage since the first edition of the race in 1973-74 – but originally crew members would take turns to perform reporter duties, using 16mm film cameras and homemade water housings.

Full-time Media Crew Members were added to each team in 2008-09 as dedicated story-gatherers, and the role was renamed as Onboard Reporter for the 2014-15 edition.

The news of the changes follows a prominent campaign to recruit the next reporters to the storytelling squad, which closed in September.

“We’ve raised the bar in terms of our search for the next generation of Onboard Reporters ahead of 2017-18,” added Turner.

“We’ve received applications from 126 countries and the quality is incredible, with experienced media professionals including war reporters, adventure and nature documentary makers and digital broadcast journalists.”

The Volvo Ocean 65 racing boats are effectively mobile digital production facilities, operating with state-of-the-art satellite hardware and services supplied by Cobham SATCOM and Inmarsat.

As part of a refit process currently underway at the Race’s Boatyard facility in Lisbon, all Volvo Ocean 65s are gaining two new fixed camera angles, taking the total to six positions across the boat.

Each Onboard Reporter has additional access to night vision and action cameras, while drone and 360-degree cameras will also be in regular use across the fleet.

“We were the first to use drones from the oceans as part of our storytelling in 2014-15, and led the way with 360-degree footage offshore, as well as streaming live during the Cape Horn rounding,” said Sefton. “We’re going to continue innovating across the OBR programme.

“Thanks to our partners we have the ability to go live from anywhere on the planet, at any time, and the OBRs work around the clock to capture and transmit the real story from the boats.

“As soon as it’s sent, you’ll see it."

Last week, the Volvo Ocean Race made key announcements on crew rules regarding women sailors, a new communicator that will allow the athletes to send social media updates from the oceans, the building of an eighth Volvo Ocean 65 to join the existing fleet, the introduction of bespoke new premium team bases to enhance the pit lane experience in the Race Villages and the use of M32 catamarans to increase the amount of guest sailing at each stopover.

Monday’s news was about an intense period of pre-race qualification sailing that includes the Rolex Fastnet Race, and on Tuesday, Race Management announced changes to the scoring system to encourage strategic risk-taking. Yesterday, the Race revealed that all boats will be fitted with a hydropower generator to provide backup energy in 2017-18. There will be one further announcements tomorrow.

11-07-2016, 09:34 AM

China is back in the Volvo Ocean Race as Dongfeng announce return in 2017-18 with Charles Caudrelier as skipper

Dongfeng announced the partnership alongside Charles Caudrelier, Team Director Bruno Dubois and Volvo Ocean Race Managing Director Antonio Bolaños, at a news conference in Wuhan

WUHAN, China – China’s Dongfeng Race Team will build on the all-round success of their Volvo Ocean Race debut and return in 2017-18 for a second successive campaign under French skipper Charles Caudrelier, the team announced on Monday.

The team will be 100% backed by Dongfeng Motor Corporation, the Chinese motor manufacturer headquartered in the Hubei province city of Wuhan, and the target will be to improve on an already strong performance in 2014-15, when they exceeded expectations by finishing third overall.

Dongfeng announced the partnership alongside Charles Caudrelier, Team Director Bruno Dubois and Volvo Ocean Race Managing Director Antonio Bolaños, at a news conference in Wuhan.

Yang Qing, the vice president of the Dongfeng Motor Corporation, said the company was proud to be back in the Volvo Ocean Race: “The Volvo Ocean Race is the premier offshore sailing race in the world and has attracted China’s attention. More and more media and public now know of the race through the challenge by Dongfeng Race Team, with the support of Dongfeng, in the 2014-15 edition. There is no doubt that Dongfeng Race Team made history and multiple Chinese sailors are part of that story.

“Not only did Dongfeng Race Team succeed in marketing the Chinese motor brand to a growing global customer base, but the team also promoted Chinese culture through the Volvo Ocean Race. Dongfeng Motor Corporation is dedicated to support the Chinese team again with the leadership of skipper Charles Caudrelier and to once more challenge the offshore sailing fraternity and establish an effective communication channel about the sport of sailing between China and the world,” he concluded.

Caudrelier’s team are the second confirmed entry in the race, which will start on October 22 next year and take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world in one of the toughest routes in the race’s 43-year history. Team AkzoNobel, skippered by Simeon Tienpont, were the first team to announce.

Dongfeng Race Team will once again represent China, racing under the Chinese flag and will continue to have the interests of Chinese sailing at heart.

Charles Caudrelier and a team that featured four Chinese sailors over the course of the race, defied expectations to secure third place overall in 2014-15.

Success on the water, plus an open and innovative approach to storytelling, provided a major boost to the Dongfeng brand, particularly outside China, while giving the team the highest measured media value from the race.

This time the sponsorship has been elevated from Dongfeng Trucks (DFCV) to the Dongfeng Motor Corporation, a sign of the commercial success of the campaign last time. Dongfeng Motor Corporation is the Chinese motor industry leader. In the 2016 ‘FortuneChina’ top 500 leaderboard, Dongfeng Motor Corporation was ranked 81st with revenue of US $82.817 billion, and ranked 16th amongst Chinese businesses.

Heading into 2017-18, the goal will be to win, said Caudrelier, who tasted victory himself with Groupama in 2011-12.

The 42-year-old Frenchman is delighted to be representing China again: “For sure I am very happy because I have learnt about China and its people and I really enjoy working with them,” he said. “I am very happy to see Dongfeng coming back. It is great for us to see a sponsor returning who feels happy about sailing and is happy to get involved again.

“With this announcement the team is in the ‘starting blocks’ early and that will give us an advantage to find the best crew and to train as much as possible. But this is not an easy task – the next edition of the race is the longest and hardest yet with three times as much Southern Ocean racing to do.

“In the last race the Chinese sailors, who had almost no offshore sailing experience, joined the squad and performed beyond expectations alongside our professional international crew. Together we showed what we could do, how we could overcome adversity and be an even stronger, united team at the end.”

This second Dongfeng Race Team project follows Team Sanya (2011-12) and Green Dragon (2008-09) as the Volvo Ocean Race’s fourth Chinese entry. Green Dragon was a joint-entry with Ireland.

“It’s fantastic news to have Dongfeng come back as a sponsor for a second consecutive edition – and fantastic news for sailing in China, to be able to build on the legacy that the first Dongfeng Race Team project created,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner, who, before taking the reins of the event in June 2016, oversaw the Dongfeng Race Team project.

“It’s really pleasing to see a Chinese sponsor which was new to sports sponsorship, coming back a second time based on the strength of the success of the first campaign, both on the media side and the Business to Business side. It’s a very big vote of confidence in the race, not just for other Chinese brands, but for many companies around the world who are looking for a platform to help them transform their business, internally or externally or both.

He continued: “Charles Caudrelier over-delivered in the last edition with a crew that on paper were less experienced than some of the other teams. It’s great that he is coming back as skipper. I think he will use the experience of the last race to build a great team.”

The seven One Design Volvo Ocean 65s from last edition are currently undergoing a stringent re-fit procedure at the Race’s Boatyard facility in Lisbon, Portugal – and an identical eighth boat is also currently built by Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy.

It has previously been announced that the next race will feature two Southeast Asian stops, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. It will be the fourth consecutive edition that the Race has stopped in China.

In total, the Race will visit 11 cities in five continents, starting in Alicante and taking in Lisbon, Cape Town, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg before the finish in The Hague.

01-26-2017, 05:38 PM
Volvo Ocean Race announces Melbourne, Australia as extra stop and confirms all 2017-18 race dates

The Volvo Ocean Race will give sports fans an extra Christmas present in 2017 after adding Melbourne to the route for the forthcoming edition starting in October


MELBOURNE, Jan 27 – The Volvo Ocean Race will give sports fans an extra Christmas present in 2017 after adding Melbourne to the route for the forthcoming edition starting in October.

The change to the 2017-18 route, announced on Friday morning in Melbourne, means the Race will visit Australia for the eighth time – but for the first in more than a decade.

With what will be a compressed stopover, Melbourne fits between Cape Town and Hong Kong, and completes a 45,000-nautical mile route that will see the teams cover three times as many miles in the Southern Ocean as in previous editions.

Cape Town to Melbourne will now make up Leg 3 of the race – a double-point scoring, 6,300-nautical mile leg. Melbourne will host a week-long stopover, but no In-Port Race, before the fleet leaves on Leg 4 to Hong Kong.

According to projections, the one-design Volvo Ocean 65 fleet will arrive around Christmas Day – meaning an extra reason to celebrate in the state capital of Victoria.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events John Eren commented: “The Volvo Ocean Race is another chance for Victorians to see some of the world’s best sailing teams in action. Major events are fantastic for the entire visitor economy – they keep our restaurants and hotels full and our shopping precincts bustling.


He concluded: “The Victorian Government is proud to work with a range of dedicated partners to support this stand out sailing event.”

Australia’s history with the Volvo Ocean Race goes all the way back to the first edition in 1973-74 and, in total, Australia has hosted the race seven times. The race first came to Melbourne in 2005-06 and now returns for a second time.

“We’re delighted to be visiting Melbourne again – a vibrant city of sport and culture with a strong maritime heritage,” said Volvo Ocean Race COO, Richard Mason.

“Having been born in Australia myself, I couldn’t be more excited to see the race head Down Under, and I know that sailing fans across the nation will be full of excitement to see the boats and sailors for themselves.”


The full route now features a total of 10 legs taking in 12 landmark Host Cities on six continents.

The teams will leave Alicante, Spain on 22 October and race on to Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne and Hong Kong before a non-scoring transition to Guangzhou in China.

After a stopover in Guangzhou that will include a race in the In-Port Series, the ocean legs will resume with a leg to Auckland before stopping in Itajaí, Brazil, Newport, Rhode Island, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before the big finish in the Dutch city of The Hague.

The two Southern Ocean legs – from Cape Town to Melbourne, and Auckland to Itajaí – plus the North Atlantic leg near the end of the race, Newport to Cardiff – will all score double points. The longest leg of the 45,000-nautical mile lap of the planet will now be the 7,600-nautical mile leg from Auckland to Itajaí.

The Volvo Ocean Race recently announced a series of major changes to the rules of the 43-year-old classic adventure, including a major incentive for teams to compete with mixed male-female crews.

The addition of the Melbourne stopover means the race has locked in dates across the whole 2017-18 route. The key dates are as follows:


Race Village opens – 11 October 2017

Alicante In-Port Race *– 14 October 2017

Leg 1 Start – 22 October 2017

- - - -


In-Port Race – 28 October 2017

Leg 2 Start – 5 November 2017

- - - -

Cape Town

In-Port Race – 8 December 2017

Leg 3 Start – 10 December 2017

- - - -


Leg 4 Start – 2 January 2018

- - - -

Hong Kong

In-Port Race – 27 January 2018

- - - -


In-Port Race – 4 February 2018

- - - -

Leg 5 Start – 7 February 2018

- - - -


In-Port Race – 10 March 2018

Leg 6 Start – 18 March 2018

- - - -


In-Port Race – 20 April 2018

Leg 7 Start – 22 April 2018

- - - -


In-Port Race – 19 May 2018

Leg 8 Start – 20 May 2018

- - - -


In-Port Race – 8 June 2018

Leg 9 Start – 10 June 2018

- - - -


In-Port Race – 17 June 2018

Leg 10 Start – 21 June 2018

- - - -

The Hague

In-Port Race – 30 June 2018

01-27-2017, 10:35 AM

Dongfeng Race Team become first team to take delivery of their newly-refitted Volvo Ocean 65

There are 268 days until the Volvo Ocean Race fleet departs Alicante ahead of a 45,000 nautical mile marathon through the most challenging oceans on the planet, and Dongfeng Race Team are set to make the most of that preparation time after becoming the first to take delivery of their newly-refitted Volvo Ocean 65 at The Boatyard in Lisbon today

There are 268 days until the Volvo Ocean Race fleet departs Alicante ahead of a 45,000 nautical mile marathon through the most challenging oceans on the planet, and Dongfeng Race Team are set to make the most of that preparation time after becoming the first to take delivery of their newly-refitted Volvo Ocean 65 at The Boatyard in Lisbon today.

The handover marks the formal beginning of the Chinese team’s second consecutive campaign, and holds extra special significance as it is exactly two years to the day since Charles Caudrelier and Dongfeng Race Team won their 2014-15 homecoming leg into Sanya.

Having been through a re-fit process worth around one million euros, the boat now features an eye-catching new colour scheme and branding, alongside a range of upgraded kit consisting of over 500 items across sails, deck gear, electronics and a new media and navigation station.

“For us, today is the largest milestone we’ve had so far in the re-fit period. It’s 15 weeks since Dongfeng gave the boat to us, and the deadline for returning it is today,” explains Neil Cox, Paint and Commissioning Manager at the Boatyard.


“We’ve had two days of sea trials which have gone well, and that’s the culmination of an enormous amount of work by 25 to 35 people, who have worked the last three and a half months putting in close to 3,500 man hours into the boat, covering everything from boat building, rigging, to electronics, and sails, to get it stripped and put it back together.”

He continues: “In addition to that, we’ve put an additional 2,500 man hours into painting and branding, which has pretty much seen every area of the boat – from the hull, deck, masts, keel, rudders and daggerboards – stripped, re-primed and brought back into new paint, so we’re giving back a product which looks like a brand new boat.”

And Dongfeng technical specialists were full of praise for the Boatyard team, who have given the boat a complete overhaul whilst under huge time pressure.

“We have our boat back and she is still the same one that we got to know last time,” said boat captain, Graham Tourell. “But really she is almost new with some innovative upgrades – everything has been either replaced or renewed and she looks stunning in her new livery.’

Dongfeng skipper Charles has been working for months to build his crew for a campaign which he hopes will see the team better their third place of 2014-15, and the handover of the boat is a landmark occasion, he says.

“Getting our hands on the boat today is another huge step for us. It marks the beginning of another adventure for our team and the moment that we start our training programme in earnest. In the next few weeks we will also be able to finalise our crew selection.”

Who will sail onboard Dongfeng is not yet confirmed, but the Frenchman revealed that his squad will once again feature a mixed Chinese and western crew and will take advantage of new rules designed to encourage female sailors to take part.

“We’re looking for people who are competitive, determined to succeed and committed to our cause,” said Caudrelier. “Competition for each slot on the boat is exceptionally tough but we are determined to take our time and make sure we have the right mix.”

With the main phase of boat preparation now completed the focus switches to Dongfeng Race Team’s on-the-water training and racing programme in the lead-up to the Volvo Ocean Race start from Alicante in Spain on 22 October.

The 2017-18 route will see the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet race more than three times as many Southern Ocean miles as in recent editions, visiting 12 landmark cities across approximately 45,000 nautical miles – including a first return to Melbourne, Australia in over a decade, as announced on Thursday – and Caudrelier can’t wait to test the boat against the toughest conditions on the planet.

“As a team, we’re relishing the new emphasis in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race on racing in the Southern Ocean and leg three is going to be one of the biggest challenges we will face,” he added.

01-31-2017, 10:20 AM

MAPFRE back for another Volvo Ocean Race challenge in 2017-18

MAPFRE will return to the Volvo Ocean Race for a second consecutive edition, as the third confirmed entry for sailing's toughest team event

ALICANTE, Spain – MAPFRE will be back on the start line for the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18, the Spanish team announced on Tuesday.

MAPFRE, backed by the Madrid-based global insurance company, are the third confirmed entry for sailing’s toughest team event, which starts from Alicante on Sunday, 22 October and will take the teams on a 45,000-nautical mile route around the world. Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel announced their campaigns last year.

In the last edition in 2014-15, MAPFRE won the leg into Auckland, New Zealand and grabbed three more podium finishes. Their return is testament to the success of the project both on the sporting and commercial side.


MAPFRE president Antonio Huertas said: “It’s an honour for MAPFRE to be on the start line again in one of the most demanding competitions in world sport. We really value being involved in a sailing competition around the world that represents the same values that define us as a company.

“Our experience in the last edition, with a great team of professionals, committed and determined to do well in this race, was very positive. Additionally, the Volvo Ocean Race will have stopovers in some of our main markets, such as Spain, Brazil and the United States, and we will therefore increase brand awareness of MAPFRE at an international level.”

Spain’s Pedro Campos will again oversee the MAPFRE project, with announcements on the skipper and crew to come in the near future.

Spanish boats have competed in eight of the previous 12 editions of the Volvo Ocean Race – formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race – but the country is still looking for a first win.

“It’s fantastic news to be able to confirm a Spanish team for the next edition, and of course great to see another sponsor return to the race after a successful campaign,” said Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner. “With Alicante recently confirmed as the start for the next three editions, and Spain having played a significant role in the history of the race in general, it will be great to see Spanish fans lined up again on the dock in October to cheer on their team, MAPFRE.”

Spanish sailor Campos has an unbroken history with the race dating back to the movistar campaign in 2005-06.

Pedro Campos, CEO of Team MAPFRE and of the last five Spanish projects in the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “We are very grateful and proud to have the full support of MAPFRE once again for the great adventure that is the Volvo Ocean Race, probably the longest, hardest, and most extreme event in the sports world. Just taking part in it, it’s a big goal for every team. To be on start line from Alicante with a chance to try to win – that is our first big challenge and our job for the next months.”

From the start in Alicante on 22 October, the teams will race their one-design Volvo Ocean 65s on a route that calls in at Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport (Rhode Island), Cardiff and Gothenburg before the finish in The Hague.

A recent rule change provides a major incentive for teams to include female sailors as part of the crew, while a series of further initiatives were announced last year to make the racing more open than ever.

02-03-2017, 10:54 AM

GOTHENBURG, Sweden – The Volvo Ocean Race will celebrate 45 years of history with a Legends Race on the final leg of the 2017-18 edition from Gothenburg to The Hague.

Any yacht to have featured in the Whitbread Round the World Race or Volvo Ocean Race, dating back to 1973-74, will be welcome to join the 2018 Legends Race. The race will be run over the same course, and around the same time, as the closing leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, which starts from Gothenburg on 21 June.

The announcement was made at the yacht racing seminar Meetingspot in Gothenburg and follows a hugely successful Legends Regatta that was held before the start of the 2011-12 race in Alicante and exhibitions at the both the Volvo Ocean Race Museum in Alicante and at the finish in Gothenburg in the last edition in 2014-15.


Among those participating at the seminar was Tracy Edwards MBE, who skippered the all-female Maiden team to two leg victories in their class in the 1989-90 race and is planning to reunite her crew and the boat for the 2018 race.


“Maiden was found in a sad state a few years ago in the Seychelles and since then I have been working very hard to get her back, restore her and get her back in her former glory again,” said Edwards.

“She will shortly be shipped back to the UK for a renovation program and our aim is the gather the original all-female crew from 1989-90 and compete in the new Legends Race 2018.”

The plan for the Legends Race is to include a Maxi class, a Volvo Ocean 60 class an Open class. Both Sweden and Holland have a proud history in the Volvo Ocean Race and a large number of fans who have followed the event through the years.


“The Legends Race will add a lot of excitement to the Stopover in Gothenburg because there are many fans in Sweden who are devoted to the history of the Volvo Ocean Race,” said Camilla Nyman, CEO of Gothenburg & Co, organisers of the stopover in Gothenburg. “We’ll be welcoming famous yachts and crews to the heart of Gothenburg and fans will get to see a lot of legendary yachts and familiar faces.”

Frank van der Peet, head of the team organising the finish of the race at The Hague, added: "Holland has a long and successful history with the Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race so we are very enthusiastic about welcoming these magnificent and historic race boats to The Hague.”

02-17-2017, 10:11 AM

Spain's Xabi Fernández to skipper MAPFRE in Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Spain's Olympic gold medallist Xabi Fernández will return to skipper MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18, the Spanish campaign announced on Friday, 17 February.

Spain’s Olympic gold medallist Xabi Fernández will return to skipper MAPFRE in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2017-18, the Spanish campaign announced on Friday, 17 February.

The 40-year-old Xabi, who has taken part in the Volvo Ocean Race four times, won Olympic gold in Athens 2004, and followed that up with a silver in 2008 – both times alongside his long-term sailing partner Iker Martínez.

The two men shared leadership duties during MAPFRE’s 2014-15 campaign but with Iker making the decision to focus on other professional projects, Xabi will take sole charge this time.

“The Volvo Ocean Race is an enormously difficult challenge combining human adventure, world-class sport, technical expertise, logistics on a global scale, and a unique communications platform,” said Xabi.

“Being fortunate enough to be back on the start line, with a chance to claim victory, is something that we are very proud of, and I’m thankful to MAPFRE for believing in a project that began back in 2014.”

Xabi will return to the Volvo Ocean Race after finishing his work for Sir Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup campaign, Land Rover BAR.

Xabi previously competed onboard movistar in 2005-06, Teléfonica Blue in 2008-09, and Teléfonica in 2011-12, before joining MAPFRE for the last edition.


“The short-term objectives are, firstly, to finish the work on the boat and take delivery from The Boatyard in Lisbon at the end of the month. Later, we will confirm the rest of the crew with training that begins in Sanxenxo in mid-March.”

He added: “We have eight months of hard work and optimisation ahead – not only in terms of the boat, but the performance of the team – so that we can depart Alicante on 22 October with a real possibility of winning.”

MAPFRE competed in the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time in 2014-15, continuing a long-standing tradition that has seen Spanish-flagged boats in eight of the previous 12 editions.

Antonio Huertas, President of MAPFRE, said: “Xabi is a fantastic skipper, who is committed to MAPFRE and shares our values. This addition is magnificent news for the campaign. We know that he will proudly carry the MAPFRE name around the world.”

Pedro Campos, general manager of the team, has been involved in every edition since 2005-06, and is delighted with the appointment. “There isn’t a sailor in the world that doesn’t respect Xabi’s talent, experience and determination,” he said.

“Last edition, he clearly demonstrated his ability to organise and lead, gaining success such as the Leg 4 victory into Auckland, New Zealand. Without doubt, Xabi is the best possible skipper for MAPFRE.”

The Volvo Ocean Race starts in Alicante on 22 October 2017 and will finish in The Hague at the end of June 2018. The Race will feature a total of 12 Host Cities and take the teams over 45,000 nautical miles around the world.

Three teams have so far announced their campaigns – Team AkzoNobel (skippered by Simeon Tienpont), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier) and MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández).

02-17-2017, 12:41 PM

With the deck of the new boat now firmly in place, The Boatyard's Nick Bice and Neil Cox visit the Persico Marine facility in Bergamo, Italy, to check out the progress on the eighth Volvo Ocean 65 in the fleet.

No, it's not the Batmobile – it's the latest addition to the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet, and guess what? It's nearly ready.
With just 248 days until the 2017-18 fleet leaves the Alicante dock for another epic circumnavigation of the planet, the newest member of the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet is coming along nicely.
Currently under construction at Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy, the eighth boat will take around 36,000 man hours to complete, and will weigh around 12,500 kilograms when it leaves the factory.
Nick Bice, Director of Boats and Maintenance, and Neil Cox, Paint and Commissioning Manager of The Boatyard, travelled from the race's state-of-the-art shared services facility in Lisbon, Portugal, to Italy, to check on the status of the new build.

03-06-2017, 01:15 PM

Southern Spars, the world’s leading carbon fibre spar manufacturer, will be the official supplier of the full rig package for the One Design Volvo Ocean 65 fleet for a second consecutive race, a move that strengthens the Auckland-based company’s historic ties with sailing’s toughest team challenge.

Southern Spars have been supplying spars to Volvo Ocean Race podium finishers since 1989-90 when Sir Peter Blake secured a commanding victory on Steinlager 2.

They will again supply the high modulus masts, high modulus racing box boom and a full EC6 bundled carbon fibre rod rigging package with deflected backstays for the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet.

The Volvo Ocean 65 masts measure 30.30m (99.4 ft) – about the same height as a 10-storey building. The mast is one of the most dynamic and complex components on a Volvo Ocean 65 as it transfers all of the power generated by the wind and sails to the boat.

Within one-design rules, all 10 rigs (for the eight Volvo Ocean 65s, plus two spares) must be identical in terms of dimensions, weight and stiffness. Southern Spars’ robust production processes guarantee this.


Nick Bice, Chief Technical Development Officer at the Volvo Ocean Race said: “We can 100% rely on Southern Spars for their delivery of the One Design masts and combined with their service support as the teams race around the planet, we are in the best hands possible.”

Southern Spars have made rigs for 38 Volvo Ocean Race teams over the years and there’s a good reason why they are the leaders in their field today.

Steve Wilson, Senior Designer at Southern Spars, explains: “Some of the materials we use here, like Thin Ply Technology (TPT), is exclusive to Southern Spars and that allowed us a lot of flexibility in the design, to strengthen the masts where they need to be stronger, lower the stresses and basically just make a safer product for the guys on the water.”

The rigs: a fact file

Within one-design rules, all rigs must be identical in terms of dimensions, weight and stiffness. The first 11 rigs to be bend-tested for the 2014-15 race showed a discrepancy of just 1.4mm across the board. The weight of the masts, as they were delivered to the boats, varied by just 1.35kg from heaviest to lightest – that’s a difference of 0.32%. The centre of gravities of the masts varied by just 0.2%.


The deck-stepped mast has a tube length of 28.4m and is built from High Modulus Carbon Fibre. It was designed in-house by Southern Spars using the DesMan and RigCalc software packages, integrated with the North Sails design software.The two companies have a long history of collaborating on masts and sails to achieve the ultimate above the deck package and this process produces the most integrated rig package possible, with the mast and sails performing in concert to produce the optimum shape and drive at all times.

Structurally, there are 202 pieces of Carbon Fibre pre-preg in each mast tube, with an additional 52 patches of structural reinforcement. Southern Spars’ manufacture process, which includes the use of accurately placed ultra-thin layers of carbon, allows designers to be extremely precise with the placement and orientation of fibre, leading to the lightest yet most structurally sound masts available.

The Volvo Ocean 65 sports a 7.68m racing box boom again built from high modulus carbon and weighing 68kgs. Its deep section provides maximum stiffness to weight efficiency and provides extra downwind sail area. With internal locks at the outboard end of the boom, reefing is made efficient for the crew to manage in strong winds.

The rigging consists of nine separate stays and is constructed from intermediate modulus carbon fibre, with main stays that have a 26-ton minimum break load. The ECsix carbon rigging is four times lighter than comparative nitronic steel rigging.

It has a multistrand construction based on a bundle of small rods for safety, durability, longevity and flexibility in the toughest conditions. ECsix cables are the most resilient rigging product on the planet. Their patented construction makes them immune to compression failures, crack propagation and highly resistant to impact and abrasion.

It has a multistrand construction based on a bundle of small rods for safety, durability, longevity and flexibility in the toughest conditions. ECsix cables are the most resilient rigging product on the planet. Their patented construction makes them immune to compression failures, crack propagation and highly resistant to impact and abrasion.

03-06-2017, 04:23 PM

Having clocked up over 80,000 miles sailing on a One Design Volvo Ocean 65 over the last three and a half years, it's fair to say that Liz Wardley knows this boat inside out. Probably better than anyone else on the planet.

Not content with completing the 2014-15 edition of the race onboard all-female campaign Team SCA, she now spends her days taking them apart, and then re-building them, as part of The Boatyard's extensive re-fit process...

Quite the CV. So with just 229 days until the start of the next edition, will we see this elite sailor and boat captain – with two Volvo Ocean Races under her belt – make a third lap of the planet? We caught up with Liz to find out about life after the Volvo Ocean Race, the re-fit challenge, and the future.
Liz – thanks for catching up with us. It seems like life is pretty busy for you right now! What have you been up to in the Boatyard?

After the last race, I decided pretty immediately that I wanted to do the race again. I didn’t necessarily want to be part of an all-female team again as I’d already done two campaigns, so I thought, if I’m going to stand a chance of getting on a guys team, or a mixed team, then I had to make myself super-skilled. I asked Nick Bice (Chief Technical Development Officer) if I could be part of the re-fit process, because I wanted to learn this boat inside out, in the hopes of making myself indispensable for the next race. I’ve always loved playing around with boats so it seemed like a natural fit. During the re-fit process, there are two of us boat captains, so we make sure that everything is ready at the right time as the boats go through the bays, and then when it comes to the commissioning phase we make everything come together and ensure that everyone is on schedule. Alongside that I’m working in the engineering department, which is really interesting in terms of the technical aspects which go into these boats.

Do you enjoy working in the Boatyard? It’s a really cool facility down there…

I’m primarily a sailor, but if I wasn’t doing that, then this would be pretty much my dream job. The team in Lisbon is really high-end, we have the best of each area in the world working here. It’s a very fun place to be. Everyone is super passionate about the Volvo Ocean Race and you don’t need a lot of motivation to get out of bed in the morning. We’re under a lot of pressure and the schedule is really tight, especially during the commissioning phase when teams start to arrive and breathe down your neck about getting things turned around. Everyone is super professional and we’re getting fine-tuned at it now. We’ve got the last boat in Bay 1 and we’ve got the second completed boat going in the water this week.

You’ve spent more time on the Volvo Ocean 65s than anyone else in the world. Any ideas how many hours you’ve now spent either onboard, or around, these boats?

Wow. That's a good question. I'm not sure on hours, but I can guess the miles. I joined SCA a year before the race, then sailed the race, and since then I've been doing deliveries, then sailing a Volvo Ocean 65 every day in Gothenburg at Volvo HQ where we clocked up over 4,000 miles in five months. Now, I'm around them every day – I'd say around 80,000 miles!


Have you learned anything you didn’t already know during the re-fit process?

Definitely. We all had a specific area to take responsibility for during the Team SCA campaign, and I was looking after the engineering side of things there. In my role as boat captain at the Boatyard, I’m involved in a little bit of everything, so I’m really broadening my horizons in terms of knowledge and skills around the boat. There were areas that I was responsible for during the 2014-15 race which I know a hell of a lot better now. It gives you a lot more confidence making decisions prior to a leg start.

Your main focus remains trying to get back in the race as a sailor – how is that going?

I’m in a good position being on the inside of things – as the rumours build I am contacting different people to see if there are any opportunities. I did a bit of sailing with one of the teams, but that wasn’t a trial, it was just a delivery. I’ve had a few replies saying it’s all dependant on budget, or key markets, so there have been some mixed responses, but nothing overwhelmingly positive as yet.

That must be tough – is it tough to keep positive?

I definitely haven’t lost faith. I’m living, breathing and working everything Volvo Ocean Race, so I have a very big will and drive to do the race. Make no mistake, I love my job in the Boatyard, but I want to be on that start line in October.

What would your message be to potential teams looking for a female sailor?

I think it would be pretty easy to lose hope, but I haven’t. I’m not just sitting here living in hope and waiting for a call, I’m working as hard as I can to be in the right place at the right time. I know that even though I’ve spent a lot of time on the boat and know it inside out, I’m not as experienced in offshore sailing as some of the guys who might be getting picked up. There are tons of awesome female sailors out there, but you’ve also got to fit the profile of what people are looking for.


How does the transition from boat captain to sailor work? At what point do you need to make the mental and physical switch to compete in the race – is there a cut-off?

I haven’t stopped training since the last race. I’ve been lucky that my schedule has involved sailing a lot on these boats, and also a lot of physical work. I have a degree in Physical Training, so I know what to do to keep myself in check. I’m actually training more now than I was on the lead up to the last race with Team SCA. Our personal trainer from the SCA campaign, Santi, actually helped me through my Physical Training course, so we’ve been in touch a lot, and, given the benchmark training we were doing prior to the 2014-15 start, I’m at the same level. I think the fitness is slightly down, but the strength is up, so I’m confident that I could integrate into a mixed team pretty easily.

Has been involved in the Boatyard opened your eyes to the scale and quality of what they do?

I feel that the Boatyard was massively underestimated last race. Everything from the planning, to the prep, to actually pulling it off, is pretty impressive. I definitely think we were a bit sheltered as sailors during the last race. I hadn’t seen it all in action before I got there – and I think that anyone who walks through the facility and sees how everything is going on would be seriously impressed. If anyone has any kind of concerns or issues putting their trust in the Boatyard, they can rest easy. It’s a very smooth process.

Talk us through the strict adherence to the one-design rules, it’s quite an in-depth process with very small margins, isn’t it?

Between the boats coming into the shed and getting completely stripped, from what we call Bay 1, to the point where they’re re-weighed just before branding, every single item is taken off the boat, right down to the washers, so that when the boat goes back in the water you know exactly what’s the same. We took off 600-odd items, and had a 10-page scope of work listing all the different details, complete with photos and illustrations. We weigh the boats under a very strict protocol prior to their branding, and they’re closer than they were after coming out of construction.

During the race, several Team SCA sailors mentioned that sometimes you just lacked a little experience and it would have been nice to have someone to tell you whether to push a bit harder, or ease off. Have you learned any life hacks or shortcuts around the boat during this process?

I definitely have found little things popping up. We’ve done a lot of deliveries and tried new things, which is really helpful. Sometimes you think, why didn’t we try this earlier? You never stop learning, even in one-design boats.


03-08-2017, 06:31 PM
8 March 2017

Team AkzoNobel to race brand new Volvo Ocean 65 in Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

ALICANTE, Spain, March 8 – Team AkzoNobel will compete in the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in a brand new boat.


ALICANTE, Spain, March 8 – Team AkzoNobel will compete in the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in a brand new boat.

Team AkzoNobel, led by Dutch skipper Simeon Tienpont, will tackle sailing’s toughest team test in the new Volvo Ocean 65 currently being constructed at Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy.

The boat, scheduled for completion in May, is identical to the current one-design fleet of seven Volvo Ocean 65s which competed in the 2014-15 edition.

Tienpont, who made the team’s milestone announcement on Wednesday at the HISWA Amsterdam Boatshow, said: “Team AkzoNobel is a brand-new team being built from the ground up – so a brand-new boat feels right.

“Every new boat is exciting, but this one is something special. It doesn’t seem very long since I started planning out this campaign on my kitchen table at home, so it’s a great feeling to now see our boat coming to fruition.”

Explaining the motivation behind the decision to commission the build of the new boat, he said: “Our goal is to be the best prepared team on the start line in Alicante, so, our first choice was always to have a new boat built.


“If you have that option, it’s a no-brainer decision to make when you are racing around the world.”

And Tienpont, a double-America’s Cup winner who has twice raced the Volvo Ocean Race before, onboard ABN Amro Two in 2005-06 and Team Vestas Wind in 2014-15, admitted to having butterflies in his stomach when he first laid eyes on the new boat.

“My wife thinks it’s crazy but I always have a special bond with the boats that I race,” he confessed. “Just like some people bond with the horse that they ride or their pet dog, I relate emotionally to the boat that I race.”


The existing fleet is currently undergoing a one-million-euros-per-boat re-fit procedure at The Boatyard in Lisbon, Portugal.

The new boat, which has been constructed using the same materials and moulds as the rest of the fleet, will shortly be transported to Lisbon, where it will undergo rigorous testing to ensure it adheres to the strict one-design criteria.

“We have a christening ceremony planned in the Netherlands for the summer,” Tienpont said. “Bringing our boat home for the first time will be an exciting moment and an opportunity for our Dutch supporters to see it.

“The Volvo Ocean Race is hugely popular in the Netherlands. In the same way that the French public loves the Vendée Globe, the Dutch are crazy about the Volvo Ocean Race. As a Dutchman, I’m immensely proud to be skippering a Dutch Volvo Ocean Race campaign.”

Nick Bice, Chief Technical Development Officer at the Volvo Ocean Race, has overseen the re-fit process of the existing Volvo Ocean 65s, and is delighted to see an extra boat joining the fleet.

“It’s hugely exciting to expand the fleet ahead of the next edition,” he said. “Team AkzoNobel signed up early in the cycle, so they had time to build a new boat, and it will be a great benefit to them in terms of their brand fit.”

He added: “The new boat will be identical to the existing fleet in every regard. All of the Volvo Ocean 65s were built to race in at least two editions, and the seven that finished the 2014-15 edition are in fantastic condition.

“You won’t be able to tell the difference between the brand new boat, and one of the old ones,” he added. “And there is no reason why an existing boat, sailed properly, cannot win the next Volvo Ocean Race.”

The Volvo Ocean Race starts from Alicante on 22 October 2017 and finishes in The Hague in the summer of 2018. The teams will complete a course of around 45,000 nautical miles, visiting a total of 12 Host Cities around the world.

03-16-2017, 09:26 AM
Top female sailors Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou join Dongfeng Race Team for Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

Dongfeng Race Team have selected Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou for their Volvo Ocean Race campaign in 2017-18 – a move that confirms the impact of a rule change introduced by the race to encourage mixed male-female crews


Dongfeng Race Team have selected Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou for their Volvo Ocean Race campaign in 2017-18 – a move that confirms the impact of a rule change introduced by the race to encourage mixed male-female crews.

The two women bring a wealth of experience to Charles Caudrelier’s team, including a total of five Olympic Games and a host of world titles. They join Jérémie Beyou, Stu Bannatyne and Daryl Wislang, who were announced last week as the first of the campaign’s crew for 2017-18.

Brouwer, 43, is one of the Netherlands’ most respected athletes and a two-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran, having competed with Amer Sports Too in 2001-02 and Team SCA in 2014-15. She is also a former World Sailor of the Year and a three-time Olympian.

She is joined by France’s Riou, 35, who has competed twice at the Olympics, including Rio 2016, and has won four world championships in the Nacra 17 class.

The pair have been selected following an extensive programme of evaluation which included sailing and racing, both inshore and offshore, in Australia and Portugal.

Caudrelier, who will skipper Dongfeng again after securing third place in 2014-15, is delighted with the addition of what he describes as two exceptionally gifted female sailors.

“I chose Carolijn because she beat us many times during the last race when she helmed Team SCA in the In-Port Races,” he explained. “We all knew that she is a good helm and she has a big Olympic past and I really respect that. But her Olympic campaigns have turned her into a very fast driver and she knows where to put the boat.”

He added that Riou’s years of Olympic racing and training would be of great benefit to his squad.

“She is a very good Olympic sailor with tons of experience. She is also from Brittany so she has a background in offshore sailing. She is strong, she has a good spirit – which is the most important thing for me – and she is used to sailing with guys. For her, the Volvo Ocean Race is a dream and, like Carolijn, Marie wants to win.”

The selection of Brouwer and Riou is the first sign that the rule change, brought in by the Volvo Ocean Race in order to encourage female sailors who might otherwise be overlooked due to a perceived lack of physical strength or experience, will have a significant impact across the sport.

Under the new crew rules, all-male teams will be limited to just seven sailors but teams that include female sailors will be able to choose from combinations including seven men plus one or two women; five men plus five women; or 11 women.

Brouwer says that winning the Volvo Ocean Race has been a goal for many years, and she is delighted to be joining a Chinese team which she admired during the last race.

“I’m very proud to be part of the team,” Brouwer said. “One of the reasons I wanted to join Dongfeng Race Team is because of their strong team spirit. The Volvo Ocean Race is unique. It’s the ultimate challenge physically and mentally and, because you are in a team, you get the best out of each other.”

Riou will be making her debut in the race. “I’ve wanted to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race since I was 10 years old,” she said. “Although my main experience is in inshore racing, I have always wanted to race offshore and for me the Volvo Ocean Race is the pinnacle of fully-crewed offshore racing.”

The announcement of the remaining crew members of Dongfeng Race Team will be made in the coming weeks.

Dongfeng are one of three teams to have announced campaigns for the race so far, along with Team AkzoNobel (Netherlands) and MAPFRE (Spain). A fourth team is confirmed and will be announced in late March, with the others to come in the following weeks and months.

The race will start from Alicante on 22 October and visit Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport RI, Cardiff and Gothenburg, before the big finish in The Hague at the end of June.


Sailor: Carolijn Brouwer

Born: 25 July 1973

Place of birth: Leiden, Netherlands

Previous Volvo Ocean Races: 2

Achievements: three-time Olympian and multiple world champion


Sailor: Marie Riou

Born: 21 August 1981

Place of birth: Plougastel-Daoulas, France

Achievements: two-time Olympian and four-time world champion

03-21-2017, 09:02 AM
Vestas 11th Hour Racing launch Volvo Ocean Race campaign with sustainability message


Vestas are returning to the Volvo Ocean Race for a second consecutive edition, after launching their 2017-18 campaign in partnership with 11th Hour Racing at simultaneous events in Newport, Rhode Island and Aarhus – where it was also announced that the fleet will make a 'fly by' of the Danish city on the final leg

Vestas are returning to the Volvo Ocean Race for a second consecutive edition, after launching their 2017-18 campaign in partnership with 11th Hour Racing at simultaneous events in Newport, Rhode Island and Aarhus – where it was also announced that the fleet will make a ‘fly by’ of the Danish city on the final leg.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing will be led by the American duo of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill. The team are the fourth to announce for the upcoming edition, which begins on 22 October, and they will use the race to promote a sustainability message around the world.


Enright and Towill had their first Volvo Ocean Race experience as skipper and Team Director of Team Alvimedica in 2014-15.

“It’s an exciting time,” said Enright. “We’ve achieved a strong collective of sponsors, and the boat has now been refitted and branded in Lisbon, waiting for us to get over there and get it out on the water.

“We’re working hard on building a competitive team ahead of the race, and have a couple of transatlantic sailings lined up for April and May.”

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing campaign is a unique platform for Vestas to promote its vision, which is to be the global leader in sustainable energy solutions.

“The Volvo Ocean Race is a proven platform for Vestas and a unique strategic fit to promote our new vision and market-leading energy solutions in our key markets and engage with customers,” said Vestas President and CEO Anders Runevad.


It’s also an ideal fit for 11th Hour Racing, a programme of The Schmidt Family Foundation which establishes strategic partnerships within the sailing and marine communities to promote systemic change for the health of our marine environment.

“Our partnership with 11th Hour Racing sends a very strong signal with two leading players within sustainability combining forces to promote sustainable solutions within wind and water,” added Runevad.

Wendy Schmidt, 11th Hour Racing Co-Founder and President of The Schmidt Family Foundation, said: “Mark and Charlie have been serving as ambassadors for 11th Hour Racing for the past two years, having witnessed first hand during the last Volvo Ocean Race the many ways pollution and plastic debris are destroying ocean life and threatening all of us. Our partnership with Vestas is about inspiring positive change in the way we think about energy and the natural resources of the planet.”

Vestas competed in 2014-15 as Team Vestas Wind – running aground on Leg 2 and rebuilding the boat against all odds to make a landmark return in Lisbon at the start of Leg 8.

This is only the second time in the Race’s history, and the first since 1993-94, that three major team sponsors have returned for a second consecutive Race – with Vestas, Dongfeng and MAPFRE all back on the start line. Team AkzoNobel take the total number of confirmed teams to four with seven months still to go to the start of the race.

The Volvo Ocean Race also revealed that a mark of the course will ensure the fleet will sail close to Dokk1 in Aarhus on the final leg of the 2017-18 race between Gothenburg and The Hague – giving the people of the city a great view of the competing teams on their One Design Volvo Ocean 65s.

“The teams will be on their final leg after racing 45,000 miles and to round the mark off Aarhus will be a great challenge for the fleet, who I’m sure will receive a welcome boost from the Danish public,” said Mark Turner, Volvo Ocean Race CEO. “Denmark has a great history with this race already and today another chapter is written as Aarhus is added to the course.”

Twenty-five Danish sailors have competed in the race to date and two teams have raced under the Danish flag – SAS Baia Viking in 1985-86 and Team Vestas Wind in 2014-15. Vestas 11th Hour Racing will sail under Danish and American flags.

"This will be a great experience for visitors and citizens alike – and will bring wide international attention to Aarhus that will benefit the city's growth and development," said Aarhus Mayor Jacob Bundsgaard.

The teams will depart Alicante on 22 October and race 45,000 nautical miles around the world with stops at Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff and Gothenburg before the finish in The Hague.

The One Design concept has reduced the need for campaigns to announce as early as in previous editions and there is no reason why a campaign getting off the ground this summer can't go on and win the trophy.


03-30-2017, 05:12 PM
MAPFRE's boat dismasts during offshore testing in Spain
There are no injuries and the boat and team have returned to their base in Sanxenxo


MAPFRE's boat dismasted today during offshore testing in Spain.
The incident happened at 17:15hrs local time on*Thursday afternoon while the team was sailing about seven nautical miles SW of the island of Ons (Pontevedra) near their home base of Sanxenxo.


The conditions were around 25 knots of wind and four meter high waves. MAPFRE's mast broke below the first spreader.


We will have to analyse the data and the damaged parts in order to draw a conclusion
Pablo Arrarte

"There was a crash and then the rig started to fall to starboard," explained Pablo Arrarte, MAPFRE’s watch captain who was sailing as skipper of the boat during this period of testing.


"We were sailing on quite a comfortable reach with waves also from the same direction and so at the moment we do not know why it has broken. We will have to analyse the data and the damaged parts in order to draw a conclusion."
The crew have not suffered any injuries and after fully checking for any collateral damage to other parts of the boat it took around two hours of intense work to secure the boat and recover the broken parts of the mast and the sails.


The team's emergency protocol was activated immediately and for safety reasons, Salvamento Marítimo [Maritime Rescue] was notified. They monitored the Spanish team's Volvo Ocean 65 and when the crew had secured the boat the emergency services were duly informed that the crew were heading back to Sanxenxo under their own means.*

03-30-2017, 07:48 PM
Oh crap, there are only so many Volvo sticks to go around and west marine doesn't stock them.................

El Capitan
03-31-2017, 08:46 AM
I guess its better to test the sticks limits before the actual racing begins.

04-03-2017, 12:06 PM

MAPFRE will be back sailing in just over two weeks, with a new rig already on its way and the team eager to get back in training following the dismasting of their Volvo Ocean 65 on Thursday.

The crew have been meeting with Volvo Ocean Race's Chief Technical Development Officer, Nick Bice, and Head of the Boatyard, Neil Cox, in Sanxenxo to investigate the incident and make a plan to get the team back on the water as soon as possible.

That will be in remarkably quick time, with the new mast due to arrive in Lisbon as early as Thursday, 6 April. The boat should be relaunched by 14 April and the team should be sailing again by Monday, 17 April.

"We're keen to identify what exactly happened during the incident, and that process is ongoing, but the vibe around the team base is very positive," explained Bice. "The guys know that their next sailing session which was planned for the 17th is still scheduled."

The guys know that their next sailing session which was planned for the 17th is still scheduled

Nick Bice
Bice confirmed that the rigging had undergone stringent testing before leaving The Boatyard in Lisbon. "We conducted non-destructive testing on the mast, which was from last edition and had sailed approximately 70,000 miles, including taking an ultrasound of the mast to ensure no anomalies, and testing the rigging," he continued.

© Ugo Fonolla/MAPFRE/Volvo Ocean R

Timeline for MAPFRE's new rig:

Sunday 2 April – MAPFRE's boat delivered to Lisbon

Thursday 6/Friday 7 April – New rig arrives in Lisbon

Friday 14 April – New rig stepped/boat re-launched

Monday 17 April – MAPFRE begins sailing again

04-04-2017, 09:17 AM

It's time for our big reveal! How do you like the look of this VO65? It's almost time for Vestas 11th Hour Racing to start on-water training. We have a busy agenda leading up to leg start in Alicante in October. More from Mark and Charlie soon when they arrive in Lisbon in mid-April to set off on our first journey

Dutch Rudder
04-04-2017, 12:53 PM
Dont do to it what the previous team did!

04-06-2017, 09:41 AM

The French designer Guillaume Verdier was chosen to lead the design team for the boat that will be used for next year while the Italian shipyard Persian Marine was awarded the role of the main builder.

Doubt about choosing a monohull or multihull will be clarified in the coming weeks and will be part of a profound process of renewal of the race whose details will be announced on 18th of May in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, Volvo's headquarters.

As are the preparations and announcing other participating teams 2017/18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, the race organizers are working in parallel to define what will be the future of the event. The announcement came oggiAggiungi an appointment for today: the next edition, which is the fourteenth in the history of sailing round the world crew, will take on new one-design boats, which will be designed by French designer Guillaume Verdier and will be built by Italian shipyard Persico Marine, based in Nembro in the province of Bergamo.

Verdier has become part of the design of the Volvo Ocean Race Team and currently is dealing with the crucial question of whether the boat will be a monohull or a multihull. The final decision on the proposed projects will be announced on 18th of May in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, headquarters of Volvo, owners and sponsors of the regatta society.


Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner discusses the decision behind the new generation of one design boat, and the selection of Guillaume Verdier as lead designer.

Verdier is one of the designers of the most successful in the field of competitive sailing in recent years, from his drawing board come giant multihulls as Maxi Gitana Edmond de Rothschild, which will be launched in July, or the Team challenger boat New Zealand in the America's Cup , but also maxi monohull fast as the Comanche, and winning designs for the Vendée Globe, including the IMOCA 60 to foil such as Hugo Boss and Banque Populaire VIII.

The monohull or multihull option is just one of the key decisions to be taken in the coming weeks and will be announced on May 18 in Sweden. Of the choices that will constitute the most radical change in the event's history, founded in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World race.

"The fleet of boats used today were conceived in 2011 to be competitive for two editions." He explained the CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race Mark Turner. "We need to move forward and decide which boat to use in the future, keeping all options open on the design and type of boat. We are happy to work with a very talented designers such as Guillaume Verdier, which will add to the design group and complete the information that we think we have a larger team, composed of professionals and partners sailors. "

Nick Bice, the Chief Technical Officer of the regatta Development commented on the choice of the Italian shipyard Persian Marine as project leader in the construction of the new boat, instead of the system now in use for the Volvo Ocean 65 the consortium of construction sites. "The consortium has done an excellent job, building boats so similar, but this time we prefer to rely on a single site, which in turn certainly will entrust the task to other companies to build the boats on time and within budget. In recent years the Persian proved to be a very strong partner and we are delighted to be working again with the Italian company. "

Marcello Persico, manager of the homonymous shipyard based in Nembro in the province of Bergamo said he was happy that his company is involved in building the next generation of boats. "We have worked in close collaboration with the Volvo Ocean Race over the last eight years and we feel part of the family." He said. "I believe that the Persian Marine will provide excellent support and service to the Volvo Ocean Race when it enters the next phase of its history."

The decision to pursue the path of one-design boat, the Volvo Ocean 65, was taken to the Volvo Ocean Race 2014/15, one of the most hotly contested issues in the event's history. The next edition, which will start from Alicante October 22, 2017, will use the same boat, but were subjected to extensive renovation work and refit of the value of one million euro each, at the headquarters of the Boatyard Lisbon, Portugal. These boats are designed to be very fast but also reliable enough to take part in two editions of the round the world, at the highest level of competitiveness and monotype. In the fleet of seven boats built for the year 2014/15 it will add a new, but identical, commissioned by Team AkzoNobel.

The organizers of the Volvo Ocean Race have chosen Guillaume Verdier after contacting several yachts of high-level designers, including Farr Yacht Design, who gave birth at the time of the one-design with the design of the Volvo Ocean 65. The objective of Verdier sarà to guide the design team to create a fleet that would have exactly the same strict one-design features but also taking into account the evolution of the foiling technology, highly topical in today's sailing.

"We will use the different experiences that derive from events like the America's Cup, the oceangoing multihulls and monohulls IMOCA Open 60" explained the trans designer. "We will start from a blank page, and whatever the boat that will design, be it a monohull or multihull, we will learn a lot by working together. I think the sailors just want to have fun, they are attracted to a new way to navigate. In the Open 60, for example, we have done quite radical decisions, but also safe. And I think that this will be the key for the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race. "

Marcello Persico said the company was delighted to be building the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race boats.

“We’ve been working closely with the Volvo Ocean Race for the last eight years and we feel part of the family,” he said. “I believe that Persico Marine will deliver excellent support and service to the Volvo Ocean Race as it embarks on the next phase in its history.”

FTP: https://volvooceanrace.brickftp.com/f/171448ca6

Prince of Whales
04-06-2017, 10:28 AM
Mark seems to be leaning to foiling or multis if I am reading between the lines correctly!

IOR Geezer
04-06-2017, 11:07 AM
I would guess a foiling mono looking at the success Guillaume Verdier has had in that arena as of late.

Dirty Sanchez
04-06-2017, 09:46 PM
VOR 60's for sale cheap next May!

04-12-2017, 08:47 AM

Meet the man behind the next generation One Design

Guillaume Verdier is working on plans for the next generation Volvo Ocean Race One Design – and the final decision on monohull vs. multihull is now just weeks away...

Verdier and his team of designers will be working alongside a Volvo Ocean Race Advisory Board, featuring race veterans and team directors.

Hi Guillaume! Tell us a little bit about the team you’re putting together to lead the design of the next generation Volvo Ocean Race boat...

The group will be made up of my usual French team, plus some Kiwis. There’s around 16 of us in total, and we’re very used to working together. The thing that’s pretty unique about the way we work is that we’re rarely on site together. We’re also quite interchangeable in the way we work – we’re a group of specialists, but all of us are more or less capable of doing the full thing.

How important is it to get the input of Volvo Ocean Race sailors in the design process?

It’s super important, and we’re introducing some Volvo Ocean Race veterans into the design team really early on for that reason. You get a unique perspective from the sailors, as they explain to you all of their tricks, how they survive on board, and how they look to exploit the boat to the max. That’s important – after all, if you design a single-handed boat, for example, the way that it’s sailed is completely different to a fully-crewed boat. You have to make a judgement of the machine you design based on the capacity of the sailor to exploit it.

How do you balance the battle between speed and safety? And how much do you take a sailor’s daily life on board into the design process?

It’s important, for sure, and it will probably affect the width of the boat a little bit. We’ll make changes for ergonomic reasons to ensure that the sailors are – well, not comfortable – but at least surviving on board. For instance, the cockpit might be a little bit more protected than in previous generations. That little bit more shelter allows the sailors to maximise the potential of the boat.

We will make extra effort to keep the crews safe, as Volvo Ocean Race sailors have a reputation for pushing really, really hard. They’re relentless. In single-handed sailing, there’s a tendency for the sailors to be a bit more careful about their boats, but in a Volvo Ocean Race team, I think they push it harder than ever, which makes it more prone to breakages. We may have to consider downgrading the performance factor slightly in order to retain a certain level of security, which is a key aspect to bear in mind especially when you’re racing in the Southern Ocean.

I’ve got to check safety a bit more due to that. I’ll try to turn that into benefit, probably by making the boat stiffer, and I’ll try to transform the safety aspects into some interesting features. It’s about trying to see a ‘problem’ from another point of view.

The next generation of boat is part of a series of major announcements on 18 May which will take the Volvo Ocean Race into the next, exciting phase of its history. Do you feel a pressure or responsibility on your shoulders?

I feel pressure in that there is always huge risk in designing new boats. It’s a big challenge to design a machine that is extraordinary to sail but safe at the same time. It’s always a fine line, and at the end of the day, we always have pressure when we send someone to sea, racing around the world. But it’s a feeling that I’m used to. In the last Vendée Globe, I had 12 boats and you want to see everyone come back, so yes, in that way, there is pressure, and you feel it.

The sailing world is desperate to know whether we’re going to see a monohull or multihull design in the next race. What are you considering right now?

For sure, there are benefits to both designs. In Europe we have a lot of experience with offshore multihulls, and they’ve been proven to be durable. But there’s always a risk of capsizing, and the boats are always on the edge of safety, structure and performance, and that’s a big decision to make. But I must say, from a technical and design point of view, a multihull would be extremely interesting. We have the technology, but it’s never really been done yet in the way that we might do it.

Do you think that the Volvo Ocean Race has a monohull identity? In a recent fan poll, the popular vote was overwhelmingly for a monohull…

I don’t think so. I think actually that it doesn’t make that much difference – one hull, two hulls or three hulls, it doesn’t change the identity of the race. The object of the race is that a group of people race around the planet, fighting hard all the way. There are ups and downs – there are extreme periods and slow periods with no wind, and that’s the same in either a monohull or multihull. Whether the boat is a monohull or multi doesn’t change the identity of the Volvo Ocean Race for me, I think it’s all about the people that race it.

How about foils? Are you considering adding these to the next generation boat?

It’s a challenge because you’d have to explore the possibility of a foil that is capable of lifting you off the water, and to be able to sail with it over a long distance and many days and nights. It would also require a boat which is much stronger and stiffer. We know it’s doable, we know we have the technology, but it’s never really been done yet. The key with foil assistance in the Volvo Ocean Race is that we know that the sailors in this race would never retract them, whatever happens. Where the single-handed guys might slow down, they won’t – the Volvo Ocean Racers will never retract the foils. They’re much more relentless.

But it’s an illusion to think that an offshore boat can foil all the time. If we do make foil assistance, it would need to be able to be safe, and it’s important that the sailors can disengage the foil. You have to make a boat that’s good enough that even if you break the foil, or in case of an impact, lose the foil, you can always get back home safe. When you have the foil on, you have to show that the foil doesn’t harm you when going through bad weather. That’s no different on either monohull or multihull.

Persico Marine has been announced as the lead boatbuilder on the next generation of boats – have you worked with them before?

Yes, I’ve worked with Persico twice before. Once was with Team New Zealand, and Persico Marine built the sister boat of the AC72, so that’s when I first met them. The second time was a boat that did the Vendée Globe called ‘No Way Back’, which is the sister boat of the eventual winner, ‘Banque Populaire’. That boat is one of the most beautiful constructions I’ve seen. I really appreciate the work that Persico do, and they’ve built some beautiful machines, so I have no doubt about their capabilities.

Prince of Whales
04-12-2017, 09:11 AM
I dont think most crews could handle the idiosyncrasies of a multihull.

Might become a Frenchman's only event.

04-14-2017, 03:54 PM

Volvo 65 Mapfre's gets her new rig installed aget splashed in Lisbon earlier today!



Just 14 days since a dramatic dismasting, MAPFRE’s boat has been fitted with a new rig at the Boatyard in Lisbon – and is ready to go back in the water this weekend.

The Spanish team hit the headlines a fortnight ago after losing their rig during heavy weather on a training sail near their Sanxenxo base during the afternoon of March 29.

No crewmembers were injured – and the incident sparked a gigantic team effort to get the red boat back on the water before the team’s next scheduled sailing session in mid-April.



The new rig from Southern Spars arrived in Lisbon this week, and was stepped and fitted to the boat today by experts at the Boatyard to complete a remarkably quick turnaround.

“With the continued collaboration of both the MAPFRE and the team at The Boatyard, everyone in Lisbon put the necessary plans in place and made something that may have seemed impossible, possible,” explained Nick Bice. “With the stepping of the mast, launching of the boat and now sailing, it makes me very proud to be surrounded by such a great team.”



Mapfre’s appreciation was apparent as Antonio Cuervas Mons said:

“It's been a great job from the shore crew and The Boatyard team. Now we're setting the boat back up, we'll finish up everything and tomorrow we're ready to sail. We're really happy that just a week or so after breaking the mast the boat is ready again. We have to congratulate everyone involved.”

MAPFRE will go back in the water and sail up the Tagus River on Saturday 15 April, before setting off for the two-day trip back to Sanxenxo on Tuesday 18 April



Prince of Whales
04-19-2017, 11:32 AM
Did they decide on boat for next cycle yet?

04-20-2017, 08:35 AM

The core crew of Vesta's 11th Hour Racing departed Lisbon yesterday with a crew of hopefuls, headed to
Newport, Rhode Island, as part of their qualifying requirements and crew vetting exercise.

They may be the most recent team to announce, but Vestas 11th Hour Racing, led by Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, are wasting no time at all when it comes to on-the-water training.


photos © Amalia Infante

With their newly refitted boat and core team in place, Vestas 11th Hour Racing have set off on a transatlantic training leg from Lisbon, Portugal to Newport, Rhode Island. The east coast town of Newport is not only a Volvo Ocean Race Host City but also home to American sailors Charlie and the team’s co-title sponsor 11th Hour Racing.

“A lot of work has gone into this transatlantic crossing, so I’m pleased it’s finally time to leave,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “The Boatyard have done an incredible job with our Volvo Ocean 65 but it feels like it’s time to reclaim it and take it to do what it’s meant to do – race! We’re looking at a hard downwind crossing with cold weather but we’re so ready for this.”

Enright will lead the team alongside his close friend and Team Director Mark Towill. “Our boat looks fantastic and we’ve been dreaming about this day for a while,” said Towill. “The beauty of a transatlantic crossing is that it’s just long enough for you to be able to put a watch system in place and simulate a real 20+ day leg. We feel it’s a great way to kick start the campaign.”

Vestas 11th Hour Racing will be the first team of the 2017-18 line-up to go across the Atlantic and as they enter the next phase of the campaign it is all about testing, testing, testing.


“We will be using this to test potential crew members, and onboard we will have a mixed team,” said Enright. “We have a good core team in place but it’s constantly evolving and this is the perfect opportunity to get to know potential crew members. We have some incredible partners onboard with this campaign and now it’s time for us to make sure the crew we choose are the right fit for the project. Our main priority is winning this race whilst promoting renewable energy and sustainability and we need quality people who share the same goals.”

And with a newly refitted and rather stunning Volvo Ocean 65, fresh out of the shed it’s also about getting to know their boat.

“Another focus of ours during this crossing is to get to know the boats as much as possible. Charlie and I know a lot from the last race but it’s going to be so interesting to get out on the water and see the differences. I think some improvements will be obvious immediately and others less so… We’re really excited about this but I will just say that I still think everything will come down to the crew, this race will be won by the best team.”


05-17-2017, 10:21 AM

The fifth entry to the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race will sail under the name Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and will represent Hong Kong, it was announced today.

The campaign will be backed by Seng Huang Lee and Sun Hung Kai & Co., the Hong Kong-based owner of supermaxi yacht Scallywag, and aims to promote competitive sailing in Asia and build a long-lasting youth sailing legacy in the region. Hong Kong will be a Host City in the Volvo Ocean Race for the first time in the 2017-18 edition, starting in October.

"This campaign will showcase world class competitive offshore sailing in Hong Kong and China with the first time stopovers for the Volvo Race in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. I have every confidence that Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag will make Hong Kong proud," said Lee.

Mr Lee grew up in Sydney, Australia, a stone's throw from the start line of the iconic Sydney to Hobart Race – and it was watching the fleet leave every year for the start of the race that first got him hooked on sailing.

He purchased the 100-foot yacht Scallywag, previously known as Ragamuffin, in 2016, and the team has already set numerous speed records. The entry into the next edition of the Volvo Ocean Race is the next step in Mr Lee's long-term vision to build a strong sailing legacy in Asia, and see more Asian teams compete at international events.

The team, racing a Volvo Ocean 65, will be skippered by experienced Australian sailor David Witt, who returns to the Volvo Ocean Race following a 20-year absence, after competing in 1997-98 race onboard Innovation Kvaerner – the boat led by former Volvo Ocean Race CEO, Knut Frostad.

A veteran of the Sydney to Hobart Race, having competed the challenge over 20 times, Witt is regarded as one of the best heavy weather sailors in the sport, and is keen to retest his mettle in the Southern Ocean when the fleets heads south later this year.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Scallywag team to represent Hong Kong on a truly global stage,” said Witt. “With the race returning to a more traditional route and competing in One Design yachts, we feel that we are capable of achieving something that has been a life long personal dream.”

With more than five months to go before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, the starting grid is filling up.

The other confirmed entries so far are team AkzoNobel (skippered by Simeon Tienpont, Netherlands), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier, France), MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández, Spain) and Vestas 11th Hour Racing (Charlie Enright, USA).

The race will start from Alicante on 22 October, with the fleet capped at eight One Design Volvo Ocean 65 racing yachts. Seven of them have undergone an extensive refit process after being raced in the 2014-15 edition; the eighth is brand new, built for team AkzoNobel.

The 2017-18 edition will see the teams cover a total of 46,000 nautical miles in a race that features a total of 12 Host Cities – including Hong Kong – and finishes in The Hague at the end of June.

The first ever Hong Kong stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race will take place in early 2018 with the boats expected to arrive from Melbourne on 20 January.

A series of races will be held in and around Hong Kong during the stopover including the In-Port Race and an Around the Island race.

On 18 May, Volvo Ocean Race will announce a series of initiatives designed to position the race for the next decade and beyond.

The presentation takes place at 0800 UTC in the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, home of the race's co-owners Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group. Fans can follow the announcements on Facebook Live.

Built to List
05-17-2017, 12:16 PM
Only 3 more to go?

05-18-2017, 06:54 AM
18 May 2017

Volvo Ocean Race unveils combined Monohull-Multihull future – the ultimate test of a professional sailing team

The Volvo Ocean Race has solved the question of whether its future should be monohull or multihull – by opting for both


The Volvo Ocean Race has solved the question of whether its future should be monohull or multihull – by opting for both. The introduction of a foil-assisted 60-foot (18.29 metre) monohull for the ocean legs plus an ultra-fast 32-50 foot (10-15m) flying catamaran for use inshore will elevate the race to the ultimate all-round test in professional sailing.

The race announced the next generation of One Design boats – to be introduced in 2019 and designed for use over at least six years *– as the centrepiece of its vision for the next decade which significantly raises the game in both sporting terms and commercial value.

“We had a lot of debate about multihull versus monohull – strong arguments in both directions. We decided on three hulls – a monohull plus catamaran!” Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner revealed at a special event at the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg, home of the race’s co-owners Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group.

“This new formula for the Volvo Ocean Race will, for the first time, test world-class sailors at the top-end of both aspects of the sport – in what remains our core DNA offshore ocean racing on foil-assisted monohulls, plus inshore racing during the stopovers employing the latest ‘flying’ multihull technology.

“We’re using the best tool for each discipline. It’s going to push the sailors, and sailing teams overall, to levels they have never previously had to perform at in order to win one of sailing’s ultimate prizes.”


To win the Volvo Ocean Race in the future will demand expertise in both monohull on the offshore ocean legs and multihull racing in the In Port Series, as both platforms will be raced by essentially the same crew. Currently the In-Port series counts only as a tiebreaker in the case of equal points at the final finish line – in 2014-15 it actually changed the overall positions for two teams, confirming that it was already critical to do well even as a tiebreaker. In the future, the In-Port series will take slightly more importance again, but without changing the fact that it’s the ocean legs that count for the lion’s share of the points.

France’s in-demand Guillaume Verdier is designing the new monohull, which will use the very latest in foiling technology and is essentially a turbo charged IMOCA 60. The plan is that the design will include an option for the platform to be convertible, relatively quickly and inexpensively, to a short-handed rules-compliant IMOCA boat, able to compete in other major events on the IMOCA circuit such as the solo Vendée Globe and two-up Barcelona World Race.

A tender process opened today for the design and build of catamarans (32-50 foot; 10-15 metre) which will be built to a strict One Design rule like the monohulls, permitting much of the very latest ‘flying’ technology to be built in, but at relatively low cost.

“The America’s Cup, one of the other pinnacles of our sport, will always be at the absolute cutting edge development wise, with incredible technology leaps that we will see first-hand in Bermuda next week which are quite stunning,” said Turner. “We have seen the same technological advances in the IMOCA class with the introduction of foils in the recent Vendée Globe.


“Our goal with the Volvo Ocean Race is to set the bar as high as we can within the confines of existing campaign budgets, and within the context of One Design – where one is obliged to lock the technology level for each race cycle.”

Initial builds will be 8 of each mono and multihull, and will be made available to teams on a lease basis, thereby removing the asset purchase barrier that often prevents teams start-up, with sponsors involved in the upcoming 2017-18 edition getting first option. The first of the new boats will be completed by January 2019, with the whole fleet ready by the middle of that year.

Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy will lead the construction of the new monohull and the race’s own team of boat builders and experts at The Boatyard will complete the final fit-out, at a location to be confirmed as part of the Host City Tender process.

While it will be strictly One Design, there will be a lot to play with and learn on these new machines – plenty of scope for ‘tinkerability’ by the teams in terms of the way the boat is set up to race. Possible evolutions in between editions will be built in as far as possible to the concept from the start.

“The new boats will be delivered on a lease basis, and along with the growing package of benefits provided centrally by the race, we expect budgets to be at a similar level today,” explained Race CEO Mark Turner.

Those team budgets are at an average of 10-12m euros spread over two years, including several million normally attributable to activation costs.

“The provision of central services and equipment allows the sailors to concentrate on winning the race on the water, rather than duplicating costs across the campaigns,” Turner continued.

“Teams and sponsors are going to have to act quickly because we do expect these exciting new boats to sell out quickly. The Notice of Race, Commercial Partnership Agreement, and Boat Lease for the next edition will be published before this upcoming 2017-8 race starts in October.”

Verdier, who is currently finalising plans for the next generation boat alongside his team of designers, said: “I’m extremely excited to be trusted with the task of delivering the next generation of Volvo Ocean Race boat. Volvo Ocean Race sailors have a reputation as relentless athletes who push extremely hard and the future boat design reflects that.

“For that reason, it’s important to retain a certain level of safety in the design, which is especially key due to the places the fleet races through, such as the Southern Ocean.

“Given their reputation, we know that Volvo Ocean Race sailors are unlikely to retract the foils, and where many single-handed sailors might slow down, they won’t.

“With that in mind, it’s a huge challenge to design a machine that is both extraordinary to sail, but also safe at the same time.”

Crew numbers will be between 5 and 7, plus the OnBoard Reporter, and rules will continue to include incentives for mixed male-female crews and youth sailors.

Speaking about the key decision on boat design, Turner also said that in the longer term, the race could even go fully multihull.

“Following our detailed discussions this time around, there is no longer any kind of conceptual barrier to the Volvo Ocean Race going multihull offshore in six years’ time, a decision to make just 3 to 4 years from now. We came very close to going that route this time.

“In the next decade, it’s very possible that we’ll see multihulls from the new French Ultime class racing across the oceans, most of the time flying above the water, rather than on it – a significantly greater challenge than doing so inshore in flatter water.

“But ultimately, we felt that it was too early in the development curve, especially when building a large One Design fleet, to jump in to this now. Modifying an entire fleet with every technology step is not realistic.”

IOR Geezer
05-18-2017, 09:08 AM
Cant help but thinking that they have gone too far.

Panama Red
05-18-2017, 01:06 PM
5-7 members pushing a 60' foiling boat 24/7.

Can they carry enough tp?

06-09-2017, 01:57 PM

Today, almost exactly 11 months since team AkzoNobel was announced as an entry in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, we went sailing for the very first time on our brand new Volvo Ocean 65 off Lisbon, Portugal. And doesn’t she look good?! Our boat is undergoing 5 days of commissioning and handover from the team at the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard with our crew taking ownership from Wednesday next week. A busy few days for the team before our first offshore training session in the new boat and the delivery back to The Hague in time for her christening on June 21. Happy days!

allimages © Stefan Coppers / Volvo Ocean Race



07-28-2017, 09:04 AM

The Volvo Ocean Race has unveiled a 10-strong squad of Onboard Reporters to tell the story of the toughest test of a team in professional sport.

Featuring hardened media pros from six nations around the world, the group of Onboard Reporters for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 includes award-winning adventure photographers, extreme sports filmmakers, the documentary-making son of a Volvo Ocean Race legend and a former soldier–turned–journalist who has completed two tours of the Middle East.

Dubbed ‘the toughest job in sports media’, the Onboard Reporter is a position that’s unique to sailing’s iconic race around the world. The Volvo Ocean Race is the only professional sporting event to feature dedicated multimedia reporters embedded with the teams, and given unique access to cover every aspect of the event, round the clock, directly from the field of play.

Two Onboard Reporters – Brian Carlin (Ireland) and Sam Greenfield (United States) – return to the Race after making their debuts in 2014-15.

They are joined by Jen Edney (United States), who was recently named as one of ‘Nine Female Adventure Photographers Who Push the Limits’ by National Geographic; French shooters Martin Keruzoré and Jeremie Lecaudey; Richard Edwards and Konrad Frost, Britons who honed their onboard skills in the Clipper Race; Spanish media man Ugo Fonollá; and BBC journalist Tom Martienssen (Britain), who served as a gunner in the British Royal Air Force, and has reported live from the summit of Mount Everest.

Accomplished natural history documentary filmmaker James Blake (New Zealand/Britain), who has worked with the likes of the BBC and Discovery and is the son of Volvo Ocean Race winner Sir Peter Blake, completes the squad, which has already clocked up thousands of offshore miles in preparation for the next edition, beginning 22 October 2017.

The Onboard Reporters have gone through an extensive creative ‘boot camp’ in Alicante, proving their ability to withstand the mental and physical pressure of the role before being accepted.

When the Race launched its storyteller search in June 2016, almost 10,000 candidates from 126 countries flooded the campaign website to discover how to join the next batch of elite reporters.

The event, which pits the best professional sailors against each other over 45,000 nautical miles, covering four oceans, five continents and nine marathon months, requires multi-skilled and experienced media professionals to join the crews onboard and report back to shore from the most remote and hostile regions on the planet.

To push content from the world’s oceans to race fans takes some serious technology. Every boat is fitted with state-of-the-art equipment, remote-control cameras, microphones and custom-designed media stations.

The Inmarsat satellite network coupled with communications hardware from Cobham powers the delivery of multimedia content from each of the super-charged 65-foot racing boats while at sea.

With the next edition drawing closer, the whole fleet is en route to Gosport, UK, where they will make preparations for the Leg Zero qualifying races.

Onboard Reporter bios

Sam Greenfield (United States)

Sam is one of only two Onboard Reporters from the 2014-15 edition to return to the racetrack, having worked with Dongfeng Race Team last time. He caught attention by becoming the first OBR to successfully fly a drone from a moving Volvo Ocean 65, revolutionising the use of drones across the sailing industry in the process. Since the end of the 2014-15 race, Sam has been based in Bermuda as part of the Team ORACLE USA media crew.

Jen Edney (United States)

Jen is one of the most renowned water adventure photographers in the business, and regularly appears in international publications like National Geographic magazine, which recently named her as one of ‘Nine Female Photographers Who Push The Limits’. Despite coming from the landlocked US state of Nebraska, Jen has clocked up over 50,000 offshore miles in preparation for the ultimate sailing media job.

Konrad Frost (Britain)

Having honed his onboard shooting and eye for detail in the Clipper Race, Konrad’s step into the Volvo Ocean Race world is a natural progression – and he admits that he has dreamed of stepping onboard in the Volvo Ocean Race since he was a little kid. When he’s not at sea, he is a respected cameraman in the adventure sports industry, and he knows the Race inside out having worked as crew on recent Volvo Ocean Race TV series, as well as the likes of CNN Mainsail.

Jeremie Lecaudey (France)

Jeremie joins the Race with is new to sailing, but arrives with a fresh perspective – and bags of extreme sports experience under his belt. He is renowned as a top talent in the snowboarding industry, but has taken to dampening his sea boots onboard a French Mini Open 650 within the last couple of years.

Martin Keruzoré (France)

Martin grew up around the ocean and the world of sailing photography and has almost a decade’s experience as a director, photographer, cameraman and editor. Starting out early, Martin has logged thousands of miles in French races and has been involved in projects including L’Hydroptere’s first speed test.

Richard Edwards (Britain)

Richard grew up with a natural affinity for the ocean and water sports – and in 2015, he made his passion a profession, by joining the Clipper Race as a cameraman and producer. It was this round-the-world experience that inspired him to push for the ultimate media job – a Volvo Ocean Race Onboard Reporter role.

James Blake (New Zealand/Britain)

James has carved out an impressive reputation in nature and documentary world for his shooting ability – and has worked for the likes of the BBC and Discovery as a filmmaker before deciding to follow in his father, Volvo Ocean Race legend Sir Peter Blake’s, footsteps and jump onto a Volvo Ocean Race boat himself. He’s also a natural born adventurer who completed a transtasman row in 2012 as part of a four-man team, and is planning new exploits after the race’s completion, including a new angle on a transatlantic record.

Tom Martienssen (Britain)

They say that the Volvo Ocean Race Onboard Reporter role is one of the most extreme media roles in the business – but for former soldier turned reporter Tom, it might be a welcome change of pace from his recent vocations. He has completed two tours of Iraq as a medic and an RAF gunner, and has reported for the likes of the BBC and CNN live from the summit of Mount Everest. Nevertheless, he still claims that working onboard the Volvo Ocean Race boats is the toughest thing he’s ever done.

Brian Carlin (Ireland)

Having made his name as the Onboard Reporter for Team Vestas Wind in 2014-15, Brian returns to the race as OBR Team Leader, and will be keen to make it the whole way around the world after a challenging Volvo Ocean Race debut which saw his team ground on an atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean just days into Leg 3.

Ugo Fonollá (Spain)

The youngest member of the 2017-18 Onboard Reporter squad, Ugo grew up around sailing on Mallorca, close to the Palma sailing scene. Having studied engineering, Ugo then switched his focus to fulfilling his life’s dream – to become an OBR in the Volvo Ocean Race. Six years later, and armed with a camera and some wet weather gear, his wish has come true.

07-31-2017, 10:53 AM

image ©Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race

Leg Zero not only takes care of the official qualifying for the Volvo Ocean Race – it’s also the first chance to see the teams in a competitive shakedown against each other.

No points will be carried forward to the race itself, but the overall Leg Zero winner still gets a confidence boost – and here, round-the-world Vendée Globe sailor Conrad Colman fills us in on how it might play out.

Leg Zero breakdown

Don’t go looking for the logic, but Leg Zero is actually made up of four separate races. The seven teams taking part – team AkzoNobel, Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Brunel – will face the following schedule:

2 August: an intense 50-nautical mile sprint around the Isle of Wight

6 August start: the famous Rolex Fastnet Race featuring some of the hottest yachting hardware on the planet in a 608 nm coastal race that has historically served up a hearty dose of danger – and a lot of stressed navigators.

Then comes another big challenge, with two Volvo Ocean Race-only legs:

10 August start: Plymouth, England to St Malo in France (125 nm)

13 August start: St Malo to Lisbon, Portugal (770 nm)

There are no other boats to act as a distraction on these last two legs, just the world’s strictest offshore One Design fleet and the clock ticking down to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante, Spain on 22 October 2017.

Around the Island Race

A 50-mile coastal race in early August for some of the best sailors in the world who are preparing to tackle the world’s longest racetrack in sport? Okay, let’s be honest – we’re not going to learn a lot here. There’s nothing much at stake and in terms of racing, it's tempting to say there’s nothing to see here… But then again, sandbanks, rocks and tides will make these 50 miles pretty challenging – and would you want to finish last out of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet?

The Famous Fastnet

Now we’re talking. The Rolex Fastnet Race boasts the biggest offshore racing fleet in the sailing world and traditionally, it can go one of two ways. Either a late summer depression will rip across the Atlantic Ocean and chew through the fleet, as happened in the infamous 1979 edition, or boats will be forced to pick their way along the English coast, searching for any puff of wind while being pushed in circles by the tides.

The series of bays and headlands along the southern coast of England make the first part of the course like sailing along the edge of a saw, where each point sticking down into the English Channel concentrates and accelerates the tide. This will give a welcome push to those that make it through on time, and punish those forced to fight against the flow. In the tight Volvo Ocean 65 fleet, rounding a headland just 10 minutes after a competitor might cost you an hour at the finish! Even though the Fastnet doesn’t count towards the points in the race around the world, MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández confirms that his team won’t get much sleep: “A 600-mile race like the Fastnet is not super relevant towards the real race but of course it’s always good to sail together as a crew. There will be plenty of manoeuvres and a lot going on. It’s going to be good training and we will take it very seriously.”

Look out for strange routes on the tracker by the Land’s End point as strong tides turn around this headland and there’s a huge obstacle in the way. Traffic Separation Schemes (TSS) act like salty motorways for commercial shipping, and because they guide hundreds of massive steel ships, they are off limits for competitors.

These off-limits TSS zones will appear later in the Volvo Ocean Race route, most notably in the Strait of Gibraltar, around Hong Kong and off the coast of Newport, RI. This American highway upended the leaderboard in the last race after MAPFRE, Team SCA and Dongfeng all entered the zone illegally and were penalised. Now is a good time for the teams to get to grips with these TSS zones to avoid problems later when the points are at stake.

As the English coast fades into the horizon behind, streaking across the Celtic Sea will allow the Volvo Ocean 65s to enter more typical ocean conditions until the handbrake turn around Fastnet Rock. We’ll talk about the actual weather closer to the time but here the wind is often from the west and with the route now leading eastwards back to the Cornish coast the wind will be coming from behind the boats – a wind angle that the crews will see a lot of in the coming race around the world.

From rocks to tides to TSS’s, one thing is for sure – the navigators will suffer!

St Malo Rocks

After back to back stopovers in Lorient in 2011-12 and 2014-15, the Volvo Ocean Race will visit another French city that’s crazy about ocean racing, St Malo. It’s best known for a solo transatlantic race every four years called the Route du Rhum (confirming the theory that sailors are obsessed with the sea, salt and rum).

Volvo Ocean Race boats have deep keels and are normally safe offshore in the deep ocean but in 2008-09 Bouwe Bekking skimmed the bottom in Taiwan and dramatically slammed into a submerged rock just off Gothenburg. A former pirate’s paradise, St Malo is also protected by a fearsome set of reefs and needless to say, it could be pretty stressful with freshly painted keels and a circumnavigation just around the corner!

Who’s hot, who’s not?

Cyclists count how many ribs are visible on their competitors to see if they are down to weight. Football players look for medical tape on opposing teams that might signal a sign of weakness. Sailors have less to go on, as physical form is only one factor in the pursuit of speed. In sailing, polished teamwork counts for more than the circumference of biceps and strong tides and fickle winds will make it hard to get an accurate measure of potential speed in real offshore conditions.

Dee Caffari, Skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic: "As a form guide I think it would be misleading. We all have different sails for racing. Some have old sails some have race sails and some have a combination of sails. I am still using the Leg 0 race schedule as a trial for my sailing team so it is a test to see if we have the appropriate people."

The short legs won’t allow teams to try out their ocean watch systems as most teams will probably chug a Red Bull and push hard in the knowledge that the next port isn’t far away. This fourth and final part of Leg Zero will probably give us the best sense of who’s up to speed and who’s got work to do before the big one comes around. That’s because the rounding of Cape Finisterre at the northwest point of Spain often accelerates the local wind before the trade winds blowing down the Portuguese coast allow teams one last blast to measure their performance before the boats go into maintenance.

83 days out from the start, the pressure is building!

Dirty Sanchez
07-31-2017, 08:34 PM
The teams might be worn out before leg !

08-02-2017, 09:10 AM

MAPFRE took first blood in the opening battle of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet – with Xabi Fernández and his Spanish team finding faultless form to smash the established record time for a monohull around the Isle of Wight.

MAPFRE clocked 3 hours 13 minutes 11 seconds in strong conditions off England’s south coast to hold off Team Brunel and notch up victory in the Around the Island Race – the first in a series of four 'Leg Zero' tests acting as qualifiers for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, which starts on 22 October.


Race Results:
1. MAPFRE: 3 hours 13 minutes 11 seconds
2. Team Brunel: 3 hours 14 minutes 55 seconds
3. team AkzoNobel: 3 hours 15 minutes 16 seconds
4. Dongfeng Race Team: 3 hours 18 minutes 26 seconds
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic: 3 hours 24 minutes 16 seconds
6. Vestas 11th Hour Racing: 3 hours 25 minutes 10 seconds
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag: 3 hours 29 minutes 53 seconds

The first four of the Volvo Ocean 65s – MAPFRE, Brunel, AkzoNobel and Dongfeng – were all, subject to ratification by the World Sailing Speed Record Council, under the fastest previous monohull time of 3:20, set by the super-maxi ICAP Maximus.

On a grey summer’s day in Cowes, scattered patches of drizzle couldn’t obscure the brightly coloured sails of the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet as the brass cannons of the Royal Yacht Squadron boomed out the first official start signal in the build-up to this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

MAPFRE brought their team’s Olympic experience to bear as they won the start handily, beating Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Brunel across the line.

With wind from the south between 15-20 knots at the start and gusts up to 35 knots, the boats flew down the Solent on the outgoing tide. The most recently announced team, and thus the team with the least miles in training, Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic was the only boat with a reef at the start. They were quickly joined by the rest of the fleet as the wind built during the drag race down the Solent.

After the southern point of the island the Volvo Ocean 65s were finally able to bear away onto their favourite point of sail, with navigator Joan Vila perfectly choosing MAPFRE’s course and sail changes.

There was no surprise that all the top teams around the back of the island had done the previous race, with MAPFRE leading Dongfeng and Brunel. Bouwe Bekking’s strong performance demonstrated that despite only a week’s training before today, and crew trials still underway, the 39,000 miles sailed in the 2014-15 edition are worth gold.


The boats will now regroup in Gosport as a final opportunity to prepare for the Rolex Fastnet Race, the second stage of Leg Zero, starting on Sunday. After the Fastnet, the teams complete Leg Zero by sailing from Plymouth to St Malo and then on to Lisbon.

What the skippers said:

Xabi Fernández, MAPFRE: "Of course, I’m very happy with the crew. It’s one of our strongest points – a lot of us have sailed together already and the new people are all good people, very switched on, and things are coming together nicely.”

Bouwe Bekking, Team Brunel: “I think we sailed well and made the right sail choices. AkzoNobel have been sailing for more than a year but MAPFRE was the fastest today. All in all, a good day!”


all photos©Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Simeon Tienpont, team AkzoNobel: “We felt we had a solid race and it was good to be in the top of the fleet. It gives us some confidence. Absolutely, there’s a few things we can work on but we’ll also take a lot of positives out of it.”

Charles Caudrelier, Dongfeng Race Team: “Windy and wet for sure. We had a nice match with MAPFRE, had a very good day and we were fighting with AkzoNobel and Brunel. We have seen a lot of things to improve and everyone is ready. It was not an easy day!”


Dee Caffari, Turn the Tide on Plastic: "We were a bit conservative with our sailing plan but we were fast and we’re learning how to sail our boats so I am happy. It’s the first time in my whole career, with all the miles I have done, that I have steered a boat on its bow with all its rudders out of the water. It was impressive!”


Charlie Enright, Vestas 11th Hour Racing: “It never feels good to have a poor result but it’s all about the process and making sure we keep within the right times. Plenty of stuff on the list today to get better at, and actually it was pretty constructive.”


David Witt, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag: “It was very wet, very windy and we didn’t do very well but there’s a long way to go. We can take a fair bit out of this. It was the first time we’ve ever lined up against anyone and we were right in it. Far from dire straits. If it all went well then you probably don’t learn as much.”

Honey Badger
08-02-2017, 12:34 PM
Great training run for teams!

Hope they don't break their boats or crews before the real race starts!

08-04-2017, 09:35 AM

August 4, 2017

Upwind slog forecast as Volvo Ocean Race fleet tackles Rolex Fastnet Race

The second stage of Leg Zero qualifying is the Rolex Fastnet Race, starting on Sunday, and it will present a very different challenge to the Volvo Ocean Race fleet

The second stage of Leg Zero qualifying is the Rolex Fastnet Race, starting on Sunday (6 August), and it will present a very different challenge to the Volvo Ocean Race fleet – as well as an early chance for the chasing pack to show they can match early pacesetters MAPFRE.

Xabi Fernández and his Spanish team found record-breaking form in winds of up to 35 knots to take the first of four Leg Zero races on Wednesday, a blast around the Isle of Wight in the Sevenstar Triple Crown series at Lendy Cowes Week.

While MAPFRE took the honours, the racing was incredibly close among the entire fleet and there were plenty of positives for all the skippers to take from the first battle of the Volvo Ocean 65s in the official build-up to the race itself, which starts 22 October from Alicante.

But while that first test came in true Volvo Ocean Race conditions – with the boats blazing through a tormented sea, records smashed and salty smiles all round – the famous Rolex Fastnet Race? Not so much!

This year’s 605 nautical mile Fastnet is going to be a long upwind slog all the way from the start line off Cowes, Isle of Wight, to the turn at the Fastnet Rock at the south east point of Ireland.

The last class to start at 1140 UTC, and one of the fastest, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet will quickly find themselves amongst the smaller boats ahead as the entire 390-boat fleet tacks up the western Solent in a classic Fastnet start.

The excitement could soon turn to frustration if the light conditions don’t allow the Volvo Ocean 65 fleet to make it past the first major headland, the Portland Bill, before the tide turns against them. With a strong eastwards rush of the tide against them by the coast, and lighter winds below them to the south, the boats that just blitzed the Isle of Wight record will be crawling.

“This race is fraught with hazards,” said Dee Caffari, skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic. “Right from the start line as you leave off the Royal Yacht Squadron line through the Solent you’ve got shallows and tide to contend with and several tidal gates along the way which are either going to make or break your race… But it’s not my first Rolex Fastnet so I’m comfortable that I know where I’m going and what I’m doing.”

No respite awaits at Land’s End as they’ll pass through a cold front that will add rain to the insult of upwind sailing. A new high pressure will establish itself on Monday in the middle of the Atlantic that will feed the fleet steady northwesterly wind to cross the Celtic Sea. More upwind!

The stable conditions will allow the crews to soak up a beautiful rounding off the famous rock – which should make for some nice photos in the early hours of Tuesday, if the sun is up by then – before a nice run back to Plymouth in 15-20 knots.

For David Witt, skipper of Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, it’s a good opportunity to test the wisdom of his decision to go with an all-male crew of seven instead of taking advantage of a rule that gives teams the option of adding up to two women to the team, or taking a fully mixed five male-five female crew.

Witt said: “We’ve got a bit of a strategy of having the least amount of people on board and the reason for that is for conditions like the Fastnet, especially coming back from the rock, when it’ll be VMG running 8-12 which is sort of what the majority of this Volvo is. We might tick a box and say we’re right, or we might say ‘hold on’ and change our whole strategy.”

The crews that are still new to their boats will be thankful for the opportunity to knock out some gybing practice before stages three and four of Leg Zero bring them into stronger downwind sailing again down the coast of Portugal.

Charles Caudrelier, Dongfeng Race Team, said: “It’s very good to be here because before the Volvo we couldn’t sail against the other ones, so we trained outside and we have no reference, only the numbers, so it’s good to race against the other ones and see how it goes and if we did a good job so it’s very important for everybody.”

For full crew lists for the Volvo Ocean Race teams in the Rolex Fastnet Race see volvooceanrace.com

08-10-2017, 08:48 AM

Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling has joined Team Brunel for the 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race – and he’s already out sailing with his new teammates in pre-race qualifying.

The signing of the world’s most in-demand sailor is a major coup for Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking, and sets up what should be a compelling rivalry with Burling’s long-term sailing partner Blair Tuke, who is competing with Spanish team MAPFRE.

Together, Burling and Tuke carried the flag for New Zealand at the 2016 Olympics and came home from Rio with a gold medal in the 49er class.

The pair followed up that success by playing influential roles in Emirates Team New Zealand’s victory in the America’s Cup earlier this year.

Burling got his first taste of life onboard Brunel’s Volvo Ocean 65 at the start of an overnight sprint from Plymouth, UK to Saint-Malo, France – the third stage of the Volvo Ocean Race’s Leg Zero qualifying series.

“I’ve always wanted to do this race – although I haven’t done a lot offshore, I’ve always been keen to get involved but always struggled to find the time," Burling said at dockside in Plymouth. "It seems like good timing and a great opportunity to learn a lot off a pretty experienced team.”

He continued: "Round-the-world ocean racing has always excited me and I'm stoked to be part of Team Brunel on this epic edition. I can't wait to be thrown into the challenge of extreme offshore racing and broaden my skills and sailing experience."

Still only 26, Burling is the youngest winning helmsman in America’s Cup history.
Either Burling or Tuke could become the first sailor to complete the Triple Crown of sailing’s major events. To date, no one has won an Olympic gold medal, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race. Both teams will start among the favourites.

Burling continued: “I’ve sailed against Blair a lot in the past, and I think he’s really enjoying his time onboard MAPFRE. I think both of us will learn a lot before the next time we sail together, and we’ll take on a challenge again together soon.”

Team Brunel were runners-up in 2014-15 under Bekking and have hit the ground running in their preparations for the upcoming race. Burling is the seventh sailor to be announced for the Dutch team following the signings of America's Cup sailors Carlo Huisman (NED) and Kyle Langford (AUS); Argentinian Juanpa Marcos; and Volvo Ocean Race veterans Alberto Bolzan (ITA) and Maciel Cicchetti (ARG/ITA), all sailing under skipper Bouwe Bekking (NED).

Bekking said: “Peter is one of the most talented sailors in the world, winning an Olympic gold in Rio and the America’s Cup. He’s a huge addition for our team. He is superb driver – one of the fastest – and I think he will adapt very quickly.”

The 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race begins from Alicante on 22 October. The race will take the teams 45,000 nautical miles around the world via a series of Host City stops – including Auckland.

"It’s going to be pretty special to be on board to see Auckland, the City of Sails, welcome an epic race like the Volvo Ocean Race," added Burling.

"Having just toured New Zealand with the America's Cup I got to witness how much Kiwis really do love sailing – and I know they will really get behind the Volvo Ocean Race coming to town."

08-10-2017, 09:11 AM

© Marc Bow/Volvo Ocean Race

Saint-Malo: here we come

The fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s left Plymouth on Thursday for the third race of the Leg Zero qualifying series
August 10, 2017

The fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s left Plymouth on Thursday for the third race of the Leg Zero qualifying series – weaving their way through waves of tired/euphoric sailors from the smaller boats still on their way to the finish line in the Fastnet.

images © ELWJ



This race is the first time America's Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling will sail with Team Brunel.

Joining Brunel puts Peter in competition with his Olympic and America’s Cup crew mate Blair Tuke who is sailing on MAPFRE, but also means that he joins Kyle Langford, wing trimmer for Oracle Team USA in the last Cup.


TRACKER (http://yb.tl/vor_legzero2017b#)

With the winner and loser of the America’s Cup on the same boat, there should be plenty to talk about during the next 45,000 miles…

The latest challenge for the Volvo Ocean Race teams is a short sprint from Plymouth to St Malo, via a buoy next to the Needles, and everything points to another tight finish.

For the first leg along the English coast back towards the Isle of Wight, the fleet will be sailing downwind in 10-15 knots before reaching across the English Channel where they'll arrive off the Normandy coastline in the early morning.

The fleet will sail through a famous tidal acceleration zone called the Alderney Race that will accelerate the boats by up to 8 knots, so look out for record speeds in light winds. The Volvo Ocean Race might be an ocean race, but by Friday morning they'll be sailing down a river!

This race is the first time America's Cup winning helmsman Peter Burling will sail with Team Brunel.

Joining Brunel puts Peter in competition with his Olympic and America’s Cup crew mate Blair Tuke who is sailing on MAPFRE, but also means that he joins Kyle Langford, wing trimmer for Oracle Team USA in the last Cup.

With the winner and loser of the America’s Cup on the same boat, there should be plenty to talk about during the next 45,000 miles…

Follow Leg Zero Stage 3 on the Yellowbrick tracker here:

Plymouth to Saint Malo tracker: http://yb.tl/vor_legzero2017b#

Panama Red
08-10-2017, 01:12 PM
Burling riding the wave!

Have not heard much from Spithill in recent days, anybody wanna do a welfare check?

08-11-2017, 09:51 AM

Xabi Fernández and his in-form MAPFRE team claimed their second victory in Leg Zero qualifying with another commanding performance in the build-up to the Volvo Ocean Race.

MAPFRE had a lead of seven nautical miles when they crossed the finish line at 0629 UTC off the iconic French sailing city of Saint-Malo.

Team Brunel took second place in their first race sailing with new recruit Peter Burling, the Olympic gold medallist and America’s Cup winning helmsman, whose signing was announced just hours before the fleet's departure from England's south coast.




Dongfeng Race Team, the Chinese entry with a French skipper, Charles Caudrelier, completed the podium to maintain their own excellent form in the series – and were followed by Vestas 11th Hour Racing, team AkzoNobel, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

MAPFRE’s latest victory was barely in doubt in a race they dominated following a decisive moment shortly after the Plymouth start.

“It’s a very good result for us, and it’s been a really good leg for us from beginning to end,” said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández.

“We made some good choices going offshore, finding the sea breeze and beating the current, as we watched the other teams struggle with the current. I’m really pleased with our result.”

MAPFRE chose to dive south with Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Turn the Tide on Plastic. The others chose a route down the coast that required an exhausting gybing duel. When the fleet came back together, the offshore option had paid off, and Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team switched sides to choose the southern option with MAPFRE and Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

The fleet then had to negotiate a barrier of light winds that blocked the route. The calms were narrower in the south and the four boats that had invested in this option slowed but continued moving whereas Sun Hung Kai/ Scallywag went backwards on the tide, completely becalmed.

After the turning mark by the Needles and a drag race across the English Channel, excitement awaited in the tidal acceleration zone next to the French coast.

Just like stepping onto a moving walkway at the airport, the speeds on every boat jumped from 13 knots to 19 as they were pushed by a river of current in the ocean. From there, MAPFRE were never challenged.

For Burling, it was a first experience of racing onboard a One Design Volvo Ocean 65 – and he said that the short race to France was the perfect introduction to the Volvo Ocean Race.

“It’s been great to get out and race – I have a lot to learn but Leg Zero is a really good way for me to ease into this,” said the Kiwi.

“I think we’re in good stead for the future considering how little training this team has done.”

Leg Zero, stage 3 results, Plymouth to Saint-Malo:

1. MAPFRE elapsed time 0629 UTC
2. Team Brunel 0710
3. Dongfeng Race Team 0719
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 0728
5. Team AkzoNobel 0732
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 0835
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 0908

French sailing fans will now get to see the fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s in the inner harbour before a non-scoring Pro-Am Race on Saturday.

“It’s great to be in Saint-Malo and back in France – the crowds on the dock gave the Volvo Ocean Race fleet an unforgettable welcome,” said Dongfeng Race Team skipper Charles Caudrelier.

“This region is the home of French sailing and an iconic town for sailors from all over the world, and it’s fantastic to see the enthusiasm for both Dongfeng and the race as a whole.”

The teams will complete Leg Zero qualifying with a race from Saint-Malo to Lisbon, starting on Sunday at 1050 UTC and with an ETA of Wednesday.

MAPFRE now have a three-point advantage at the top of the Leg Zero standings, with two wins and a runners-up spot from the three races to date. While an overall winner will be declared, no points will be carried forward to the Volvo Ocean Race itself, which starts on 22 October.

Overall Leg Zero standings after 3 of 4 races:

1. MAPFRE 23 points
2. Team Brunel 20
3. Dongfeng Race Team 19
4. Team AkzoNobel 15
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 12
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 9
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 7

Buzz Light Beer
08-11-2017, 09:56 AM
Putting the crews through the paces!

No rest for the Volvo guys and gals before the race even begins!

08-13-2017, 09:57 AM
MAPFRE continue Leg Zero dominance in opening act of final stage


MAPFRE maintained their near-faultless performance in Volvo Ocean Race qualifying – and gave themselves the best possible chance of completing overall victory in the Leg Zero series – as they led the fleet over the finish line on a short opening stage of the final race out of Saint-Malo

MAPFRE maintained their near-faultless performance in Volvo Ocean Race qualifying – and gave themselves the best possible chance of completing overall victory in the Leg Zero series – as they led the fleet over the finish line on a short opening stage of the final race out of Saint-Malo.

Extended periods of extremely light weather meant that the Saint-Malo to Lisbon leg had to be split into two parts.


As expected, the Volvo Ocean 65s stayed tightly bunched on the first of those, a drag race towards Le Grand Lejon. Vestas 11th Hour Racing were neck-and-neck with MAPFRE for the lead, with the Spanish side just pipping them to the line.

Dongfeng Race Team grabbed third ahead of Turn the Tide on Plastic and team AkzoNobel. Preliminary unofficial results gave Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and Team Brunel the same time, with less than a mile between the first and last teams in the seven-boat fleet.

Now that the teams have completed their ‘Sunday drive’ – a 25nm sprint in just 10 knots – they can prepare for the restart which will begin from Chaussé de Sein at 0900 UTC on Monday. It will be a staggered start based on the finishing deltas from Sunday.

The fleet will start with light south easterlies that will quickly die and then come back from the west. This will be a critical transition to manage as the whole race course will favour the leaders and punish the stragglers.


The fleet will negotiate the passage of a cold front early Tuesday morning and the new wind will set them up for a downwind drag race towards Cape Finisterre, the northwestern tip of Spain. It will be a race for their competitive lives – with light winds chasing them as a ridge of high pressure again pushes into the normally tempestuous Bay of Biscay.

"Leg Zero has been really good for us," said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández, whose team have won two out of the three races completed so far. "Saint-Malo to Lisbon is the last stop so it's not quite over yet but I'm so happy with the team, the boat... Everything seems to be working out."

After negotiating the narrow channel between Cape Finisterre and the out-of-bounds shipping channel, they'll have a pretty simple run down the Portuguese coast. There's no major strategic play here, just pure speed before a handbrake turn into the Tagus river and the finish in downtown Lisbon.

“You only enter races to win – but the forecast is flukey so everything’s on the table,” said Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright. “Everyone’s expectation is to be competitive and to continue to refine the areas that we realise need work.”

Overall standings after 3 of 4 completed races in Leg Zero:

1. MAPFRE 23 points
2. Team Brunel 20
3. Dongfeng Race Team 19
4. team AkzoNobel 15
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 12
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 9
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 7

While an overall winner will be declared, no points will be carried forward to the Volvo Ocean Race itself, which starts on 22 October from Alicante.

Panama Red
08-15-2017, 02:27 PM
This Leg Zero is taking longer than the OYRA results for Sunday's Drakes Bay part duex

08-16-2017, 08:47 AM
Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race

Spanish team MAPFRE completed overall Leg Zero victory in the early hours of Wednesday (16 August) and struck the first psychological blow in the build-up to the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

But what the Leg Zero series of qualifiers confirmed above all is that all the teams boasting race experience and/or preparation time are extremely closely matched.

The newer teams know they have more work to do, but there are still plenty of positives to take from the progress they have made – and they still have time to close the gap with more than two months to go before the race starts from Alicante on 22 October.

Charlie Enright’s Vestas 11th Hour Racing became the third team to grab a victory from four stages in Leg Zero – a series of pre-race qualifying stages for the next edition of the round-the-world race – as they sneaked ahead of MAPFRE in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

With team AkzoNobel also overtaking MAPFRE to grab second place, it was more proof that the leaders will always have to watch their backs.

For experienced teams and new entries alike, Leg Zero has proved to be an extremely valuable test.

Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

The teams faced a variety of conditions, from a rough rounding of the Isle of Wight in conditions that Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari described as ‘almost as hard as the Southern Ocean’; a classic Rolex Fastnet Race; a quick sprint from Plymouth to Saint-Malo and an agonising drift in the leg from Saint-Malo to Lisbon, which eventually led to the stage being split in two and then brought to a premature close at 0430 UTC on Wednesday.

Enright was particularly satisfied to be able to grab an early victory heading into the 2017-18 edition.

“There may never be another one quite like that, but we'll take it,” said the American. “We've been improving every day we spend on the boat together and it's nice to see that improvement manifest itself in the form of a win.”

First-time skipper Simeon Tienpont on team AkzoNobel said after the series finish: "We knew already it’s close action but definitely learnt how important it is to have the routine on board right and keep everyone focused all the time."

After months of training together in all conditions MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández is eager for his team to recuperate before attacking the final preparations. “One of the things we have to do now is have a good rest because it has been a lot of work over this last month,” he said. “Then we work on the small details of the boat, do the last push in the gym, make sure everyone is healthy, then be focused on the start.

There will be no rest for British skipper Dee Caffari as Turn the Tide on Plastic – carrying the message of the United Nations Environment Clean Seas campaign – will be running at full speed in order to finalise their crew selection.

Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race

They may be playing catch-up but the 50/50 male/female, predominantly youth team, can certainly challenge the rest of the fleet as they proved in the last 48 hours: “To actually lead the fleet in this final stage of Leg Zero was absolutely awesome. The confidence it gave the team, you could see it, and the focus, the intensity, everyone raised their game because they could see the other boats so close.”

With only 53 days remaining until the start of the Prologue from Lisbon to Alicante, now is the time for the teams to complete their final training at sea, their sponsor engagements and safety training.

These few weeks will be precious for Hong Kong entry Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, who had less than a week of training before starting Leg Zero.

Skipper David Witt and his team have years of experience of sailing together and will now redouble their efforts to extract the best from their One Design Volvo Ocean 65.

“The racing on Leg Zero has shown us what we’re strong at, what we’re weak at,” said Witt. “MAPFRE have dominated, they’ve shown everybody how strong they are and they’ve set the bar where we’ve all got to get to. We are not weak in all areas – there are some areas we are quite good at. It’s good to find this out now rather than on Leg 2 of the race. And now we’ve got five weeks to fix, I’ve got a pretty good idea how to fix it and now we’ve just got to get on with it.”

While it’s tempting to label MAPFRE as favourites going into the race, none of the skippers will be taking anything for granted.

“I think Dongfeng is well prepared and they have been working hard all the winter as well," said MAPFRE's Xabi. "The new teams, like AkzoNobel, are coming together with some good experience and improving every day they sail together. There is a good mix of crew across Brunel, very experienced and they will be very competitive.”

Charles Caudrelier, whose Dongfeng team finished second overall and won the Volvo Ocean 65 class in the Fastnet, added: “I think I am happy. I think we had a good speed and a good spirit onboard. I’m pretty sure we can do very well."

Standing on the dock in Alicante in a couple of months’ time, the crews will have 45,000 miles of sailing in front of them – and the knowledge that anything could happen.

Leg Zero, overall final rankings:

1. MAPFRE 29 points

2. Dongfeng Race Team 24

3. Team Brunel 23

4. team AkzoNobel 22

5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 20

6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 13

7. Sun Hung Kai Scallywag 9

Panama Red
08-16-2017, 02:22 PM
Las Vegas has Mapfre at even money to win this edition!

08-17-2017, 09:10 AM

Leg Zero: four stages to test the 2017-18 fleet, and pre-race qualifying series for the boats and sailors. Here's a look at how it happened.

08-23-2017, 05:12 PM

Exclusive first look at the next Volvo Ocean Race boat design

Work is well underway on the racing machines of the future – and here's a sneak peek at the Guillaume Verdier's exciting 60-ft foiling monohull concept
August 22, 2017
08:34 UTC
Text by Mark Chisnell
Just over three months ago, on 18 May 2017, Volvo Ocean Race CEO Mark Turner stood on a stage in the Volvo Museum in Gothenburg and announced that the question of whether the future of the race was monohull or multihull had been solved.

In fact, the Volvo Ocean Race had opted for both – and would design and build a one-design foil-assisted 60-foot (18.29 metre) monohull for the ocean legs, and a one-design 32-50 foot foiling catamaran (10-15 metre) for use inshore at the stopovers.

Now, with the 2017-18 edition already apace following a thrilling Leg Zero, work on the two new boats has been moving very fast in the background.

This week, the first mock up of the Guillaume Verdier-designed offshore monohull was revealed at the Boatyard in Lisbon – and it looks incredible.


© Brian Carlin/Volvo Ocean Race
“We contacted several designers and asked them to submit their ideas for both a complete stand-alone Volvo Ocean Race boat, or with the potential to convert to an IMOCA boat,” said Bice.

“All the designers that we invited to present were very strong, it wasn’t clear cut – we had some pretty serious soul-searching to decide what we wanted to do. I went to New Zealand and spent a day with Guillaume to get to know him, and we decided he was our man.”

Verdier recently came to prominence as a designer for the foiling 2016 Vendée Globe boats, and for the 36th America’s Cup winners, Emirates Team New Zealand.

“We’ve created the Volvo Ocean Race Design Team as a collaboration, getting the best input from everywhere,” said Bice. “It’s going to be a very cool boat; imagine coming into the finish, in a harbour in 20 knots of breeze and you are going to see this thing fully airborne, foiling, at 35 to 40 knots.”

Verdier has now gathered his team around him, and they have been working hard on the hull lines. The design has developed in a way that will enable IMOCA 60 compatibility, making it convertible, relatively quickly and inexpensively, to a short-handed rules-compliant IMOCA boat for events like the solo Vendée Globe and two-up Barcelona World Race.

“We don’t think there is any compromise to making a stand-alone Volvo Ocean Race boat comply with the IMOCA 60 rules. Although in Volvo mode, we will have another keel, we will have different rudders, foils, we will have a different rig on it,” said Bice.


© Brian Carlin/Volvo Ocean Race
“So now, with the new two-year race cycle, a team can compete in an IMOCA event in between, maintaining profile for a sponsor and making it much easier for them to commit to two cycles of the Volvo Ocean Race. That’s what we want to try and achieve.

“We are on a critical path with the plan that the eighth boat has to be launched by June 2019, that’s the bookend of the whole project. Working all the way back from that, we need to start machining the moulds in September. Then we need to start laminating the first boat at the end of February, early March next year.

“Persico will be the lead contractor, it’s about 40,000 hours per boat but we want to try and eliminate the need for transportation, so they will definitely do the hull and deck, put the composite shell together. Then it gets delivered to The Boatyard in Lisbon, and we will do the painting and the fit out. It’s very similar to what we did with AkzoNobel, the latest Volvo Ocean 65 built for this race.”

This is where Neil Cox and his Boatyard team will come in. “Roughly, it will take six months at Persico so the first boat will arrive at The Boatyard facility in September 2018, two months after the next race ends. It needs to be finished by the end of November 2018, with the whole fleet ready by the middle of 2019. So we get a new boat every four weeks. It will go into our process for roughly three months, painting, fit-out and then branding of the boat,” said Cox.

The tender period closed for the inshore foiling multihull at 1200 CEST on the 31 July and 16 proposals were received – a remarkable response from the marine industry.

Nick Bice – Chief Technical Development Officer – and his team must sift through them and make a decision on which proposal to take forward. “We want to announce the result during the prerace festivities, in Alicante in mid-October,” Bice explained, taking a short break from Leg Zero debriefing with Cox.

And all this with a race going on at the same time. “It’s a demanding time,” added Cox. “In the last three weeks emails have started coming in quicker than you can fire them back out. Normally you can manage your email, but now the computer updates itself, and you are like, ‘How did 30 emails just come in, in 10 minutes?’ You can feel the momentum building from every angle.”

And with that, it’s time for the guys to get back to it.

09-05-2017, 11:09 AM

Richard Mason takes you on a virtual tour of the next generation Volvo Ocean Race boat.

Single Hander
09-05-2017, 03:44 PM
Wonder what the old Volvo's will fetch?

09-26-2017, 07:47 AM
Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Following discussions with key stakeholders it has been determined that additional planning time is required to implement the recently announced changes to the race schedule. As a result, the proposed 2019-20 race in new boats will not take place as planned. A revised schedule for future Volvo Ocean Races will be announced as soon as possible. Volvo remains committed to ensuring that any planned changes deliver long-term sustainable benefits to the race and participating teams.

The design work on the exciting new Super 60 concept, at the forefront of foiling offshore monohull technology, continues.

The current 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race is completely unaffected by this change and will proceed as publicly announced.

As a consequence of this review to the race schedule the current CEO for the race Mark Turner has decided to step down from his current position. He will remain in the CEO role until a successor is appointed, a search for which has started.

“Whilst we regret the fact that Mark has decided to step down from his current role, we are grateful for the hard work and contribution over the last 16 months. The leadership team Mark has put in place will ensure the race remains both a world class sailing and business platform and we wish him all the best for the future,” says Henry Stenson, Chairman of the Volvo Ocean Race supervisory board.

“Although I have decided to step down from my position, I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to lead the Volvo Ocean Race at this important time. I am confident the 2017-18 race will be one of the best ever,” says Mark Turner.

Volvo Ocean Race ready for start of race in October 2017

The 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race will start in Alicante on October 22, 2017 and finish in The Hague in June 2018, visiting 12 stopovers (Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, The Hague) in the epic around the world adventure covering 45,000 nautical miles. The race will be made up of 7 highly qualified and professional sailing teams, including some of world’s most accomplished and experienced sailors.

The teams are: Team AkzoNobel, Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Turn The Tide on Plastic and Team Brunel.


Q: Will there be an impact on the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race?

A: No impact on the current edition of the race is expected. Mark Turner’s role was primarily focused on future strategy. The Leadership Team is very well prepared and ready to deliver an outstanding sporting and sponsorship experience. Mark Turner will remain as CEO until a successor is appointed.

Q: It was announced in May that future races would be held in a two year cycle, rather than the current three year cycle, has that changed?

A: AB Volvo and Volvo Cars are committed to developing the race going forward as announced in May, including optimizing the race cycle. However, following discussions between the two owners of the event, it has been determined that in order to fully implement the announced changes additional planning time is required, specifically in relation to the race cycle. A final decision will follow at a later stage.

Q: It was recently announced that the next Race would start in 2019, is that still the case?

A: Following discussions between Volvo companies, it has been determined that in order to fully implement the announced changes additional planning time is required, specifically in relation to the race cycle. A final decision on this will follow at a later stage. This rules out a race start in 2019 with new boats, however the Volvo Ocean Race leadership team is developing plans to ensure activation opportunities and stakeholder return using the existing boats.

Q: A number of additional initiatives were announced in May aimed at developing the sporting and commercial value further, are these other initiatives still going ahead?

A: Yes, that is the intention.

Cleveland Steamer
09-26-2017, 08:18 AM
That is some shake up.

Every 2 years seemed a bit optimistic in my humble opinion.

09-27-2017, 01:50 PM

On Tuesday, the Volvo Ocean Race CEO announced that he will soon step down from his role. Here, he talks about the news, the upcoming 2017-18 edition and the future.

10-06-2017, 09:45 AM

On Sunday afternoon at 1400 local time in Lisbon (1300 UTC), the seven Volvo Ocean Race skippers will lead their teams off the start line of the Prologue Leg, a non-scoring race to the host city and start port of Alicante, Spain.

It’s a final chance for teams to lock in crew configurations and get in some speed testing against the competition ahead of the start of Leg 1 on October 22 in Alicante.

“This is the last opportunity for all of the boats to face each other before we start,” says Mark Towill of Vestas 11th Hour Racing. “We’ll be lining up against the other teams to check the things we’ve learned during testing compared to the rest of the fleet.”

Towill and his team have been training against team AkzoNobel. The Dutch team's Luke Malloy spoke of the benefit from the sessions.

“The two boat training sessions we did with Vestas 11th Hour Racing were definitely very valuable and actually quite eye opening in a few areas,” he confirms. “Just to check on some of our sail crossovers and lock down what we think we know in some other performance areas.”

Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari says she’ll be giving some of her crew who have less offshore miles time on board during the Prologue, as her team makes the transition from training to competition.

“It’s an opportunity to get back into race mode,” she says. “It’s almost a practice of Leg 1, because we’re going from Lisbon to Alicante and that’s going to be the reverse for Leg 1 so it’s nice to suss it out.”

Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, disappointed with its results this summer during Leg Zero, will be racing with some new crew members and navigator Steve Hayles says the team will be looking to bed in improvements made during practice over the past month.

“I think (on Leg Zero) everything was sub-par, so this is a good chance to put into effect everything we’ve been doing since. We’ve been sailing hard, we’ve done at least as many miles as anyone else, and so this is a good opportunity to cement those changes.

“Nothing is as good a measure of where you stand as going racing and hopefully we’ve made a big step up in our team performance.”

Rob Greenhalgh, about to embark with the Spanish team MAPFRE on his fifth Volvo Ocean Race, is looking forward to this final look at the opposition.

“It’s pretty important. Everyone’s going to be keen to check in,” he says. “We’ll be keen to race properly… we won’t be backed off. We’ll be going for it!”

Dongfeng Racing team director Bruno Dubois will see his team leave the dock in Lisbon satisfied they have done what they need to do to be ready to race by the start of Leg 1.

“My objective was to make sure we put everything in place and didn’t leave anything to chance,” Dubois explains. “We made a plan and we’ve stayed to it.

“Maybe someone is going to head out in Leg 1 and be very fast, but we’ve done what we needed to do to make our boat ready and fast for the start of the race. After that, well, it’s a long race.”

The weather forecast offers a mixed bag that will get the wrinkles out of all the new sails the teams have installed in Lisbon. Crews will face a light wind start in the Tagus River before a gentle run down the coast to Cape Saint-Vincent, the South West corner of Portugal. The light wind sails will stay up for the reach towards the Gibraltar Strait where the real action starts.

The boats will race upwind through the Gibraltar Strait early on Tuesday morning against the infamous Levanter easterly wind that could accelerate to over 30kts, all while penned in by a narrow coast, heavy shipping exclusion zones and coastal fishing nets. Forced into a 1.5-mile wide channel, skippers will be balancing the desire to push for a good result in their last warm-up versus the need to protect new sails that need to last 45,000 miles around the world.

Bouwe Bekking, the skipper of Team Brunel, was very candid about placing a priority on protecting his equipment.

“It’s about finding that balance between pushing the boat, getting it ready, and putting the least amount of hours on the new sails,” he says. “If there is a lot of wind, we’ll want to save our sails… that’s just what we have to do.”

After the Gibraltar Strait, the fleet will continue upwind through the Alboran Sea along the south Spanish coast in an uncomfortable sea state created by fresh easterlies running over the permanent eastwards current created by the Atlantic flowing into the Mediterranean. Turning northwards by Cabo de Gata, the wind is expected to drop to just 5 knots from the east, pushing the homecoming in the Alicante race village deep into Wednesday evening.

“We heard all the stories about how the Race Village in Alicante is nearly ready and everyone is waiting for us to arrive,” Caffari says. “And I know from the moment we arrive, the circus begins and it is pretty much non-stop. The time will fly by and we’ll be crossing that start line and heading away from Alicante for Leg 1 in no time.”

The Prologue Leg starts at 1300 UTC from Lisbon. Follow along with our Blog at www.volvooceanrace.com.

Carl Spackler
10-06-2017, 03:19 PM
It would be faster if they just started in Lisbon!

10-09-2017, 03:55 PM

The images of Volvo Ocean Race boats in near calm conditions during the first 24-hours of the Prologue leg from
Lisbon to Alicante may give the impression of a relaxing cruise down the coast to the gates of the Mediterranean.

TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/dashboard.html)

images courtesy various OBRs CLICKY (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/about/18_Onboard-Reporters.html)



The reality is the contrary. Light, variable conditions are a nightmare for the sailors, who end up agonising over
every tack or gybe in search of each little zephyr. Sails are adjusted, course corrections are a constant, and eyes
strain at the horizon looking for any sign of a change.

During the first 24 hours of the Prologue, a critical decision faced the teams.

“There was a big choice to make at the end of the night,” explained Jérémie Beyou on Dongfeng Racing Team.
“Do you stay offshore like we did, or do you try to escape the light air by the coast?”




The early returns are decidedly in favour of the coastal route, with MAPFRE and Team Brunel marching out to
a 40-plus mile lead over the rest of the fleet who stayed 30 miles further west.

But the entire fleet now needs to navigate past another big light patch, before finding stronger conditions near Gibraltar.

“It’s going to be a long one,” said a frustrated Liz Wardley from Turn the Tide on Plastic, noting it would normally
take about three days to complete the leg.




Her boat was trailing the fleet on the Monday afternoon position report, but making twice the speed of the four boats
immediately in front, so there is still plenty of opportunities as we head into the second night at sea.

10-10-2017, 10:55 AM
Skipper Xabi Fernández's MAPFRE crew is leading the charge into the Mediterranean Sea on Tuesday afternoon.

The Spanish team made a jump on the rest of the fleet by heading further inshore in search of favourable sea breezes following Sunday's start, with Team Brunel benefiting from following a similar track.

Forty-eight hours later, their tactics have paid huge dividends. At the 1300 UTC position update on Tuesday, MAPFRE enjoyed a seven nautical mile lead on Team Brunel, who were themselves almost 40 miles ahead of third-placed Turn the Tide on Plastic.

Dee Caffari’s team went from zeroes to heroes overnight Monday, in large part by making a late break to the coast earlier in the day. Although too late to catch MAPFRE and Team Brunel, they sailed past the four boats parked further offshore.

James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

“We’re finally moving and I’m very excited,” Caffari posted on Monday afternoon. “It was quite painful, but now the sea breeze has filled in… the others are ahead and offshore and they’re not going very fast, so we’re hoping that we can (get past)."

By morning, the Turn the Tide on Plastic crew had squeezed past, vaulting from trailing the fleet to a relatively comfortable third place position.

While MAPFRE march on upwind towards the Alicante finish line just over 250nm away, Team Brunel continue to shadow them ten miles to the south.

Meanwhile things are about to heat up for the chasing pack as they prepare to enter the Strait of Gibraltar.

TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/dashboard.html)

The tiny nine-mile wide stretch between Tarifa on the southern tip of Spain and Morocco in northern Africa is renowned as a navigational challenge thanks to the extremely localised weather caused by the wind and water being forced through such a small gap.

On top of that it's among the world's busiest waterways, with countless ships, fishing boats and pleasure craft to dodge.

According to the Volvo Ocean Race's team of Race Experts, the four teams about to enter the gateway to the Mediterranean – Dongfeng Race Team, team Akzonobel, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag – can expect the breeze to jump from 10 knots to gusts near 30 knots.

Dongfeng Race Team's Daryl Wislang, a four-time veteran of the Volvo Ocean Race, knows all too well what lies ahead.

“We're enjoying the calm before the storm... the storm of Gibraltar,” he said.

Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race

s if the Strait of Gibraltar wasn't narrow enough, a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) implemented by race control to keep the fleet out of the major shipping lanes only makes the job of getting through harder.

“Things are starting to ramp up a bit now – lots of manoevres, lots of tacking as we try to position ourselves in this group of four boats,” said Steve Hayles, Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag's navigator.

“It's a very complex part of the race, but an interesting one. We will have to deal with the Strait of Gibraltar in the first leg of the race (in the opposite direction) so it's a key thing.”

The entire fleet will have made it into the Mediterranean by nightfall on Tuesday, but the Prologue is by no means over yet.

The strong headwinds the fleet experience in the Strait will give way to light 5 to 10 knot northeasterlies in the Alboran Sea on Tuesday night and into Wednesday morning.

This will push the ETA for the leaders into the early hours on Thursday morning, with the rest of the fleet arriving throughout the day, a public holiday in Alicante.

On Wednesday afternoon, the gates to the Alicante Race Village are scheduled to open at 18:00, with festivities and entertainment marking the opening ceremonies from 20:00, culminating with fireworks at 22:00.

Rich Edwards/Volvo Ocean Race

Volvo Ocean Race Prologue Leg – Positions – 1300 UTC, 10 October

1. MAPFRE; distance to finish = 255 nautical mile
2. Team Brunel; + 7 nautical miles
3. Turn the Tide on Plastic; + 44 miles
4. Dongfeng Race Team; +59 miles
5. team AkzoNobel; +60 miles
6. Vestas 11th Hour Racing; +60 miles
7. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag; +61 miles

Prince of Whales
10-10-2017, 11:31 AM
Looks like they may finish before the real race is set to begin!

10-11-2017, 08:27 AM

The Spanish MAPFRE team won the Volvo Ocean Race Prologue Leg on Wednesday, holding off a late charge from Team Brunel after Race Management shortened the course, converting the compulsory gate at Cabo de Gata into the finishing line.

For skipper Xabi Fernández and his team, it’s a continuation of the success MAPFRE found on Leg 0, where the team was the overall winner of the four-stage leg.

“It’s all good on board,” Fernández said shortly after crossing the ‘virtual’ finishing line.

“It’s been really good training. It’s been a close race and I’m really happy with the team’s performance.”

Close behind the winner was Team Brunel.


Both of the leading teams owed their performance in large part to a decision they took early in the leg, shortly after the start, when they hugged the coast of Portugal in contrast to the rest of the fleet further offshore.

The coastal route paid in a big way, and less than 24-hours after the start, MAPFRE and Team Brunel held a decisive lead over the fleet, turning this into a two-boat race for victory.

But the chasing pack had a hard-fought battle for third place, with team AkzoNobel squeaking in just ahead of Turn the Tide on Plastic and Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

“We had a very good race, very enjoyable. Good close racing,” said skipper Simeon Tienpont. “We were in the game all the way. MAPFRE and Brunel went a different route which worked out for them, but with the rest of the fleet we took the best we could out of it and I’m very confident after finishing in third place.”

At the back of the pack, Dongfeng Racing held off Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag.

With the shortened course putting the finishing line some 120 miles away, the teams will now motorsail to Alicante, the start port of the Volvo Ocean Race. The event Race Village opens Wednesday evening, with entertainment, ceremonies and fireworks.

The teams are expected to arrive beginning in the pre-dawn hours on Thursday, ahead of practice racing on Friday and the MAPFRE in-Port Race Alicante on Saturday. Leg One of the Volvo Ocean Race starts on 22 October.

Volvo Ocean Race Prologue Leg – Positions and finishing times (UTC), 11 October

1. Mapfre; finished 09:49 UTC
2. Team Brunel; finished 10:06 UTC
3. team AkzoNobel; finished 12:44 UTC
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic; finished 12:53
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing; finished 12:59
6. Dongfeng Race Team; finished 13:09
7. Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag; 13:17

10-13-2017, 10:01 AM

The first official racing of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race will take place on Saturday afternoon with the MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante, marking the first point-scoring competition of the event.

The starting gun will fire at 14:00 local time (12:00 UTC) with seven of the best sailing teams in the world pushing hard to lay down a marker in the first competitive confrontation with points on the table.

“You always go out and want to win,” said Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Team Brunel, who will have Alberto (Albi) Bolzan on the helm for the race. “He’s an excellent helmsman. He has a lot of hours driving these boats but he’s also one of the smaller guys on board and it’s important to have power on the winches for these in-port races.”

“I think the most important thing for the in-port race is to treat it as practice for the race start for the offshore leg,” said Charles Caudrelier, speaking from experience after starting behind the fleet on the Prologue leg. “Even on the long legs, the start is important… it helps the team to be confident to get the lead early.”


The first official racing of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race will take place on Saturday afternoon with the MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante, marking the first point-scoring competition of the event.

The starting gun will fire at 14:00 local time (12:00 UTC) with seven of the best sailing teams in the world pushing hard to lay down a marker in the first competitive confrontation with points on the table.

“You always go out and want to win,” said Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Team Brunel, who will have Alberto (Albi) Bolzan on the helm for the race. “He’s an excellent helmsman. He has a lot of hours driving these boats but he’s also one of the smaller guys on board and it’s important to have power on the winches for these in-port races.”

“I think the most important thing for the in-port race is to treat it as practice for the race start for the offshore leg,” said Charles Caudrelier, speaking from experience after starting behind the fleet on the Prologue leg. “Even on the long legs, the start is important… it helps the team to be confident to get the lead early.”

“A lot of the sailors on our team come from short course racing,” said Dee Caffari the skipper on Turn the Tide on Plastic. “So they get a real buzz out of this. They’re all over this style of racing. I have to remind them that a Volvo Ocean 65 takes a bit longer to manoeuvre and we can’t go as close to the other boats as they’re used to, so I have to manage expectations a bit!”

The MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante is two laps of a windward-leeward course, set with a target time of 45-minutes. The start time is 14:00 local time, and conditions are forecast to be ideal. During the morning there will be a light northerly wind, but from noon, it will start to turn to the east and strengthen to a solid 10 knots down the race course.

The race course for the MAPFRE In-Port Race is set up with a gate system, with two top (windward) marks and two bottom (leeward) marks. The racing yachts must go between the two buoys at each end but are then free to turn either left or right, increasing the tactical options and opportunities for passing.

In Friday’s practice session, MAPFRE took the win over Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag, who impressed with their best showing, and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, who took third place, completing the podium.

10-13-2017, 01:50 PM

Richard Mason, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race and Simeon Tienpont, Skipper of Team Akzo Nobel
Have been relieved of their duties, sources are reporting... Stand by for more info...



Panama Red
10-13-2017, 02:40 PM
Flicking the skipper just before the start?

Can't be good for morale.

10-14-2017, 09:10 AM

The local heroes on Xabi Fernández's MAPFRE were a popular winner in the first point scoring race of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Fernández and his team made a bold call at the start to duck behind the entire fleet in order to sail up what turned out to be the favoured right hand side of the course, coming from behind to earn a narrow lead at the first gate.

“It was pretty clear from Joan (Vila) and Rob (Greenhalgh) that we wanted to hit the right side of the course in the first upwind looking for more breeze," explained Fernández.

"Our intention was to start on port but Pablo (Arrarte) saw the gap himself when Brunel did a poor tack and they couldn’t accelerate so we want for the cross and we had plenty of room and once we hit the right everything went well.”

MAPFRE then managed to stretch out to a lead of nearly one-minute at the bottom gate, giving them a lead they would enjoy the rest of the way.

"The truth is it hasn’t been an easy race but we took a bit of a risk at the start," Fernández said after the finish. "We saw the gap in front of Brunel and we went for it. Everything went really well."


In fact, the Spanish team sailed a flawless race, in terms of strategy and execution, and were never threatened after grabbing the lead at the first mark.

But behind them, it was a hard-fought race. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag was strong on the first leg, but dropped back over the course of the race. In contrast, Dongfeng Race Team fought up the fleet to grab second place, battling with Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel who were trading places throughout the race.


“There was a lot of action! MAPFRE played their own game alone but behind them, we had a big fight for second place. It’s good, it’s good," said skipper Charles Caudrelier on Dongfeng Race Team.

"We showed how we can sail well, after having not such good results in the last few days. It’s great that we managed to come back and get this result.”

“It was a very exciting first In-Port Race for us," said Charlie Enright, the skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing. "They’re always really close. You know, when you’re racing these 65-foot canting keel boats around a one-mile track it gets interesting, with a lot of exchanges and big headsails and a lot of grinding. We did some good things and some bad things and got third place. All in all, not a bad way to start the campaign.”


"I had a bad start and that put us on the back foot," said Bouwe Bekking the skipper of Team Brunel. "But we sailed the boat very nicely. All in all, we're pretty happy with how we sailed today."

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag made a late gain to grab fifth over team AkzoNobel with Turn the Tide on Plastic never recovering from a poor first leg.

"It was okay. Fifth’s not great but it was okay. We were second at the top but we just made one mistake on the first run and it cost us. Basically, it was good. Amazing to be racing here in Alicante," said David Witt, the skipper of Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag.

MAPFRE In-Port Race Alicante -- Results

Position Team Elapsed Time Points
1 MAPFRE 54:38 7
2 Dongfeng Race Team 56:06 6
3 Vestas 11th Hour Racing 56:54 5
4 Team Brunel 57:13 4
5 Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 58:07 3
6 team AkzoNobel 58:31 2
7 Turn the Tide on Plastic 59:39 1


Dutch Rudder
10-14-2017, 09:40 AM
1st Chuny and now the Shoe.


10-15-2017, 08:48 AM
A message from our sailing and shore teams
Sunday, October 15, 2017
First of all, we want to thank everyone for the many messages and comments the team has received over what has been a difficult few days for us. We appreciate every single one of them – the positive and the negative ones – and we very much value everyone’s passion for the campaign.

Right now team AkzoNobel is dealing with a challenge none of us ever expected to face. It has been tough, but the sailors and the shoreside support staff have every intention to be on the start line next Sunday for the start of Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The complex nature of the events that have unfolded over the last week have meant we have been unable to communicate with our supporters as openly as we would normally do so, and for that we are sorry.

The title partner and owner of the team has said:

– Simeon Tienpont’s management company STEAM breached its contract to manage the team AkzoNobel entry in the Volvo Ocean race 2017-18
– The breach was serious enough for AkzoNobel to terminate the contract with immediate effect and AkzoNobel then took over the full management of the team
– Simeon was offered the option to continue as skipper but opted not to continue and has left the team

AkzoNobel has restated to us its unwavering commitment to our entry in the Volvo Ocean Race.

The sailing team and management are working together to move forward and find the best solution for the race which starts in seven days time.

As soon as the new skipper is confirmed we will make sure our sailing fans are the first to know about it.

In the world of professional sport and particularly in major global sporting competitions like the Volvo Ocean Race, teams have to be able to deal with whatever adversities come their way.

We are all working in the best interest for the team and the Volvo Ocean Race.

Thanks once again for your support which we value even more than ever at this time.

Dumass Head
10-15-2017, 09:29 AM
Wonder what the breach was?

Dirty Sanchez
10-15-2017, 08:28 PM
Maybe hitting on the female crew?

Buzz Light Beer
10-16-2017, 09:01 AM
Better than hitting on a male crew!

Gets lonely out there, days on end, no land in sight.

Just saying!

10-16-2017, 09:35 AM
Scuttlebutt (http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2017/10/16/simeon-tienpont-not-giving-volvo-ocean-race/) just posted this from Simeon:

"The statement by AkzoNobel that Tienpont left his team is absolutely incorrect. AkzoNobel unlawfully terminated its contract with Steam Ocean (skipper Simeon Tienpont) during the Prologue leg on October 10, 2017. Tienpont being casted aside just before the start of the Volvo Ocean Race has caused many insecurities with the crew, who were under contract of Steam Ocean B.V., the management company of Tienpont.

AkzoNobel seriously neglected its sponsor obligations by withholding payments to Steam Ocean. As a result, Tienpont was brought in a position where he could not pay the salaries of his crew over the last months.

Last Saturday (Oct. 14), AkzoNobel offered Tienpont a new contract against worse conditions. Tienpont’s first priority was with his team, reason why he asked AkzoNobel’s full commitment to an instant payment of the crew and a settlement on the early termination of the sponsorship contract. AkzoNobel did not want to make these commitments.

On Sunday (Oct. 15), Tienpont had a meeting with his crew and expressed his confidence that arrangements with AkzoNobel can be made in the coming days. He wants to return on board as skipper and is eager to restore the unique opportunity of sailing a safe and promising Volvo Ocean Race with his team.

Last night, AkzoNobel invited most crew members to work for them directly under similar conditions and to pay the outstanding salaries, however, under the condition that they had to terminate their contractual relationship with Steam Ocean (Tienpont) with immediate effect, putting enormous pressure on the crew to opt for their money and for achieving their personal goal to sail the Volvo Ocean Race.

It is extremely noble of the unpaid crew that they sailed this weekend under these difficult circumstances and without a skipper. Their attitude has avoided unnecessary damage to the Volvo Ocean Race and to AkzoNobel as a sponsor.

The enormous support Tienpont is receiving worldwide is greatly appreciated and gives him the energy to be there for his team, and also for his supporters."

Prince of Whales
10-16-2017, 09:41 AM
Gotta be sucky to be a crew member on that boat about now!

10-16-2017, 11:36 AM

Three-time Volvo Ocean Race winner Brad Jackson has been announced as skipper of the Dutch Volvo Ocean Race entry team AkzoNobel for the 2017-18 edition of the 83,000-kilometer around the world race.

The forty-nine-year-old from Auckland, New Zealand is competing in his seventh Volvo Ocean Race after coaching the Swedish all-women entry Team SCA in the 2014-15 edition.

Jackson will take on the skipper role as well as his watch captain commitments shared with three-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran and 2008-09 edition winner Joca Signorini (BRA). Jackson’s appointment follows the recent departure of Simeon Tienpont (NED) from the team.

Jackson is one of the world’s most experienced and highly regarded professional ocean racers and his name is synonymous with the Volvo Ocean Race.

He was 25 when he won the 1993-94 Whitbread Round the World Race (the Volvo Ocean Race’s previous title) aboard the maxi yacht New Zealand Endeavour, skippered by fellow Kiwi Grant Dalton.

Jackson finished second in the 1997-98 Whitbread Race on Dalton’s new maxi Merit Cup and then fourth in the 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race, racing under Kevin Shoebridge (NZL) aboard Team Tyco, before pulling off back-to-back wins in 2001-02 – with Mike Sanderson (NZL) on ABN AMRO 1 – and in 2005-06 with Torben Grael (BRA) on Ericsson 4.

In 2011-12 Jackson finished third in the Volvo Ocean Race as watch captain aboard Ken Read’s Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg.

As well as never having finished lower than fourth in any of his six Volvo Ocean Race campaigns, Jackson’s record of three race victories is matched by just two other sailors, fellow New Zealanders Stuart Bannatyne and Mark Christensen.

As well as Signorini, Jackson’s crew includes three-time Volvo Ocean Race competitor and 2008-09 edition winner Jules Salter (GBR), 2005-06 competitor Luke Molloy (AUS), Brazilian Olympic gold medalist Martine Grael, Danish match racing skipper Nicolai Sehested, young up-and-coming New Zealand sailor Brad Farrand, and 23-year-old Bermudian Emily Nagel – the youngest female sailor in the current edition of the race.

“It’s a privilege to lead a team of people as talented and committed as this one – both on the water and on shore,” Jackson said. “The credit for the quality of team AkzoNobel should go to Simeon Tienpont.

“We have been through a difficult time since Simeon’s departure, but I’m proud of the way everyone at team AkzoNobel has responded and now it’s time for us to focus on the race, which begins in just six days’ time.

“I’m grateful for the support I have received from within the team. It’s not the ideal preparation for the race that we had hoped for, but I know we can move forward quickly and be racing hard on start day.”

The team will announce the ninth crew member for Leg 1 in the coming days.

Team AkzoNobel sailing team line up:

Brad Jackson (NZL) – skipper
Brad Farrand (NZL) – bowman, sail trimmer
Martine Grael (BRA) – sail trimmer
Luke Molloy (AUS) – helmsman, sail trimmer
Emily Nagel (BER) – sail trimmer
Jules Salter (GBR) – navigator
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) – boat captain, helmsman, sail trimmer
Joca Signorini (BRA) – watch captain, helmsman, sail trimmer

10-16-2017, 03:08 PM

In somewhat shocking news, a surprise entry for the 2017-2018 Volvo Ocean Race has
arrived overnight in Alicante. Team Wooden Shoe appeared in the wee hours of the
morning as crews assembled.

No spokesperson could be contacted.

Any connection to the recently departed Simeon Tienpont is currently unknown.

Panama Red
10-16-2017, 04:08 PM
Too fast to be a Trojan Shoe, you reckon?

10-17-2017, 07:42 AM
Wonder what it rates?

Prince of Whales
10-17-2017, 08:38 AM
Depends on inshore or offshore mode.

Try to be more specific.

10-17-2017, 09:50 AM

A fast and furious training program has begun in Alicante.

Rumor has it that Roy Heiner will be leading the charge!

Carl Spackler
10-17-2017, 12:40 PM
They are gonna clog up the start line.

10-17-2017, 03:31 PM

New team AkzoNobel skipper Brad Jackson reacts to the news that he's leading the Dutch campaign as the fleet prepares for Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race.


The Volvo Ocean Race, now in it’s 13th edition, is back. Starting October 22 in Alicante, Spain, seven teams will race around the world, stopping in 12 cities before finishing June 2018 in The Hague, Holland.

10-17-2017, 09:12 PM
I'm pulling for the shoe!

10-18-2017, 08:10 AM
They are gonna clog up the start line.

That was uncalled for!


10-20-2017, 11:20 AM
The Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18: Seven skippers. One goal. "We all want to win"


The ultimate test in team sport, the Volvo Ocean Race, starts on Sunday, when seven of the best sailing teams in the world cross the starting line off Alicante, Spain.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 will test the crews on a 45,000 nautical mile race course, through some of the most challenging waters in the world, including more miles in the extremes of the Southern Ocean.

On Friday, the seven skippers faced the international media at the opening press conference. Here’s what they said, in their own words:

Charles Caudrelier, skipper, Dongfeng Race Team, comparing his preparation for this race, to last time: “Last time, when we started the project, we were in China meeting Chinese sailors who had never spent a night offshore, and teaching them how to sail. This time we started in Lisbon, with a team I already know. Since the beginning we are 100-percent focused on the performance. That makes a big change.

What’s the difference between doing the race as crew and skipper? The salary (laughing). There’s also the responsibility, of course. When I did the Volvo Ocean Race with Groupama, when I arrived at every stopover my mind was able to switch off. This time, throughout 9 months you never stop. The big pressure never stops. But I have a strong team around me so I’m a lucky skipper I think.”

Dee Caffari, skipper, Turn the Tide on Plastic, comparing sailing single-handed to fully-crewed: “In terms of sailing around the world solo or with a team, it makes a big difference when you have people to share it with and you have more pairs of hands when things happen. The intensity is the thing that gave me the buzz in a team environment, and knowing that you’re pushing 100-percent all the time. Your peers around you punish any mistake you make. It’s that intensity that attracts me.

“Everyone talks about Turn the Tide on Plastic as inexperienced. A lot of my sailors are first timers but they are very skilled sailors and they can make a boat go fast. We just need to make sure we don’t make any mistakes, and that we sail to the right place.

“To create an opportunity for young sailors to sail in the Volvo Ocean Race and see them grow and blossom is a great privilege – as well as getting to spread a great sustainability message.”

David Witt, skipper, Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, on his motivation for doing the race and his teammates: “It’s the best team sport in the world, I think. I got a good commercial offer – and I couldn’t find a better way to lose weight!!

“As has been recorded, I’m a lunatic but I think we’re all lunatics together. The young kid (Ben Piggott) started sailing dinghies with me three years ago and ended up here. He’s still dreaming.

“Right now, I’m finding it harder to stay on shore and stay out of trouble. As long as you have good people around you, it’s fine, and it’s safer on the boat then any other race I’ve been in.”

Brad Jackson, skipper, team AkzoNobel, on taking over as skipper in the week before the start: “Team-wise, we’re just focusing on the race. Basically, we have the same team as we had before except (without) Simeon. It’s thanks to him that we have the team we have. Not too much has changed in terms of how we’re going to work on board or the crew morale. The last few days we’ve been able to focus on what we’re going to do.


“We were lucky that Rome Kirby was available and qualified and ready to go. He’s another Under-30 so that brings us up to 5 Under-30s in the team. It’s a young team but Rome has done the race before with me on PUMA and he has a lot of experience for a young guy. He’s a young, fast guy.

“I’m in this role because it’s necessary, for sure. It hasn’t been a dream of mine to be a skipper. It’s not something I’ve felt the need to do, but the situation has arisen and I’m happy to take it on. I wouldn’t t do it if I didn’t think I had the full support of my team. I hope I enjoy it, I hope it goes well, but it’s not something I’ve been pushing for, or jumping around, saying, ‘Pick me! Pick me!’”

Xabi Fernández, skipper MAPFRE, on being tabbed the favourite based on pre-race results: “For us it’s not about being the favourites. That’s not something we talk about, but we do realise that people think that way. It just makes me think we are ready. We have to sail as fast as we can. I think we are ready but I know these guys around us, on the other teams, are going to be ready as well.

“Hopefully, we can win. I don’t know. We’ve been close before and it didn’t happen. We know how difficult and long it is to win the race.”

Bouwe Bekking, skipper, Team Brunel, on why he keeps coming back and how he recruited his team: “It’s the best thing you can do… Everyone sitting here is a competitor and a sportsman. We all want to win. We have a very good chance of winning this competition.

“We were late at the table but that actually gave us an opportunity. The America’s Cup had just finished. I was racing on the J class and bumped into Carlo Huisman, who had been sailing on Team New Zealand. Through him I got in contact with Pete Burling and the next thing I knew we had the golden boy on the team. He’s won the Olympics, won the America’s Cup, and we also have Kyle Langford, who won the Cup twice.


“The America’s Cup sailors approach the race differently from us, the old school guys. They have a great intensity, and they look hard at everything to do with performance.”

Charlie Enright, skipper, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, comparing his youthful team in the last race, to the experienced crew he has now: “We’re still a young and fresh team. The last time, youth was our thing. Having been around the planet now we’ve logged a lot of miles and we’ve added some crew with a lot of experience. We showed a lot of improvement in the last race from the start in Alicante to the finish in Gothenburg and we want to maintain that trajectory. We won the last leg of the last race and we want to do the same here.”

Speaking about the rule change for 2017-18 incentivising the inclusion of female sailors:

Bouwe Bekking: “It’s great for sailing in general. It would have been very nice to choose our own team but as soon as the rules came out, I said we have to have 2 girls on board. We’ve got the best two girls we can. Abby Ehler is our boat captain and Annie Lush running the sail department. They’re great sailors with serious roles.”

Xabi Fernández: “I guess like Bouwe, new rules are always scary but we trialled some people. We have Sophie Ciszek, who sailed on Team SCA. She knows the boat, is very strong, does the bow and is very complete. And we trialled Támara very hard. She’s very talented and comes from the Olympics, having won gold in London. It was harder for her but I’m very pleased that she improved a lot and was able to win her place.”


Charlie Enright: “I was excited to see the rule change. I think the Volvo Ocean Race was right to incentivise rather than mandate the change. We did two trans-atlantics immediately after getting the boat and it was quickly apparent that it was going to be a competitive advantage.”

David Witt: “We’ve always had girls on our team for the past 15 years so I think we have an advantage here. Steve (Hayles) and I did some math. We think the boats are slow and underpowered at times and we think the lighter you are the better. Overall, we think we’ll have an advantage being lighter. We’ve decided to go with eight sailors on board so I can give Steve more support downstairs. Sailing the boat (with 7) isn’t hard but it is tough performing more than one role (and supporting the navigator). Annemieke Bes is another lunatic.”

Dee Caffari: “I would hazard a guess that those who were reluctant to sail under the new rule can now say it’s not that bad.”

CREW LISTS LEG ONE (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/mediahub/message-board/306_Leg-1-Crew-List.html)

The start of the Volvo Ocean Race is at 14:00 local time (12:00 UTC) on Sunday, 22 October. Leg One is a 1,450 nautical mile sprint to Lisbon, taking the fleet through the Strait of Gibraltar, past the island of Porto Santo, and then to the finishing line off Lisbon. The finish is currently projected for Saturday 28 October.

The forecast for Sunday is perfect for start time with Northeasterlies of 15 knots in the bay, building to near 20 knots meaning the first part of the leg, to Gibraltar, should be fast, in downwind sailing conditions, with an ETA at the Strait approximately 24 hours after the start.

The start of the race will be live-streamed on www.volvooceanrace.com and www.facebook.com/volvooceanrace beginning at 13:30 local time (11:30 UTC).

Updated position reports, race blog, as well as a RAW feed of photos, videos, audio and text direct from each of the crews is at www.volvooceanrace.com.

10-21-2017, 10:45 AM
After months of the requisite hot air dock talk in the torrid lead up to the Volvo Ocean Race, race start day will dawn clear and cool in Alicante. As the spectator fleet heads out to surround the in shore race course, in preparation for the start at 1400 CEST (1200 UTC), the wind in the bay will be from the north east at 12 knots, rising to 15 if we're lucky with the seabreeze.


The short legs and the triangular race course in the bay will favour a simple sail set up and we'll probably see all of the Volvo 65s sporting their MHO (Mast Head Zero) Code Zero for all the legs. After last week's MAPFRE In Port Race all the teams are experienced in using this big sail on short legs, and they'll be able to keep the same sail for the reach south passed Tabarca island as they head south towards the Alboran sea.


After 12 hours of racing, the fleet will be sailing fully downwind and should be gybing in towards Cabo de Gata, some 150 nautical miles south, to benefit from an acceleration and bend in the wind at the headland. Depending on how the local effect shapes the wind, there could be as little as 10 knots although after the light winds encountered in Leg Zero the teams are well practised in these conditions.


24 hours into the race and teams will be lining up for the Gibraltar Strait, the Rock of Gibraltar looming on the western horizon. As teams file into the narrow straight, wind strength will double from 14 to over 30, leading to frantic sail changes as teams negotiate accelerating wind, choppy waters and one of the world's busiest shipping channels all at the same time.


On Tuesday, 48 hours after the start, the sleigh ride comes to an end at the end of the acceleration zone and the fleet will be required to negotiate a ridge of high pressure, and its associated light winds, continuing onwards. Where to from there? Race director Phil Lawrence has reserved the right to lengthen the route with additional waypoints in order to secure an on-time arrival into Lisbon for the weekend.

10-21-2017, 11:04 AM

Sailor Simeon Tienpont has won the arbitration case against AkzoNobel. The Dutchman would originally scheduled as skipper in the Volvo Ocean Race on a boat of the multinational Volvo competitor, but became completely unexpectedly inactive at the end of last week. Whether Tienpont departs from Alicante tomorrow is unclear.

What exactly went wrong between Tienpont and Akzo Nobel is not entirely clear. The sponsor blames the company of Tienpont (STEAM Ocean Racing) financial mismanagement and he was then retired from his position. The sailor sought relief to the Dutch Arbitration Institute, which met with Tienpont behind closed doors.

Tienpont, who prepared his crew for months with his crew, wants nothing more than still starting in the Volvo Ocean Race. The boats leave tomorrow for the first stage from Spain.



Dutch Rudder
10-21-2017, 04:20 PM
I wonder what authority they really have over the Volvo?

10-22-2017, 08:38 AM

Intensity and action at the highest level as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet takes the Leg 1 start

Dongfeng Race Team powered its way into an early lead on Sunday, pushing penalties on its two closest competitors, in hard-fought racing as the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 got underway

Conditions couldn’t have been better for the start in Alicante, Spain on Sunday afternoon.

The fleet of seven of the best sailing teams in the world started Leg 1, a 1,450 nautical mile sprint to Lisbon, Portugal in bright sunshine and a 15-20 knot Easterly breeze.

The bay off the Alicante sea front was crowded with hundreds of spectator boats, ringing a short inshore race course, before the fleet was free to fly off, downwind, towards Gibraltar.

aerial images Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race


They were treated to some of the most intense racing ever seen in the opening minutes of a Volvo Ocean Race. The highlight came on the approach to the final turning mark before leaving the bay, when Dongfeng Race Team came screaming in on a collision course with Team Brunel and MAPFRE, both of whom were forced into a quick gybe to avoid the right of way Chinese boat.

Separated by less than a meter at times, as they went through their manoeuvres, the on water Umpires judged neither Brunel nor MAPFRE had kept sufficiently clear and penalised both, pushing them back down the fleet.

“This is going to be such a close race, every meter counts,” Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier had said before the start. “We know we will be fighting all the way to the finish.”

After winning round one of the fight, Dongfeng then sped off with the lead, with Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Turn the Tide on Plastic in close pursuit. All three would thread their way through the spectator fleet, at times within an arm's length of the astonished guests, before finding a clear passage out to sea.



Photo by Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race.

Before racing started, the intensity and drama played out dockside, with team AkzoNobel submitting its final crew list just ahead of the dockout time.

The team has been in flux since it was announced one week ago that original skipper Simeon Tienpont had left the team and had been replaced by watch captain Brad Jackson.

But on Friday evening, Tienpont won an arbitration judgement allowing him to return to the team and just hours before start time, the team submitted an updated crew list with Tienpont leading a newly constituted squad. Jackson, as well as previous navigator Jules Salter, are not on the boat.

“I am relieved to be back with my team and excited to be getting our Volvo Ocean Race campaign underway,” Tienpont said in a statement thanking Jackson as well as Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, who agreed to let António Fontes race with the AkzoNobel crew for Leg 1.

With the start behind them, the teams will settle into the routine of life at sea, as they begin the first leg of what will be a 45,000 nautical mile race around the planet. The intensity shown during the first hour of the first leg, when the fight was for every meter, demonstrates just how competitive this Volvo Ocean Race will be.

The ultimate test of these teams has started.

Dutch Rudder
10-22-2017, 09:19 AM
I guess that answers that!

10-22-2017, 09:38 AM

Following extensive discussions, we are pleased to announce that team AkzoNobel will be starting the Volvo Ocean Race today under skipper Simeon Tienpont.

Team AkzoNobel’s crew list for Leg 1 is:

Simeon Tienpont (NED) – skipper, watch captain
Brad Farrand (NZL)
Antonio Fontes (POR)
Martine Grael (BRA)
Luke Molloy (AUS)
Ross Monson (GBR) - navigator
Emily Nagel (GBR/BER)
Nicolai Sehested (DEN) – watch captain

Brad Jackson (NZL), Jules Salter (GBR) and Joca Signorini (BRA), have decided not to sail the first leg and are considering their future plans whilst ensuring that the boat is ready to race today and assisting AkzoNobel to achieve its goal. Rome Kirby (USA) has also decided not to sail.

The opening leg of the 83,000-kilometer, eight-month around-the-world race is scheduled to start at 1200 UTC (1400 CEST) today and takes the fleet from Alicante, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal.

Tienpont commented: “This has obviously been an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved since we arrived here in Alicante just 10 days ago. I have now reached an agreement with AkzoNobel and all parties now want to put this behind us and focus on our campaign for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.

“I would like to thank Brad Jackson for stepping up at such a challenging time to keep team AkzoNobel moving forward with our preparations for the race. Thanks also go to Joca Signorini and Jules Salter for their contributions to the campaign so far and also to Rome Kirby. We are grateful to Sun Hung Kai Scallywag team owner Seng Huang Lee and skipper David Witt for loaning us Antonio Fontes for this first leg.

“Personally, I am relieved to be back with my team and excited to be getting our Volvo Ocean Race campaign underway.”

Built to List
10-22-2017, 03:46 PM
Can't imagine the morale on that boat.

Cleveland Steamer
10-23-2017, 08:07 AM
They seem to be sailing well

10-23-2017, 09:07 AM

TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/dashboard.html)

An eventful opening 24 hours in the Volvo Ocean Race has seen skipper Charlie Enright’s Vestas 11th Hour Racing grab the lead as the fleet converge on the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Vestas boat, along with team AkzoNobel, were the first to make a break for the Spanish coast as night fell on Sunday evening, where they benefited from favourable conditions and emerged in front of the fleet.

“We took the inshore route with good angle and we know we crossed ahead of the fleet when we converged with them again,” explained Enright. “For now the only boat in sight is AkzoNobel. But we like our sail set up. We feel like we’re going through the water well.”

That’s an understatement. On Monday afternoon, the team, along with second placed AkzoNobel is picking up a nice shift as well as increased pressure and the leading pair will likely extend their lead into the Strait.

For team AkzoNobel, it’s been a whirlwind 24-hours. After three of the team’s most experienced crew elected not to sail Leg 1, reinstated skipper Simeon Tienpont submitted his final crew list just an hour before leaving the dock. But the new configuration has been on fire since leaving Alicante, and at the 13:00 UTC position report was in a solid second place.

Splitting the difference between the northern and southern tracks has been David Witt’s Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag team, fighting hard now to hold off MAPFRE, who will be just a few tenths of a mile behind.

In contrast, Dongfeng Race Team, one of the pre-race favourites, has fallen back since leading the fleet out of the host city of the event, Alicante, Spain.

"Last night we lost a lot. We are in 5th or 6th position, which is hard for us," said Chen JinHao (Horace) on Dongfeng this morning. "Pascal and Charles were working all night so we can be faster. It was a bad night, but sailing is sailing. We can come back!”

Of course it is very early: one day into what is projected to be a six or seven day, 1,450 nautical mile leg from Alicante to Lisbon, Portugal.

And certainly the leaders are under no illusion as to what awaits them after the passage through one of the busiest stretches of water in the world.

“The race won’t be won or lost (in the Strait),” Enright said. “And there’s a big patch of light breeze waiting for us on the other side.”

The wind is forecast to build through the Strait and for the exit into the Atlantic. But overnight, it will ease, and the concertina effect may bring the backmarkers back into the leaders. In a very real way, the race has just started.

Leg 1 - Position Report – Monday 23 October – 13:00 UTC

1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- distance to finish -- 1096 nautical miles
2. team AkzoNobel + 6nm
3. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +15
4. MAPFRE +15
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic +17
6. Team Brunel +18
7. Dongfeng Race Team +19

Prince of Whales
10-23-2017, 10:28 AM
Wonder how often the wind blows that hard in that direction at the strait?

10-24-2017, 08:18 AM
Volvo Ocean Race fleet likely to compress as light winds block the way

Vestas 11th Hour Racing still occupy the top spot after a challenging first 50 hours of the opening leg from Alicante

James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet was punching into the Atlantic on Tuesday after surviving their first test from the weather gods through the Gibraltar Strait overnight.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing still occupy the top spot after a challenging first 50 hours of the opening leg from Alicante, Spain, to Lisbon, Portugal, that has seen them dominate the leaderboard over their six rivals.

At one point skipper Charlie Enright's crew stretched out their advantage to more than 27 miles as they were catapulted out of the Strait by following winds gusting as high as 35 knots.

“We had a good night overnight, getting fired out of the Gibraltar jet,” Vestas 11th Hour Racing navigator Simon 'SiFi' Fisher said. “We were happy to wake up to see that all of the boats are behind us and mostly on our line.”

Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race

However that lead has started to be whittled away as the frontrunners reach painfully light winds blocking their path south west as they point for the turning mark at Porto Santo in the Madeira Islands.

Although Vestas 11th Hour Racing still have a comfortable 19-nautical-mile buffer, the 1300 UTC position report revealed that speeds on the blue boat have dropped to an excruciating 1.7 knots.

Meanwhile Spanish crew MAPFRE, the real winners overnight rocketing from fourth to second, were making 11.4 knots – the fastest in the fleet – from their position as the northernmost boat.

MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernandez worked his team hard through the night, putting in 11 gybes to stay within a narrow band of pressure.

Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race

The effort paid off, and MAPFRE were able to overhaul both Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and team Akzonobel.

“It was tough conditions with winds up to 35 knots, and we had to throw in some gybes,” explained MAPFRE navigator Joan Vila. “Right now we are waiting for the shift to gybe to port, and then we know it will become very tricky and light. To be honest, anything can still happen in this leg.”

In stark contrast to the past 24 hours of full-on downwind action the breeze is forecast to drop to less than seven knots and swing 180 degrees, resulting in the fleet sailing upwind in light wind mode.

Lying between them and Porto Santo is an enormous wind hole 100 nautical miles wide which the navigators must carefully pick their way through.

It is highly likely to have a concertina effect on the fleet whereby any gains made thus far are largely wiped out as the fleet compresses.

Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race

That's bad news for the leaders but will be welcomed by the likes of Dongfeng Race Team, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Brunel further back down the track.

Turn the Tide on Plastic boat captain Liz Wardley said they were happy to have just made it through their first big breeze test in one piece.

“It got pretty hairy last night and we ended up with 36, 37 knots of breeze downwind gybing through the Strait, avoiding the traffic separation zone,” she said. “But we got through it pretty well mid fleet, and now the breeze is slowly dying out. In a few hours' time we're probably going to have a very different breeze of five to seven knots. We've had a few transitions to go through and we're just crawling back into the fleet now after a few losses last night. We've got good speed on the guys around us so we're looking good.”

The fleet might be slowing down but the action is just heating up.



TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/dashboard.html)

10-25-2017, 09:39 AM

After 24 hours of tricky sailing through light, fickle breeze the Volvo Ocean Race fleet were today locked in an all-out drag race towards Porto Santo, the first major turning mark in Leg 1.

Leaders Vestas 11th Hour Racing are now within 200 nautical miles of the waypoint, a tiny island that forms part of Portugal's Madeira archipelago.

At the 1300 UTC position update they had a six-mile jump on second placed MAPFRE, with team Akzonobel a further nine miles back.



The three frontrunners were matched for speed at around 10 knots– and with the 11-knot breeze due to stick around it's likely that Charlie Enright's outfit will win the sprint to Porto Santo, rounding it in the early hours of Thursday morning.

If Vestas 11th Hour Racing can hold on to the top spot until then it will pay big dividends – they will be able to accelerate away as they bear away, hoist their downwind sails and head north towards a new waypoint added to the course (see below) and then on to the finish at Lisbon, Portual.

Meanwhile 30 miles to the north-east of Vestas 11th Hour Racing a battle was raging for fourth place.



The second group of boats – Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Dongfeng Race Team, Team Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic – were practically lined up with a five-mile west to east lateral split at 1300 UTC.

All seven teams have now tapped into the new wind following a painfully slow night that saw many of them bobbing along at just a few knots.

“The last two nights have definitely been quite contrasting – the night before we had 30 knots and plenty of water going everywhere, while last night we were drifting along at two or three knots just trying to keep the sails full,” explained Team Brunel's Peter Burling.

“It's interesting for us to be in this group of four boats, trying to chase down the leaders. They've got a pretty good jump on us but we're learning a lot by sailing so close to these boats for such a long period of time.”

Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag crew had more to worry about than where their rivals were – in the early hours of the morning skipper David Witt called everyone up on deck when there was an issue with the swivel pin at the top of their masthead Code Zero, sending the enormous headsail into the water.




It could have proved costly for the Hong Kong-flagged team but with all hands on deck they made light work of the recovery and were back to full speed in no time, with minimal impact on their position.

“We're happy to be fighting in the pack of four boats, we've been sailing three miles away from each other for most of the past 48 hours now,” said Ben Piggott, in a written report from the boat.

With 30 miles to make up on the leaders and fourth place to defend, the enormity of the challenge ahead was not lost on Dongfeng Race Team's Stu Bannatyne, among the fleet's most experienced sailors with seven previous Volvo Ocean Races to his name.

“We've got a lot of work to do yet,” he said. “It's looking very difficult for us to get back into that lead group at the moment. We need to make sure we stay ahead of the group we're in.”

The backmarkers will have an additional opportunity to make up ground as earlier on Wednesday, Race Director Phil Lawrence communicated a change in the race course for Leg 1 to the competitors.

A virtual mark, called ‘Porto Santo North’, approximately 220 miles due north of Port Santo Island, has been added as a mark of the course. Like Porto Santo, the teams will need to leave this mark to starboard, before turning east to head to Lisbon.

Leg 1 has a target time of seven days, and this additional waypoint adds approximately 200 miles to the race course pushing back the ETA for the leaders at the finish line in Lisbon to late Saturday morning.

Leg 1 – Position Report – Wednesday 25 October (Day 4) – 13:00 UTC

1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- distance to finish – 850.9 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE + 6.3nm
3. team AkzoNobel +15.0
4. Dongfeng Race Team +27.4
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +28.2
6. Team Brunel +28.7
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic +29.4

TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/dashboard.html)


10-25-2017, 12:06 PM

The Volvo Ocean Race, now in it’s 13th edition, is back. Starting October 22 in Alicante, Spain, seven teams will race around the world, stopping in 12 cities before finishing June 2018 in The Hague, Holland.

In this week's race summary:
- Footage of the village and festivities, planes flying over, dock out scenes
- Footage of the start and near collisions with the spectator fleet
- Footage of Dongfeng in the lead stretching away from Alicante
- Onboard interview with Carolyn Brouwer
- Footage of when Vestas and AkzoNobel moved into the lead
- Onboard interviews from about their move
- Tactical discussionas the fleet spreads out in the Atlantic

Charlie Tuna
10-25-2017, 12:12 PM
The Muricans are winning.

That never happens.

10-26-2017, 09:25 AM

Speeds are up as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet left the island of Porto Santo to starboard early this morning and turned north, aiming towards the final mark of the course before the finishing line off Lisbon, Portugal.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing, having survived a scare when a ballast tank hose failed, dumping 800 litres of water in the bilge, was first around and is now charging towards the new ‘virtual mark’ set yesterday, dubbed Porto Santo North.




It’s nearly directly downwind, meaning the teams will be gybing towards the mark, but this part of Leg 1 is largely setting up as a speed contest.

MAPFRE isn’t making it easy on the leader. With a different sail configuration, the Spanish team has been able to match speed with the Vestas boat, while sailing a slightly more favourable direction towards the mark, making a gain of nearly 4-miles between the 07:00 and 13:00 UTC position reports.

“Conditions are pretty nice,” said Rob Geenhalgh on MAPFRE. “20 knots of wind, and making about 20 knots of boatspeed, but everyone has good speeds and good wind now… This run down to the waypoint is a bit of a boatspeed charge. We’ve stayed out to the east a bit, hoping we can cut that deficit down to less than 10 miles by the waypoint.”

The AkzoNobel boat continues to hold third place, relatively safe compared to the chasing pack but as yet unable to make inroads on the pair in front.



Positions in the chasing pack remain in flux. Less than 10 miles separate fourth from seventh place. Every mile gained is hard-earned. Any lapse is punished.

“The subtleties of racing these boats is something we’re still working on,” said Steve Hayles, the navigator on Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. “At times we’re quick, but at other times, our pace is lacking.

“But an opportunity to race hard against teams like Brunel and Dongfeng, second-generation teams who have done this race before, is an awesome opportunity to learn.”


TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/dashboard.html)


Prince of Whales
10-26-2017, 09:30 AM
Wonder who stepped on the hose and broke it loose?

Buzz Light Beer
10-26-2017, 10:41 AM

No male chauvinistic jokes about bailing being women's work?

10-27-2017, 11:39 AM
A final fight for position before the finish in Lisbon


As the teams approach the final 24 hours of racing in Leg 1, there is plenty to race for, with positions and valuable leg points at stake...
October 27, 2017
14:11 UTC
Vestas 11th Hour Racing is today within 235 nautical miles of the Leg 1 finish line – and a stunning opening stage victory.

Charlie Enright's crew led the seven-strong fleet around the Porto Santo North waypoint, a last-minute addition to the course, at 2200 UTC on Thursday evening, marking the start of the final sprint to Lisbon.



With a healthy lead over second-placed MAPFRE of almost 22 miles, Vestas 11th Hour Racing must now be considered the odds-on favourites to arrive in Lisbon first.

A further 20 miles behind the leading pair a scrap is on between team AkzoNobel and Dongfeng Race Team, the Chinese flagged crew having crept up on their Dutch rivals to get within eyesight.

Less than a mile separates the pair – virtually a dead heat – meaning the podium places in the inaugural battle of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race are far from secure just yet, something Vestas 11th Hour Racing sailor Tom Johnson pointed out in an interview on Friday afternoon.

“Everyone’s thinking about the finish, but nobody is talking about it yet,” he said. “We have to get the job done and get across the line… if everyone does their job well on board, we’ll be ok. We can’t relax… we have to keep making sure we are sailing as fast as we can.”

As of Friday afternoon on the 13:00 UTC position report, the teams were sailing on a tight reach in a steady 11 to 13-knot south-easterly breeze with one last transition to make – across a weak 100-mile wide high pressure ridge.

Crucially, it could provide one last opportunity for a reshuffle in the fleet in the final few miles.

Throughout the fleet, each team was on the lookout for any sniff of a chance to improve their positions. Even if it only comes just ahead of the finishing line.




“The next chance for us to gain miles or even pass Vestas is at the entrance to Lisbon, which is always tricky,” said MAPFRE boat captain Antonio 'Neti' Cuervas-Mons. “It's pretty much straight forward for now, and we'll have to see what happens closer to Lisbon.”

Meanwhile Dongfeng Race Team On Board Reporter Richard Edwards told the Volvo Ocean Race Daily Live Show today how his team were so close to AkzoNobel they could now read the branding on their sails.



“We'd love to be on the podium but we'd also love to be fourth or fifth – we just don't want to go back any further,” he said. “We've learned a lot on this leg so it's all good. You're not going to win the race in leg 1 – no-one is.”

The latest ETA for the first arrival into Lisbon is near 14:00 UTC on Saturday afternoon, with the rest of fleet arriving throughout the afternoon and evening.

For race fans, the online tracker will now be updating in real time through to the finish at www.volvooceanrace.com/en/dashboard.html

We will also have a live arrivals show for the finish on www.volvooceanrace.com and our Facebook page @volvooceanrace


Leg 1 – Position Report – Friday 27 October (Day 6) – 13:00 UTC

1.Vestas 11th Hour Racing - distance to finish – 233.7 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE + 21.9nm
3. team AkzoNobel +41.3
4. Dongfeng Race Team +42.0
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +50.0
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +61.7
7. Team Brunel +61.7

10-28-2017, 08:59 AM

FLASH-- Vestas 11th Hour Racing win Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race

Vestas 11th Hour Racing have won Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race, crossing the finish line in the River Tagus in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday afternoon...


Vestas 11th Hour Racing have won Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race, crossing the finish line in the River Tagus in Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday afternoon.

It's a tremendous victory for American skipper Charlie Enright and his team, who earn 8 points for their efforts (including a one point 'bonus' for winning the leg).

It wasn't easy. The wind shut down on the final approach, and an early morning lead of 34-nautical miles over second-placed MAPFRE was whittled down to 10-miles, with the finish in sight, but the current in the river even pushing the leaders back out to sea in some of the lulls.

But the crew on the Vestas boat held their nerve, tacking first up and then down, zigzagging towards the line, into agonisingly light headwinds.

"It's incredible," said Mark Towill, Team Director, from on board the boat moments before the finish.

"What a way to kick off the event. it's been an incredible performance for the team... It's been a challenging leg. We still have a lot to improve and long way to go... Today is our day, we'll enjoy it, but then we have to get back to work and focus on the next leg."

Charlie Enright is the third American skipper to win Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race. The others were John Kostecki, on illbruck in 2001-02, and Paul Cayard on EF Language in 1997-98.

Both of those teams went on to an overall victory – so the omens for Charlie Enright are certainly good.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing – which carries US and Danish flags – are the first American flagged team to win Leg 1. They are also the first Danish team to win a leg.

The light near-shore conditions are forecast to slow the pace of the Spanish MAPFRE team, expected to finish some two hours behind the winners.

More to come with reaction from all the teams as they finish Leg 1 and arrive at the Race Village in Lisbon.

Leg 1 – Results – Saturday 28 October (Day 7) - 14:09 UTC

1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- FINISHED -- 14:08.45 UTC
2. MAPFRE + 9.3 nm
3. Dongfeng Race Team +20.3
4. team AkzoNobel +24.1
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +44.2
6. Team Brunel +66.4
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic +67.3

10-28-2017, 09:43 AM
Congrats to the 11th Hour crew!

11-03-2017, 09:48 AM
Team AkzoNobel will field a full-strength nine-strong crew for the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race to Cape Town, South Africa which starts from Lisbon, Portugal on Sunday, November 5.

The 12,964-kilometer second leg sees the return of British navigator Jules Salter and the introduction of two new crew members: serial high-performance dinghy world champion and five-time Volvo Ocean Race competitor Chris Nicholson from Australia; and Dutch double-Olympian and two-time America’s Cup winner Peter van Niekerk.


“It is great to have Jules back and to be able to announce two more great sailors in Chris and Peter,” commented skipper Simeon Tienpont (NED).

Nicholson (48), who will sail as watch captain with team AkzoNobel, represented Australia in the super-fast 49er skiff class at the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games and won four consecutive world championships in the highly competitive class between 1997 and 2000.

He has raced the Volvo Ocean Race five times previously: in 2001-02 aboard Amer Sports 1 (3rd place); in 2005-06 on the Spanish boat movistar (6th); in 2008-09 on Puma Ocean Racing (2nd); in 2011-12 as skipper of the Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand campaign (2nd); and in the 2014-15 edition as skipper of Team Vestas Wind (7th).


“Chris and I are great friends and in the last race when he was skipper of Team Vestas Wind, he asked me to step on board at short notice,” said Tienpont. “Now it is me doing the asking and I’m glad that he has jumped at the chance to join us.

“He really needs no introduction as his pedigree in the Volvo Ocean Race is so well known. I’m confident that he will be able to help us push us along the performance curve to where we need to be and I’m really looking forward to sailing with him again.”


Dutchman van Niekerk (45) won the 31st and 32nd America’s Cups with Swiss syndicate Alinghi and has competed twice before in the Volvo Ocean Race: first in 1997-98 – when the race was known as the Whitbread Race – with Brunel Sunergy (8th place); and 10 years later in 2008-09 with Delta Lloyd (7th).

He finished fourth in the Soling class at the Sydney 2000 Olympics with helmsman Roy Heiner and fellow crewman Dirk de Ridder, and 14th in the Star class at the Athens 2004 Games, crewing for Mark Neeleman.

In the summer of 2016 van Niekerk was part of the crew of the American 100-foot ocean-racer Comanche that smashed the monohull transatlantic record time for a passage from the US to England.

“Peter is an incredible all-round sailor and I’m really pleased he is joining us,” Tienpont said. “He was one of the youngest Dutch sailors ever to do the Volvo Ocean Race and now he is always in demand as an ocean racer.

“His skills as a helmsman and sail trimmer will help us a lot and we are all very pleased to welcome him on board for this Volvo Ocean Race.”

The second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 to Cape Town is scheduled to start from Lisbon at 1400 UTC (1500 CET) and is expected to take the seven-boat fleet of identical Volvo Ocean 65 yachts around three weeks to complete.

Team AkzoNobel crew list for Leg 2:

Simeon Tienpont (NED) - skipper

Brad Farrand (NZL)

Martine Grael (BRA)

Luke Molloy (AUS)

Emily Nagel (GBR/BER)

Chris Nicholson (AUS)

Jules Salter (GBR)

Nicolai Sehested (DEN)

Peter van Niekerk (NED)

11-03-2017, 11:11 AM

Lisbon – Cape Town

In-Port Race: 3 November, 14.00 UTC
Start: 5 November 14.00 UTC
Estimated Finish: 24-28 November
Approximate length: 7,000 nautical miles

The first real ocean leg. Typically one of the sailors’ favourite legs because of the epic finish in sight of the Table Mountain in Cape Town. There are several reasons why this is an interesting leg.

In this second leg the biggest gains and losses can typically made in the Doldrums. These Doldrums are areas around the Equator that usually have little or no wind. These areas are hundreds of kilometers wide and can last for days. For the teams they work a lot like barriers. Some teams will just have to wait before they can cross. While others are long and wide gone. Making this one of the most nail biting moments in the race, especially for the navigators! They are responsible for placing the team in the right position. Expect to see Capey with bags under his eyes.

Saint Helena High
This lovely sounding place creates one of the most typical ocean sailor dilemmas: choosing between the fastest way and the shortest way. St. Helena High is the name of a high-pressure system that is continuously placed north west of Cape Town. Blocking the direct route to Cape Town. Because it’s a high-pressure system, it’s notorious for it’s light winds.

The Dilemma
What would route would you choose to get to your destination the fastest? The longer highway or the provincial road where you’re potentially faster. But being faster depends on your ‘luck’ with the traffic lights. If only you could find out how bad these traffic lights are going to mess up your day.

The Options
The highway option means sailing hundreds and even thousands of miles extra. While this might sound crazy, it can work. Around the high-pressure system is a lot more wind. The speed difference can be three- or fourfold in comparison to sailing through the St Helena High. But at some point the teams have to get off the high way to get to Cape Town. Choosing the wrong time to leave the highway is very costly.
Going through the Saint Helena High is by far the shortest route. But constantly shifting, light winds create the metaphorical traffic lights. The shorter length makes this route a potential winner, but only when all the lights are green.

If the fleet is still intact at the St Helena High, you can bet that the moment to choose for the highway or the provincial road is going to decide this leg.

Facts to impress your colleagues at the coffee machine

• Doldrums are areas around the equator with little or no wind

• Going straight to the finish is often not the fastest route #lifelesson

• The official name for the Doldrums is ICTZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone)

• There is a highway in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

11-05-2017, 10:23 AM

Next stop – Cape Town, as Dongfeng Race Team lead the Volvo Ocean Race fleet out of Lisbon

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is charging into a challenging first night at sea with winds over 30-knots forecast..

Aerial Images © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

On Water Images © Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race

Dongfeng Race Team converted a strong start into an early lead as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet embarked on Leg 2, a 7,000 nautical mile race from Lisbon to Cape Town.

Conditions were perfect for the leg start, with bright blue skies, and a 15-20 knot Northerly breeze that allowed the fleet to reach up and down the Tagus River past the city front of Lisbon.

After exiting the river and heading offshore past the protection of Cascais, the wind is forecast to build to over 30-knots, with a heavy ocean swell near 4-metres. It will be a fast and challenging first night at sea as the teams charge to the southwest.

“It’s going to be fast,” said Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier. “We have been preparing for this, training in strong winds for six months, so I hope we are ready. We have some good drivers in these conditions so I hope we will be fast.”



And indeed, within 15-minutes of clearing the mouth of the river, the fleet was already seeing over 30-knots of wind and Dongfeng Race Team recorded a boatspeed of nearly 33-knots.

Charlie Enright, the skipper of race leader Vestas 11th Hour Racing was in a strong position early, but appeared to be caught out with too much sail up for the final stretch down the river, and fell back to fifth place.

“We’re confident, but not cocky,” Enright said before the start. “We want to take what we’ve learned and apply it to leg 2. It’s going to be a much different leg. It will be a lot more boatspeed oriented and we’re looking forward to that.”

“The real race starts now,” said Xabi Fernández, the skipper of MAPFRE. “Today we will sail in a couple of days in heavy winds. Everyone will be competitive so we’ll need to go as fast as we can.”




Leg 2 – Position Report – Sunday 5 November (Day 1) – 15:00 UTC

1. Dongfeng Race Team -- distance to finish – 5,094.2 nautical miles
2. Team Brunel +0.2nm
3. MAPFRE + 0.6
4. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +0.9
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +1.6
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +1.8
7. team AkzoNobel +1.8

11-05-2017, 11:42 AM

AMAZING still work of AkzoNobel from team photog Thierry Martinez!










11-05-2017, 11:44 AM

Highlights of Leg 2 Start Video!

Honey Badger
11-05-2017, 01:13 PM
Amazing footage!

Built to List
11-06-2017, 02:24 PM
Busting loose!

11-07-2017, 08:26 AM

As the Volvo Ocean Race fleet continued to charge west at breakneck speeds on Tuesday, a crucial decision that could ultimately affect the overall outcome of Leg 2 was looming.

The seven teams have been treated to a wet and wild opening 48 hours to the 7,000 nautical mile stage from Lisbon to Cape Town, their biggest challenge to date.

Boat speeds have been soaring close to 30 knots as the VO65s charge downwind on a tradewind-powered sleigh ride that has lasted since leaving Lisbon on Sunday.

But as well as having to deal with the physical demands of such extreme sailing, the Volvo Ocean Race crews are caught in a mental game of chess on water as they try to choose the ideal moment to head more directly south.


At 1300 UTC MAPFRE were showing as the lead boat with Dongfeng Race Team and team Akzonobel in second and third.

But the reality at this stage of the leg is that official rankings come second to actual positions on the water relative to the weather that lies ahead.

The big decision revolves around whether it will pay to be further west or further south.

The fleet were today split by just 60 square miles, with MAPFRE opting for the more southerly route, while Dongfeng around 40 miles to their north west choosing the westerly option.


Not only must the crews avoid a huge wind shadow in the lee of the Canary Islands but also consider the best possible crossing point for the Doldrums, the ever-moving band of low pressure lying three-plus days away to the south.

According to Dongfeng navigator Pascal Bidegorry, the third night at sea will be crucial to the rest of the leg.

“The plan is to catch maximum pressure,” he said. “To do this we have got to get to the west. We have to be careful about the shadow of the Canary Islands and Cape Verdes.

“Tonight will be key to the race, especially regarding our position to the west compared to the Doldrums. We have to make a good decision tonight.”

Describing the fire-hosing the teams are currently receiving, Bidegorry added: “There is lots of water around us – and on us. We are completely soaked outside and inside our wet weather gear.”

With a forecast for the breeze to ease over the next few days, the focus for each of the teams is to make as many gains as possible before they have to throw their cards on the table.


“The entire fleet has come to find this acceleration off Madeira and now we have to play with the wind shifts,” said MAPFRE’s Antonio ‘Neti’ Cuervas-Mons.

“We have to gybe with every single shift and play with the stacking (sails on the windward side of the boat), and that’s really a nuisance since it is quite heavy due to the water all over the place. But hey, these will be a couple of hard days and then the wind will drop and everything will be calmer.”

Stealth Mode:
The boats are given position reports only four times per day, at 0100, 0700, 1300 and 1900 (all times UTC). But once per leg, each team has the option to go into ‘Stealth Mode’ whereby its position is withheld from the rest of the fleet (and us) for three consecutive position reports. This can be used to tactical advantage to make a break for what is perceived as better wind, or to hit a layline, or choose what side to pass an island, etc. The only restriction is that teams are not allowed to go into Stealth Mode when they are within 200 miles of the finish. The approach to the doldrums is a classic opportunity to utilise this tactic. Watch for it over the coming days.

New ‘Ranking Waypoint’:
Race management has added a new ‘Ranking Waypoint’ into the tracker so that the rankings better reflect the tactical positions of the teams during the early part of Leg 2. Please note, this is NOT a new mark of the course that the teams need to pass. Instead, it is a virtual waypoint that has been added to the software that is positioned near the mid-point of the expected doldrums crossing point. This intention is to give a more realistic ranking through the approach to the doldrums as well as an updated distance to finish that is closer to what the teams will actually sail.


Leg 2 – Position Report – Tuesday 7 November (Day 3) – 13:00 UTC

1. MAPFRE -- distance to finish – 4,938.3 nautical miles
2. Dongfeng Race Team +22.0nm
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +36.0
4. team AkzoNobel +37.2
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic +43.3
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +45.3
7. Team Brunel +56.9

11-08-2017, 10:24 AM

As the Volvo Ocean Race fleet continue their relentless 7,000 nautical mile journey from Lisbon to Cape Town, conditions have been challenging - with wind speeds of over 30+ knots for almost 72 hours straight.

The teams are dehydrated, exhausted and constantly wet. Slaves to the position reports that are delivered to the boats every 6 hours, each team, each sailor, is obsessed with the thought of winning this leg.

The seven Volvo Ocean Race teams have just over 4,600 nautical miles to go until they reach the finish line. Within that distance, they will cross the Equator, drift through the Doldrums and torture themselves trying to navigate the weather minefield that is the Atlantic Ocean.



Leg 1 winners Vestas 11th Hour Racing jumped to the head of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet three days into Leg 2 as the big dive south began in earnest on Wednesday.

Clever sailing from Charlie Enright's Danish/American outfit saw them dart past their rivals with a well-timed gybe yesterday evening that put them into their own windshift.

When they emerged they had a welcome 10-mile buffer over closest rivals MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and Akzonobel.

But it hasn't all gone Vestas' way – since assuming the top spot they've been forced to watch the chasing pack rapidly advancing from behind in better breeze.

At 1300 UTC Vestas' lead had been all but whittled away – although the rankings show a two-mile advantage over second-placed Dongfeng in terms of distance to finish the reality is that the top four teams were practically neck and neck, split west to east by 15 miles.

The Vestas 11th Hour team give their impressions - "The cloud giveth and the cloud taketh"

The blistering speeds of the last few days were today just starting to tail off as the breeze goes lighter with every mile made towards the Doldrums, the band of low pressure notorious for becalming sailors for days on end.

An increase in temperature has brought about an increase in rain showers – welcome for an impromptu wash but a navigator's nightmare for the localised conditions they create.

“The tradewind shower clouds have been a minefield, with 25-knot puffs followed by much lighter winds,” said MAPFRE navigator Joan Vila, reporting that he could see Vestas in the distance. “We've seen wind coming from pretty much every direction, and speeds from less than 10 knots up to 25 knots. It's what we'd expect in an area of showers. Right now it looks like it's clearing a bit, so we might have a bit of a break.”

Just over 50 miles behind the leaders, and another 10 miles west, were Team Brunel, who, according to skipper Bouwe Bekking, have performed their last gybe as they head straight for the Cape Verde Islands some 600 miles west of Senegal.

“We've finally gybed over onto what we think might be our final gybe, so if that's the case it'll be 10 days without another gybe,” he said. “But it's very shifty so who knows. We are the most western boat so we'll see how it pans out. They [the leading boats] gybed early and gained because they are sailing to the south, but it's all about patience now.”



There was at least some reason to celebrate onboard though - Team Brunel helmsman Peter Burling was named World Sailor of the Year at a lavish ceremony in Mexico last night, in recognition of his recent America's Cup win with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Burling received the news from teammate Abby Ehler after she picked up an email to the boat from Burling's parents.

“It's awesome," Burling said in a video dispatch. "It's been a really cool year. My parents will have been stoked to be able to send the news. Thanks for all the support."

CLICKY (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/raw/1642.html)



Turn the Tide on Plastic were today just under 90 miles from the frontrunners, dropping around 25 miles in a bid to get further west, with Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 125 miles behind.

Race veteran Liz Wardley, boat captain on Dee Caffari's Turn the Tide on Plastic, said they had Team Brunel in their sights.

“It's up and down – in the harder stuff we could’ve maybe pushed a little harder but we were all tired and doing what we could,” she said. “Now the breeze is lighter we have more people who can drive in these conditions. Brunel are in the same vicinity as us right now. They're not in the match and nor are we at the moment. I think we should make them one of our goals.”



Stealth Mode:
The boats are given position reports only four times per day, at 0100, 0700, 1300 and 1900 (all times UTC). But once per leg, each team has the option to go into ‘Stealth Mode’ whereby its position report is withheld from the rest of the fleet (and us) for three consecutive position reports. This can be used to tactical advantage to make a break for what is perceived as better wind, or to hit a layline, or choose what side to pass an island, etc. The only restriction is that teams are not allowed to go into Stealth Mode when they are within 200 miles of the finish. The approach to the doldrums is a classic opportunity to utilise this tactic. Watch for it over the coming days.

New ‘Ranking Waypoint’:
Race management has added a ‘Ranking Waypoint’ into the tracker so that the rankings better reflect the tactical positions of the teams during the early part of Leg 2. Please note, this is NOT a new mark of the course that the teams need to pass. Instead, it is a virtual waypoint that has been added to the software that is positioned near the mid-point of the expected doldrums crossing point. This intention is to give a more realistic ranking through the approach to the doldrums as well as an updated distance to finish that is closer to what the teams will actually sail.


TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/dashboard.html)

The current standings are as follows:

Leg 2 – Position Report – Wednesday 8 November (Day 4) – 13:00 UTC

1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- distance to finish – 4,618.1 nautical miles
2. Dongfeng Race Team +1.8nm
3. MAPFRE +2.4
4. team AkzoNobel +4.1
5. Team Brunel +52.1
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +89.5
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +124.6

11-09-2017, 10:29 AM
Watermakers, outriggers, and computers have all needed attention after four rough days racing, but nothing proves quite so challenging to fix at sea as the sails that power the Volvo Ocean 65s
November 09, 2017
14:20 UTC
Written by Conrad Colman
If you're like me, you've been entranced by the close racing, dramatic images coming back from the boats and are eager to see whether any team will be able to stretch out from the others in the fluky doldrums.

With only a couple of miles separating the leaders after four days of racing it's clear that the navigators and sailors have been rigorously chasing fractions of a knot of boat speed.

But pure performance isn't enough to win such a marathon leg, reliability counts just as much... the fastest way to lose miles to your competitor is to have a mechanical problem.

All the kinks in the boat's paths represent a gybe, and each maneuver stresses the tired arms of the sailors and their equipment that flaps each time the sailors whip it from one side of the boat to the other.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing saw a small tear on the leach (back edge) of their big downwind sail, damage that grew when the sailors furled the sail to drop it for repair.


Unfurl even a small portion of the 375 square meters A3 sail in the 35 square meter living space on the Volvo Ocean 65 and things are going to get complicated really quickly! Key challenges when repairing sails at sea? The persistent wet, salt and an extreme lack of space!

I worked in the North Sails loft in Vannes, France in 2014 and was part of the team that made the Volvo Ocean 65 sails. There, we had acres of space and dozens of powerful sewing machines that can lay down lines of stitching 30 metres long in just a few minutes.

The sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race have no such luxury. While sewing machines were carried onboard in the past, changing sail technology and elimination of normal spinnakers mean that all repairs are now done with glue and tape.

Sail Repairs at 20 knots
Step one is to dry and remove the salt with acetone. While it may seem strange to dry a sail by pouring liquid on it, acetone evaporates very quickly and cleans away the salt water.

Then, line up the torn fibres on each side of the tear, lay down some extremely strong double-sided tape and cover with a patch of new material that is spread with glue. Sailors use flexible epoxy glue that dries in mere minutes and can make the repair stronger than the original sail. Fancy adhesives aside, it's still a tough job when the boat is flying down waves at 20kts of speed.

Given that Vestas 11th Hour Racing is fighting for the lead, the team has done well to get the repair done and the sail back in the air. Now the off watch can look forward to sleeping instead of sail making, until next time.

11-11-2017, 08:38 AM
Fleet expected to compress further on final approach to Doldrums


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg02.html)

With just 30 miles separating first from fifth, the fleet is expected to compress even further with Doldrums coming into play...

With the fleet approaching the latitudes of the Doldrums, speeds are expected to drop and indeed the leading boat, Dongfeng, was down to 12 knots of speed on the 13:00 UTC position report.

Boats just 10 miles further back were making closer to 20 knots. So a compression in the fleet is expected. But it may not be as severe as it often is. This Doldrums crossing is forecast to be relatively quick. Good news for the leading pack with the boats grouped so close together.


“There is still so much to go in this leg. We are 10 miles behind Dongfeng and we have Vestas and AkzoNobel right behind us… it’s nothing,” said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández. “We would like to keep the distance close. Everyone is happy and we know we have a hard fight with these guys.”

“We are in a tough part of the race, I think. It’s been just about speed for about three days,” said Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier. “Life is not easy on board. It’s very wet and warm and it’s going to be like this for a few days.”

But the weather is providing some relief. The strong rain showers are not just an opportunity to cool off, but also to get a fresh water shower. A luxury that doesn’t happen very frequently on a 20-plus day leg.

Leg 2 – Position Report – Friday 11 November (Day 7) – 13:00 UTC

1. Dongfeng Race Team -- distance to finish – 4,093.7 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +9.8
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +11.9
4. team AkzoNobel +25.0
5. Team Brunel +30.2
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +88.7
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic +115.2


Blog in from Brunel OBR Rich Edwards...

Wild 'n Wet on the Yellow boat this morning. I can't recall a moment where we haven't been hitting over 20 knots of boatspeed during daylight hours. The crew are in good spirits after an encouraging 0700 sched report so remain highly optimistic of catching those in front. Ever since falling behind early in the race, this team have mirrored Skipper Bouwe Bekking's pragmatic and methodical approach, with Kyle Langford this morning saying,

"The last 2-3 days we've had the boat set-up well and [we've] been doing a bit better than the guys around us. We're definitely within range [and whilst] we'd prefer to be in front, we're still in with a fighting shot here."

With the doldrums imminent the wind appears relatively kind, although almost certainly the fleet will be compressed, but as Annie Lush reminded me yesterday, "first in usually means first out." We'll see what we can learn from those first into the void."


[LIFE ON BOARD] Xabi Fernández: "15 degrees North and going South between 16-20 knots of boat speed with an amazing weather… this cannot get much better to be honest"

11-13-2017, 09:26 AM
Into the south – Volvo Ocean Race fleet pushes into Southern Hemisphere


The Volvo Ocean Race frontrunners are into the Southern Hemisphere on Monday after crossing the Equator, the latest milestone in the drag race to Cape Town.

Charles Caudrelier's Dongfeng Race Team led the fleet over the famous line of latitude at 0941 UTC with the slimmest of leads over MAPFRE, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Team Brunel and team Akzonobel. By 1126 UTC all five boats in the tight leading pack had crossed the Equator, the delta between them just shy of 18 nautical miles going into their ninth day at sea in Leg 2.

Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, in sixth and seventh respectively only 60 miles behind Dongfeng, are tipped to cross the Equator within the next few hours. With the crossing of the Equator came the offerings to King Neptune, the Roman God of the Sea. Ancient maritime tradition dictates that any sailor that hasn't yet crossed the Equator – known as a Pollywog – be inducted into Neptune's court by the Shellbacks, those onboard with crossings already under their belts.


The induction ceremony usually involves a certain degree of hair shaving while being covered in whatever slop the team have managed to concoct over the previous few days. Four days' worth of rotting freeze-dried food went over the heads of Dongfeng's Equator rookies Jack Bouttell and onboard reporter Jeremie Lecaudey, while Team Brunel's Peter Burling waved goodbye to his hair.

Across the fleet there are 21 sailors to initiate – while of the seven OBRs only Turn the Tide on Plastic's Sam Greenfield was safe from Neptune. Even Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari had to fend off desperate claims from her teammates that, despite having five laps of the planet to her name, she hadn't been properly inducted because her previous Equator crossings had been solo.

“You're going to really struggle to say that I haven't done any proper Equator crossings,” she told her mutinous crew, laughing. “It ain't gonna happen, and any revolt will be punished 10 times worse.”

Besides crossing into the Southern Hemisphere, Caffari's team had plenty of reasons to celebrate. They pulled back a place in the rankings, overtaking Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag to move into sixth, and also deployed a drifter buoy that will measure salinity, dissolved CO2 and Chlorophyll-a (algae), and for the first time ever, microplastics, in the Atlantic.

Despite dropping to the back of the pack, Steve Hayles, Scallywag's navigator, said he was relishing the battle – and that he expected their position slightly more to the west to pay dividends eventually.

“As far as Turn the Tide on Plastic goes we don't in any way underestimate them at all,” he said.

“It'll be a tough challenge with them for sure. Long term I'm very happy with where we are. Of course we'd swap places with the guys in front, but I wouldn't swap with Turn the Tide.”

A traditional race mark, Fernando de Noronha, a tiny archipelago around 220 miles east of the Brazilian port of Fortaleza, was removed for the 2017-18 edition to give the fleet carte blanche to pick their own route through the vast South Atlantic. But due to the weather pattern ahead, the seven teams are pretty much headed straight for Fernando as they line up to catch the stronger breeze lying 1,000 miles down the track.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg02.html)

Leg 2 – Position Report – Monday 13 November (Day 9) – 13:00 UTC

Dongfeng Race Team -- distance to finish – 3,606.5 nautical miles
Vestas 11th Hour Racing +9.7
Team Brunel +10.6
team AkzoNobel +17.9
Turn the Tide on Plastic +52.1
Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +61.6

Panama Red
11-13-2017, 03:57 PM
Whatever that is she is rubbing on his face does not look good.

11-14-2017, 10:21 AM
Richard Brisius and Johan Salén have been appointed as President and co-President of the Volvo Ocean Race, taking over from the outgoing chief executive, Mark Turner.


The duo founded Atlant Ocean Racing together and have worked with seven Volvo Ocean Race campaigns over the past 28 years, starting as sailors in the 1989-90 race, before finding success with team management, including winning efforts EF Language (1997-98) and Ericsson 4 (2008-09), as well as second place finishers, Assa Abloy (2001-02), and Intrum Justitia (1993-94).

Most recently, the pair managed Team SCA, the all-female entry, in the last edition of the race.

“It’s an honour to be involved with my friends in the Volvo Ocean Race again. The race is at the very heart of the sport of sailing and it has formed the backbone of so much of my life,” Brisius said.


“At the core of the Volvo Ocean Race are some of the very best athletes in the world, racing in what I think must be the most relentless competition. Their efforts and determination inspire people across the world, and creates outstanding value for partners and host cities.”

Brisius is currently the CEO of the company owned by the National Olympic Committee, running Sweden’s bid to host the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2026 and he will remain in that role.

Johan Salén has worked alongside Brisius on all of their previous Volvo Ocean Race projects. He will take a leading role in both operations and in devising a strategy for the future of the event alongside the current leadership team.


“When we see what is happening on the water during Leg 2 from Lisbon to Cape Town, it is impossible not to be impressed by how the teams are performing and the way the race is being presented to fans and stakeholders,” Salén said. “And I have no doubt the next few months of this race will continue to be fantastic for our teams, sailors, and fans.

“Looking forward, it is clear we need to work closely with Volvo and all stakeholders, including future teams, sailors and commercial partners, to create something even greater for the future.

“I know that process is already underway with the existing leadership team. We all know the importance of setting a clear roadmap for the future in terms of event timing and class of boat as well as the commercial offering.”

Henry Sténson Chairman of the Volvo Ocean Race board, said he feels the experience Richard and Johan bring will benefit all stakeholders of the race.

“Both Richard and Johan have this race in their blood having competed as sailors and then working together to create and lead commercially successful and winning teams such as Ericsson 4 and EF Language,” he said.

“We believe this expertise on the team side is critical in terms of understanding what is required to make the race successful for teams and partners. We are confident we can now build on what has been put in place by Mark and his team to create a strong foundation for the future.”

The current Volvo Ocean Race leadership team will remain in their roles, working closely with Richard and Johan to deliver exciting racing for fans, and exceptional value for stakeholders.

11-14-2017, 10:33 AM

OK. End of this chapter of my life! No regrets. Gutted to leave of course. But no regrets for having given it my best since early 2016.
Full official press release http://www.volvooceanrace.com/…/10338_New-leader-appointed-… regarding my replacement(s) at Volvo Ocean Race.

Great for the race that its been dealt with quickly by Volvo - clarity asap will help the future. Once it was clear to me late September that I wasn't the one able to shoulder the responsibility long term without our plan A,
I knew I needed to step aside urgently so that someone else could take that on before this race ended - during the race, not after, is the time to sell the future to potential sponsors, and for that clarity is needed on new timing. And this would only come, and could only be 'owned', by the new leadership who has to carry it through to success themselves. So its good news that its already sorted and moving forward again - even if of course I was in the 'fun' phase of this, living and breathing the race at sea, and in the stopovers - and that is very hard to leave.

A big welcome to Richard and Johan - we sailed this race together as young innocent men in 1989 (well against each other, Johan beat us both and we can't remember who won between my boat and Richards!). As Sir Peter Blake famously said "It gets in your blood and you can't get rid of it" - now its Richard and Johan's turn to return with the responsibility and honour of steering this amazing event to a new future. I wish them the best of luck, I will remain a lifelong fan of this extraordinary race, and ultimate test of a team in professional sport...

I'll make it to Cape Town for arrivals to close the chapter properly, and Melbourne in shorts and t-shirt for New Year's Eve party as an unemployed 'fan' and ex-CEO.
Thank you everyone for your support.

Mark Turner

Carl Spackler
11-14-2017, 02:08 PM
That was a short stint if ever there was one.

Too much outflow and not enough inflow?

11-15-2017, 12:07 PM
Halfway home - the race to Cape Town enters a new phase
The charge south continues at speed on Wednesday as the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race reached its approximate halfway mark...

November 15, 2017 15:18 UTC
Written by Will Carson

The seven international teams all now have less than 3,200 nautical miles left in the 7,000-mile stage from the Portugal capital of Lisbon to Cape Town, South Africa.

The south-easterly tradewinds that blow south of the Equator remained kind to the fleet, allowing rapid reaching conditions that have resulted in speeds of up to 20 knots.



TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg02.html)


Having spent ten fast and furious days at sea, Team Brunel navigator Andrew Cape estimates that they will need another ten to reach the Leg 2 finish line.

Plenty of time then to mount an attack on their rivals Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE, who despite slipping to second and third on the official ranking due to their westerly position still lead the fleet on the charge south.

“We're halfway through the course in terms of distance and time today,” Cape, competing in his seventh Volvo Ocean Race, said.

“Boat speed helps – you're not going to get anywhere without it – but you're not going to get anywhere fast if you're going the wrong way.

“There's no such thing as sailing around people – they don't leave doors open or anything like that. We'll just sail with what we see, with the weather conditions we get, and others will do the same.

“We're not 50 miles back, we're right there in the mix. They [Dongfeng and MAPFRE] know we're clever and they've got to keep an eye on us.”




While the leaders are tracking south positioned slightly further to the west of the others, and just a few hundred miles off the Brazilian coast, on paper the biggest gains have been made by team AkzoNobel, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Sun Hung Kai Scallywag.

All three crews have significantly scythed their deficit to the leaders over the past 24 hours.

But in reality the reason for their success is that, by being more to the east, they are relatively-speaking much closer to the next waypoint than some of their rivals out west.

Team Akzonobel navigator Jules Salter explained that their easterly track was about finding the extra boost of speed they've been lacking over the past few days.

“It's purely about boatspeed right now as we've been struggling for that for a few days so we thought we'd get out of the line and work on trying to make the boat go a bit quicker,” he said.




“The leading boats are having a bit of a speed battle, so they're keeping themselves fast. It's a bit harder when you're on your own. We're trying to get a little bit of leverage without losing touch. That's what the next few days will be about.”

Meanwhile the favourable position reports have provided the teams further back with a welcome boost of morale.

"We're on fire - launched and loving it,” Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari said after the morning position report arrived showing they'd halved the gap to the top spot from 60 miles to 30.

“Best sched of the leg so far. We're the fastest boat and we've got our next victim in sight.”


Vestas 11th Hour Racing
Published on Nov 15, 2017
The Blueboat slowly splits from Brunel to sail a different angle closer to Brazil but confident that in a few days time they will be able to get back into a mode better suited for their strengths.

11-17-2017, 02:10 PM

Volvo Ocean Race teams leverage up with crucial 24 hours ahead

Leg Two of the Volvo Ocean Race is entering a critical tactical phase this weekend as the teams position themselves to pick up the weather systems that will carry them to Cape Town..




A 130 nautical mile lateral split has opened up in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Friday as the teams trade off better wind with shorter distance in a bid to get to Cape Town first.

Bouwe Bekking's Team Brunel were today the most westerly boat having gybed onto starboard at 0900 UTC, with Vestas 11th Hour Racing following suit shortly after.

For several hours Bekking's Dutch-flagged boat was actually pointing in the opposite direction to Cape Town, much to the amazement of some race fans glued to the tracker.

By 1300 UTC they were back on port having sailed 40 miles in the 'wrong' direction – but seven-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran Bekking explained that, despite what it might look like, there is method to their madness.

Brunel and Vestas are in fact gambling on being the first to reach bigger breeze associated with an large South Atlantic depression moving east at speed that could slingshot them to the finish line.

“We were one of the first to gybe, actually heading away from Cape Town,” said Bekking prior to rejoining the fleet on port gybe.




A 130 nautical mile lateral split has opened up in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Friday as the teams trade off better wind with shorter distance in a bid to get to Cape Town first.

Bouwe Bekking's Team Brunel were today the most westerly boat having gybed onto starboard at 0900 UTC, with Vestas 11th Hour Racing following suit shortly after.

For several hours Bekking's Dutch-flagged boat was actually pointing in the opposite direction to Cape Town, much to the amazement of some race fans glued to the tracker.

By 1300 UTC they were back on port having sailed 40 miles in the 'wrong' direction – but seven-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran Bekking explained that, despite what it might look like, there is method to their madness.

Brunel and Vestas are in fact gambling on being the first to reach bigger breeze associated with an large South Atlantic depression moving east at speed that could slingshot them to the finish line.

“We were one of the first to gybe, actually heading away from Cape Town,” said Bekking prior to rejoining the fleet on port gybe.

“The reason for that is that further to the west is more pressure. We are aiming to get to that area, do one final gybe and then 'jump on the train'. This gybe will be expensive one on paper but we think it's a good investment for the near future.”

Brunel trimmer Annie Lush added: “This is a really important part of the leg. There are big gains and losses to be made.”

Meanwhile Brunel's Dutch rivals team AkzoNobel were some 130 miles to their east having opted to 'cut the corner' by sailing a more direct route to the Leg 2 finish line.

Their bold move puts them atop the rankings at 1300 UTC because they are significantly closer to Cape Town than their rivals.

However the compromise that comes with their decision is having to wait longer for the stronger, more favourable winds of the low pressure system to pick them up.

In the middle is Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE, the two furthest south boats.

They are expected to pick up that coveted breeze on Sunday, signalling the start of a wet and wild run into the finish line that has the potential to see the 24 hour distance record tumble.




TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg02.html)

“The next 24 hours are going to set up the strategies for this leg,” said MAPFRE's navigator Juan Vila.

“We've talked about using stealth mode – we don't know whether to use it now or later on. We haven't made that decision yet.

“There are a lot of opportunities [to overtake Dongfeng] in the southern Atlantic, and in fact all the way to Cape Town, so we will try to make the best of these and find a passing lane. Anything can still happen.”

Further to the north, skipper David Witt's Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag chased down and passed Dee Caffari's Turn the Tide on Plastic. This is an ongoing battle however, with less than a mile separating the rivals.

Leg 2 – Position Report – Friday 17 November (Day 13) – 13:00 UTC

1. team AkzoNobel -- distance to finish – 2,663.1 nautical miles
2. Dongfeng Race Team +50.9
3. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +53.0
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic +53..5
5. MAPFRE +72.8
6. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +127.1
7. Team Brunel +139.3

11-20-2017, 11:04 AM

Temperature falling; wind increasing; stealth mode in play

The week has started off at full-speed; temperatures are plummeting in the South Atlantic,
speeds are up, and one of the leading boats has engaged Stealth Mode...




Dutch crew Team Brunel opted to go into stealth mode on Monday, cloaking their position from their rivals for up to 24 hours – as Spanish team MAPFRE led the Volvo Ocean Race fleet towards Cape Town.

Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking and navigator Andrew Cape made the call to 'disappear' from the rankings following the 0700 UTC report in an attempt to advance on MAPFRE, some 35 miles ahead.

Before going into stealth mode Brunel were in second place, and the most southerly boat in the fleet, but they may be looking to go further south still.

The move comes after a few strong days for Bekking's crew that have seen them profit from being the furthest boat west coming down the Brazilian coastline.




A slightly better angle on the breeze saw them rocket through the rankings from last place to second as the fleet plunge below the latitude of Cape Town.

The timing of Brunel's decision comes as the frontrunners prepare to be scooped up by an easterly-moving cold front bringing northerly winds of up to 30 knots.

It should take the fleet to within a few hundred miles of Cape Town – and provide ideal conditions for fast sailing.

Whether Brunel will have profited from their tactical gamble will become clear when they reappear on the tracker at 0700 UTC on Tuesday.

“If you're trying to pull a big move, for example like now where we're keen to to push to the south, then stealth mode allows you can hide your position from the rest of the fleet,” Brunel boat captain Abby Ehler revealed.



“The routing suggests the north is the way to go but Capey is pretty keen to go south – he feels the southerly route offers less risks. Going into stealth keeps the rest of the fleet guessing. We're just hoping no-one else comes with us.”

As the teams get close to the latitude of the Roaring Forties they are getting their first taste of the Southern Ocean – freezing water, mountainous waves and strong, icy breeze.

“In the last 24 hours we've gone from shorts and t-shirts to boots, warm socks, thermals and dry suits,” said MAPFRE's Sophie Ciszek. “There's definitely a chill in the air. It's going to get windy over the next 24 to 36 hours, and being wet makes it worse.”

One hundred miles to the north, Turn the Tide on Plastic were also feeling the cold as their mid-ocean match race with Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag continued.

Both teams kept warm by completing 13 gybes in 24 hours as they tussled for position.

“It feels like we've had our first glimpse of Southern Ocean action,” Turn the Tide on Plastic's boat captain Liz Wardley said.

“It was pretty cold last night and we had breeze up to 30 knots downwind. We're still having our dual with Scallywag. We're sailing in lighter pressure at the moment and trying to make the most of the remaining breeze before we gybe south.”

Leg 2 – Position Report – Monday 20 November (Day 16) – 13:00 UTC

1. MAPFRE -- distance to finish – 1,832.6 nautical miles
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +32.8
3. Dongfeng Race Team +39.7
4. team AkzoNobel +62.8
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +83.7
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +88.0
7. Team Brunel – Stealth Mode


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg02.html)

Tonapah Low
11-20-2017, 01:35 PM
Seems like these boats are just plodding along compared to the pace of Macif!

11-21-2017, 05:32 PM

"Cold, wet, and no escape..." An apt description of conditions in the South Atlantic as the competition heats up, even as temperatures plummet...

The second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race might be entering its final few days but the final positions are far from decided.




MAPFRE continued to lead the seven-strong fleet on Tuesday, but their 35 nautical mile advantage yesterday had been whittled down to 26 miles as the chasing pack close in.

“We’ve managed to get ourselves into the lead, but it’s a pretty tight battle with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Dongfeng Race Team and Brunel Racing,” said Blair Tuke from on board the leading boat, where Xabi Fernandez's Spanish crew found themselves under attack from a resurgent Dongfeng Race Team, who, after losing the lead and bleeding miles to MAPFRE late last week, have found an extra gear on the approach to Cape Town.

Dongfeng, skippered by Charles Caudrelier, covered an impressive 517 miles in the 24 hours leading up to the 1300 UTC position report enough to move them into second place behind MAPFRE who themselves have made gains on every other team.

Less than a mile behind them was Vestas 11th Hour Racing, winners of Leg 1, while Team Brunel were in fourth some eight miles behind Dongfeng.

With just over 1,300 miles still to sail, and a host of tactical opportunities on the horizon, this leg is anything but decided.




Boat captain Abby Ehler revealed yesterday that Brunel navigator Andrew Cape favoured a southerly route before the team disappeared from the rankings but shortly after 2200 UTC they switched tactics and began positioning themselves above their rivals.

However their hopes of getting the better of their rivals while in stealth mode were dashed - the move saw them slip from second to fourth in the rankings.

“This part of the leg feels like when you're stuck a chairlift in the rain and you can't get off - cold, wet and no escape! Lucky I love sailing,” Brunel trimmer Kyle Langford tweeted.

Team AkzoNobel, in fifth, were forging a route 70 miles north-west of MAPFRE, while another 70 miles north west sixth-placed Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic in seventh were passing Tristan da Cunha, the most remote inhabited island in the world.

The British colony, which is 1,500 miles from South Africa and 2,000 miles from South America, is home to 262 residents – and famously featured in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race when Ken Read's PUMA Ocean Racing made an unscheduled stop there after dismasting.

Read's crew spent several days on Tristan as guests of the island's inhabitants, touring the lobster processing plant, climbing a volcano and playing a round of golf.



TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg02.html)

The moment wasn't lost on Turn the Tide on Plastic's Henry Bomby, who tweeted: “Just passing Tristan du Cunha, if we stop does anyone fancy a round of golf? Ken Read?”

Meanwhile Turn the Tide on Plastic's navigator Nico Lunven said he was itching to finish Leg 2 as quickly as possible for two reasons: “Firstly, because I am competitive and I want to beat Scallywag, and secondly because I want to get home to meet my new daughter who was born during the leg. At the moment I've only seen a picture of her on email.”

Lunven will have to wait a few more days yet – the fleet is expected to arrive into Cape Town this weekend.

Leg 2 – Position Report – Tuesday 21 November (Day 17) – 13:00 UTC

1. MAPFRE -- distance to finish – 1,329.4 nautical miles
2. Dongfeng Race Team +26.9
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +29.3
4. Team Brunel +35.6
5. team AkzoNobel +75.1
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +106.4
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic +110.4

11-22-2017, 04:35 PM

he Spanish crew of Leg 2 leaders MAPFRE were cautiously keeping one eye on their rivals and the other on Cape Town on Wednesday as they came within just over 800 miles of the finish line.

Two days ago Xabi Fernández's outfit had a buffer of 35 miles over their nearest rival after their position as the most southerly boat allowed them to hook into the better breeze of an easterly-moving front first.

Forty eight hours on that advantage has been significantly reduced: second-placed Dongfeng Race Team have pushed to within 23 miles of MAPFRE, while Vestas 11th Hour Racing in third and Team Brunel in fourth have also made gains.



In fact, with under 1,000 miles to go to the finish line in Cape Town, just 37 miles split the top four boats.

However the 1300 UTC position report revealed that MAPFRE has started to accelerate again, winning valuable miles back on every other boat in the fleet since 0700 UTC.

Despite this advantage, MAPFRE navigator Joan Vila said the team were very aware of the potential for attack from behind.

“First is a difficult position to defend – we're just trying to do what looks best for us,” he said. “The transition ahead looks good but we're a bit nervous that it could be lighter than predicted. Still, the race is far from over. It looks like the other have all been doing pretty well. Dongfeng, Vestas and Brunel have all had their moments. All these three could be potential threats to our lead.”




Asked whether he feels that MAPFRE can hang on to their lead, Vila was cautiously optimistic.

“If all pans out as predicted then probably yes, but weather is not an exact science,” he said. “We'll see how it goes, you never can tell for sure.”

While spirits onboard MAPFRE were high, the opposite could be said for team AkzoNobel.

Skipper Simeon Tienpont's crew had hoped that their position equidistant from the leading four in the south and Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag to the north would pay dividends.




However they were the team to be spat out the back of the cold front, leaving them languishing in much lighter winds.

At 1300 UTC AkzoNobel found themselves 155 miles behind MAPFRE, having shed 85 miles in the last 24 hours.

What's more, a much better night for Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic has further compounded AkzoNobel's misery.

Both teams were able to hold onto the cold front for longer, and passing AkzoNobel and relegating them to seventh in the Leg 2 leaderboard in the process.

While bad news for AkzoNobel, the news of the shift in positions was met with cheers on Scallywag.

“The guys did a really good job of hanging on a to big sail last night – we pushed really hard,” a beaming Steve Hayles said.

“We made a seven-mile gain on Turn the Tide on Plastic, and managed to stay ahead of the front. AkzoNobel, who are south of us, just slipped off the back. That means they're in a worse wind direction and we made an 18-mile gain on them. They got a bit caught between the north and south groups, and tried to get ahead of the front but it's been a big loss for them.”

The current ETA into Cape Town sees the leading group arriving late on Friday (UTC) assuming the current forecast holds. A more accurate ETA will be available on Thursday.

TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg02.html)

Leg 2 – Position Report – Wednesday 22 November (Day 18) – 23:00 UTC

1. MAPFRE -- distance to finish – 656.0 nautical miles
2. Dongfeng Race Team +24.9
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +29.1
4. Team Brunel +59.9
5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +165.9
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +200.7
7. team AkzoNobel +200.2

11-24-2017, 09:31 AM

MAPFRE has won Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race into Cape Town, South Africa, and will take the overall lead on the points table.

The Spanish flagged MAPFRE team has won Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race, a 7,000 nautical mile marathon from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa.

"It's amazing, we're super-happy. We came here in one piece and in front of the others, we can't ask for more," skipper Xabi Fernández said moments after finishing.

"This is what we will see all the way around the world. Super-tight racing, everyone has good speed and small mistakes are very expensive. This time we were luck to do the least mistakes and that's why we won."

all pics©Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

For most of the first half of the leg, MAPFRE trailed Dongfeng Race Team on the long charge to the south, but last weekend, after crossing the Doldrums, 14 days into the leg, navigator Juan Vila and skipper Xabi Fernández made the winning move, a quick gybe to the southwest that Dongfeng didn’t cover.

Within hours, the decision paid and MAPFRE had a tactical advantage they would never relinquish over the final week of racing.

The team earns 8 points for the Leg 2 victory (7 points plus one bonus point for the win), which is enough to take the overall lead in the race regardless of the finishing positions behind.

For Leg 2, MAPFRE sailed 7,886.5 nautical miles over the ground at an average speed of 17.3 knots.


Leg 2 – Provisional Results – Friday 24 November (Leg 2, Day 20) as at 15:10 UTC

1. MAPFRE -- FINISHED -- 15:10.33 UTC – 19 days, 01 hour, 10 minutes, 33 seconds
2. Dongfeng Race Team +37.2 nautical miles
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +62.1
4. Team Brunel +131.6
5. team AkzoNobel +447.1
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +449.4
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +451.3

11-28-2017, 09:59 AM
Leg 2 in Dee's words
The Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper admits she's 'heartbroken' to finish at the back of the fleet, but there's a long way to go
November 28, 2017 09:20 UTC
Text by Dee Caffari


We arrived into Cape Town on Saturday night in last place and my team and I were heartbroken.

After 21 days at sea, 7000 miles of intensive and close racing and with fifth place within our grasp right up until the very end, the final result was decided by just 1 minute and 8 seconds. We have had one hell of an ocean match race on this leg.

The exit from Lisbon was a baptism of fire and we experienced 30 knots before we even left the river. The wind peaked at 35 knots and the conditions remained like this for the first couple of days.

Sending it fast resulted in walls of water cascading down the deck and crew members being washed off their feet. With experience being everything in these conditions, we lacked the quality of drivers and it was a tense few days as the less experienced crew members adapted. We changed gear from a fractional sail and a reef to a full main and a mast head sail and started to sail faster and lower, matching the rivals we had lost some ground to.


all pics© Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race

We gybed our way south and west on the trade winds as they shifted, sailing west of all the Atlantic island chains – Madeira, the Canary Islands and Cape Verde. Next up were the Doldrums – or were they? It was the oddest doldrum crossing as we didn’t really stop and we didn’t really slow down.

We had some funky cloud action and intense rain showers with thunder and lightning but we managed to avoid the days of being becalmed that can so easily happen. I would hazard a guess that it was probably one of the fastest crossings of the doldrums yet and by five degrees north we were free and sailing up wind on the south east trades.

Next stop was the Equator and I had six 'pollywogs' (as they are affectionately known) that needed initiating. Those yet to cross the Equator need blessing by King Neptune, they must be punished for any crimes and need to show they are worthy. Only then they will get safe passage. So, the choice for my guys was to either humiliate themselves on camera with a hidden skill unknown to us, take on the dead flying fish by biting their heads off or take a trip to the hairdresser.

Frederico entertained Neptune (and us) with some traditional Portuguese dancing, Annalise and Bianca decided to get in training for I’m a Celebrity and went for the fish option and Lucas and Henry are now sporting spectacular reverse mowhawks, with Francesca losing her ponytail. King Neptune was obviously pleased with the array of talent and dedication and we safely crossed the equator.


The south east trade winds provided a long blast of a reach on port tack going south. We were running along the edge of the Brazilian coastline trying to go around the outside of the St Helena high pressure. We were lifted early and were at risk of going into lighter winds so we gybed to get more south and stay in more pressure. This gybe felt counter intuitive as it had us sailing away from Cape Town – in fact we were closer to Cape Horn than we were to Cape Town. We did a few gybes to try and get into a better position all the while with an eye on the others that were further south and therefore always had a commanding position.

The match race really started form this point onwards and from the southern hemisphere we were either in sight physically or on AIS (electronic positioning signal on our navigation software) of Scallywag for every single day of the race. It was incredible, even when we split gybes and went in separate directions we still came back together again with several port starboard incidents.

Although the conditions initially were demanding for the crew not used to offshore sailing, generally the race and weather were comparatively easy this leg. There were not so many sail changes and manoeuvres, however, the intensity of having another boat within a couple of miles all the time really did ramp up the pressure and was an incredible focus.

We headed south and then came east along the bottom of the Atlantic riding a cold front that we stayed with for some time. At this point the whole fleet were within 80 miles of each other and this was really exciting.

At this point, the north of the fleet slowed down a little and AzkoNobel and Scally’s joined us as the weather ahead changed. A big blocking high pressure stood between the three of us and Cape Town and we had two options. Should we try and wiggle through to the north or head south and go round the bottom, sailing more miles but in faster conditions. Psychologically this was difficult as we would be sailing at 90 degrees from where we wanted to go.

However, in the end, all three boats went south and sailed together for the final three days. And what a final three days it was! We had close to 500 miles of three boat match racing and speed testing, with no let up right up to the finish.

On the final afternoon we had great winds and clear skies with 20 knots of wind and 20 plus knots of boat speed. All three boats were in sight of each other as we sent it to Cape Town. We were lifted by the wind and all needed to gybe but someone had to break first. We didn’t want to be the last boat to gybe so we went for it and the other two came with us. Both of them were waiting and ready to go when they saw us gybe, as we would have been if our roles were reversed.

We all headed to Table Bay where we knew the wind would get funky. We lost two miles to Scally’s that afternoon due to poor positioning of the boat but we had pace and as we closed the bay we managed to reduce that deficit to two boat lengths.

AkzoNobel got clear ahead at 4 miles out of Cape Town and so it was left to us and our shadow to finish this epic battle. Fickle winds and huge shifts meant we had a tough final four miles as we battled it out with the Scallys. We changed sails, we tacked several times, we were over powered, we were underpowered but ultimately victory was just out of our grasp. Only 1 minute and 8 seconds outside but close if no cigar.

So, my ego has needed little soothing after yet another battle hard fought and not won by such a small margin but there are plenty of legs to come. I am sleeping, eating well, and taking some time before we get back on our trusty steed to go again, only this time we are headed for the south and we have some serious scores to settle. In the last two legs we have matched raced with two different boats and lost out. Here’s hoping that third time is the charm!

12-07-2017, 01:15 PM
Misconduct charge against sailors dismissed


A misconduct charge against two sailors has been dismissed by the International Jury...
December 07, 2017
14:52 UTC
The International Jury has dismissed a charge of misconduct under Rule 69 of the Racing Rules of Sailing against David Witt and Steve Hayles following a complaint to World Sailing.

In its decision, the International Jury wrote: “David Witt and Steve Hayles did not commit misconduct because the video has not caused widespread offence worldwide and has not brought the sport into disrepute.”

Richard Brisius, the President of the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “As race organisers we would like to thank the International Jury for its time and thoughtful handling of this case.”

The complaint, put forward by an outside party not associated with the race, focused on content contained in a video produced from on board Scallywag during Leg 2 of the race.

“I’ve seen the video and I think it’s unfortunate that this resulted in a hearing,” said Dee Caffari, the skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic. “This case has shown all of us, I think, that the banter and jokes that are an essential part of life on board, don’t always travel well off the water. But to have singled out these guys for a charge when it’s clear that nobody on their boat felt offended in any way seems misguided to me.”

Jordi Neves, Chief Digital Officer of the Volvo Ocean Race added: “As event organisers we are constantly undertaking a review of our and the teams content workflow. We are providing updated guidelines to our communications team, including the on board reporters.

“Our focus now is to evolve and respond in a responsible manner, as we continue our authentic storytelling of the race as the sailors take on the ultimate test of a team in professional sport.”

The teams next take to the water on Friday 8 December at 2pm local time in Cape Town for the In-Port Race, before the start of Leg 3, from Cape Town to Melbourne, Australia on Sunday 10 December.


Prince of Whales
12-07-2017, 01:23 PM
That's good, I think.

Carl Spackler
12-07-2017, 03:13 PM
Which of the other boats brought up the complaint?

psycho tiller
12-07-2017, 04:06 PM
Which of the other boats brought up the complaint?

That's the (one of the many) crazy parts of this whole thing. From what I understand it wasn't from anyone within or associated with the VOR. From what I've heard Dawn Riley was the one to bring up the complaint but to be honest I'm not sure how accurate that information is.

Panama Red
12-07-2017, 04:10 PM
With all the finger pointing going on these days, it's not surprising. Especially if someone has an axe to grind.

12-08-2017, 09:57 AM

Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Dongfeng Race Team traded blows throughout the first half of the Cape Town In-Port Race course on Friday afternoon, before the Chinese-French team grabbed the lead midway through the race and stretched away for their first win in the series.

The victory vaults skipper Charles Caudrelier’s team to second place on the leaderboard for the In-Port Race Series, just behind MAPFRE who retained the overall lead with a fightback second place finish on Friday.



"The team did a fantastic job, very nice boat handling and good speed, so well done to the full team," Caudrelier said after the race.

"Our start was not fantastic, but after that we made a good call to tack a bit earlier and put pressure on Vestas and then we found some good speed. That was a key factor."

Conditions were spectacular on the waters off Cape Town, with wind near 20 knots, under bright, sunny skies. Boat handling was at a premium in the fresh conditions and on the first two laps of the course, there were several very close crosses as the boats approached the turning gates.


Near the end of the second run, Vestas 11th Hour Racing were sailing on an awkward wind angle to the mark and had difficulty furling their big A3 downwind sail in preparation for the rounding.

It didn’t hurt them immediately but when they next tried to deploy the sail at the final top mark, it wouldn’t fully unfurl, and the team was very slow for most of the final run.

"We started well," said navigator Simon Fisher. "At the second top mark Dongfeng did a great job, pushing us to the less favoured side, which pushed us back into the fleet, which put pressure on the downwind drop, which meant we didn't have a great furl, and that hurt us on the last run. It's just a great example of how things can snowball."

The mistake cost the team two places, as both MAPFRE and team AkzoNobel raced past on the run to the finish.



The second place finish represented a tremendous comeback for MAPFRE who were forced into a penalty turn just before the start, leaving them them the last to get across the line.

But the Spanish team kept pushing its way up the fleet, finally forcing team AkzoNobel away with an aggressive luff near the final top mark, setting the table for the pass of Vestas 11th Hour Racing on the final run.

Further back, Brunel and Scallywag engaged in a luffing match early on the first run. The Umpires penalised Scallywag for an infraction and following the penalty turn, David Witt's team were trailing the fleet.

At the finish, a hard-charging Brunel nearly stole a place from Turn the Tide on Plastic. But Dee Caffari's team, who had a very strong start to the race, held on for fifth place.

Cape Town In-Port Race Results

1. Dongfeng Race Team
3. team AkzoNobel
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic
6. Team Brunel
7. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag

Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series Leaderboard

1. MAPFRE -- 19 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team -- 18 points
3. Team Brunel -- 13 points
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- 12 points
5. team AkzoNobel -- 11 points
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag -- 6 points
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic -- 5 points

12-09-2017, 11:24 AM
Volvo Ocean Race sailors prepare for rough re-start in Cape Town


It's going to be heavy conditions for the start of Leg 3 on Sunday as the famous Cape Town doctor pays a visit...

Strong winds are forecast for the start of Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Sunday afternoon in Cape Town as the famous ‘Cape Doctor’ – a strong southeasterly wind - pays a visit over the weekend.

On Saturday morning the doctor made a house call bringing a steady 40 knots of wind, and at least one gust of over 60 knots was recorded. This is expected to moderate somewhat for Sunday’s race start, but winds are forecast to remain in the 25 to 35 knot range, with some gusts significantly stronger.

“It’s going to be full-on for the start,” says Vestas 11th Hour Racing navigator Simon Fisher. “Very strong southeasterlies and then when we get offshore it will be a decent sea-state we’re banging into as well. It will soften a bit but then we’re quickly into the westerlies and it’s the proper Southern Ocean. It’s going to be an intense leg in general.”

“It could be very windy for the first week and very high speed,” agreed Charles Caudrelier, skipper of Dongfeng Race Team. “I think it’s going to be a fantastic leg.”



Leg 3, from Cape Town to Melbourne, Australia is a nominal 6,500 nautical miles. The routing takes the teams down into the ‘Roaring Forties’, the area south of 40-degrees latitude where storm systems circle Antarctica, unimpeded by any land mass. Towering waves, steady gale and storm force winds, and ice-cold temperatures are a daily feature here.

“We should remember it’s late spring, just the beginning of summer and the winter has just passed in the Southern Hemisphere so the water is still bloody cold,” said race veteran Bouwe Bekking, the skipper of Team Brunel.

“I think the most frightening thing is that the depressions are still so strong… the amount of pressure that is in the air is just humongous. And of course, the water temperatures – hopefully with the ice limits we don’t encounter any ice -- but if the water is just a few degrees above freezing and you get a southerly breeze, you might be having icicles off the mast some times. We’ve experienced it in the past… When we did this leg in the old days, this was the leg when the most damage appeared. The boats today are stronger than before, but still things can break.”

Deciding when to push for speed and when to throttle back to protect crew and equipment is a delicate balance. The stakes are even higher as this is the first double-point leg. The winner of Leg 3 will collect 15 points (7 x 2 = 14 plus a 1 point win bonus).

“I think we have a lot of experience on our boat and we have to trust that experience in the Southern Ocean,” explained Charlie Enright, skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing talking about finding the balance of how hard to push. “It not just about the points, it’s the fact we don’t haul-out in Melbourne, it’s the heavy conditions in the Southern Ocean, because you don’t want to break anything…To finish first, you must first finish.”



For Xabi Fernández, the skipper of MAPFRE, the race leader, the stopover in Cape Town provided a much needed opportunity to recharge.

“After the first long leg (Lisbon to Cape Town), it’s always important to be in the front,” he said. “We’re happy as a team. We had a good stopover. The boat is in great shape and the team is as well, so we’re ready to go.”

The start of Leg 3 is scheduled for 2pm in Cape Town, 12:00 UTC, and will be broadcast live on www.volvooceanrace.com, our Facebook page and on our mobile app. With the strong winds forecast, the departure from Cape Town will be quick and live links from the race course may be compromised. We will endeavour to bring the best coverage possible for as long as practical.

Crew lists for Leg 3 can be found here - http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/news/10522_Crew-Lists-Leg-3-Cape-Town-to-Melbourne.html

12-10-2017, 11:15 AM

Cape Town provided another spectacular stopover to the Volvo Ocean Race, as the fleet raced off for Melbourne, Australia on Sunday afternoon...

Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team and the Spanish MAPFRE squad were neck and neck leading the Volvo Ocean Race fleet out of Cape Town and towards the southernmost point of the African continent on Sunday.

It was the eleventh time in the history of the event that the fleet had raced out of Cape Town, this time on a 6,500 nautical mile leg to Melbourne, Australia. The ETA is currently between the 24th and 26th of December.




Conditions were ideal, with the famed Cape Doctor wind blowing at 20-25 knots. The fleet raced around a short triangle course in front of the city, before being freed to sprint off towards Australia.

There was some drama for the Dongfeng team who had to make a late crew change just before leaving the dock. Daryl Wislang suffered a back strain this morning and the team decided not to risk having it flare up more while at sea. He stepped off the boat to be replaced by Fabien Delahaye.

The forecast is for very strong winds on Sunday evening and overnight, which should then ease for a brief respite, before strengthening again as the first of the Southern Ocean weather systems that will pick them up and carry them to Melbourne comes calling.

“It is the worst sailing you can do but it’s also the absolute best,” said Stu Bannatyne, a three-time race winner on board Dongfeng, in reply to a question about the Southern Ocean.


Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team and the Spanish MAPFRE squad were neck and neck leading the Volvo Ocean Race fleet out of Cape Town and towards the southernmost point of the African continent on Sunday.

It was the eleventh time in the history of the event that the fleet had raced out of Cape Town, this time on a 6,500 nautical mile leg to Melbourne, Australia. The ETA is currently between the 24th and 26th of December.

Conditions were ideal, with the famed Cape Doctor wind blowing at 20-25 knots. The fleet raced around a short triangle course in front of the city, before being freed to sprint off towards Australia.

There was some drama for the Dongfeng team who had to make a late crew change just before leaving the dock. Daryl Wislang suffered a back strain this morning and the team decided not to risk having it flare up more while at sea. He stepped off the boat to be replaced by Fabien Delahaye.




The forecast is for very strong winds on Sunday evening and overnight, which should then ease for a brief respite, before strengthening again as the first of the Southern Ocean weather systems that will pick them up and carry them to Melbourne comes calling.

“It is the worst sailing you can do but it’s also the absolute best,” said Stu Bannatyne, a three-time race winner on board Dongfeng, in reply to a question about the Southern Ocean.

“Fortunately it seems the human mind forgets the bad times and only remembers the good, which is why we keep coming back.”

That is a sentiment that is sure to be shared among the 63 sailors (and seven on board reporters) over the coming days.


12-11-2017, 02:25 PM
After a fast and furious opening 24 hours of Leg 3, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet were today enjoying a brief moment of respite as they cross a high-pressure ridge.


A spectacular start to the 6,500 nautical mile leg from Cape Town in South Africa to Melbourne, Australia, on Sunday saw the city's famed 'Cape Doctor' breeze send the fleet on its way yesterday with 20 to 25 knots and huge seas. As evening approached, some boats saw gusts near 40 knots.

After two weeks ashore in Cape Town recovering from the rigours of Leg 2, the first 24 hours of Leg 3 has proved a stark reminder to the crews of what life at the extreme is like.

Over the coming two weeks the 63 sailors and seven embedded onboard reporters will face some of the world's worst weather as they charge east through the Southern Ocean, the only ocean in the world uninhibited by land.

It is notorious for its monstrous waves and howling winds, brought about by an endless stream of violent depressions that circle the bottom of the planet without restriction.



Feared and respected in equal measure, the Southern Ocean is also an intrinsic part of the Volvo Ocean Race, having featured heavily in each of its 12 editions thus far.

The 2017-18 race, the 13th, boasts three times more Southern Ocean miles than recent editions in a clear nod to the pioneers of the event.

At 1300 UTC Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag topped the rankings due to their position slightly further east, but it may be MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel are better positioned tactically to get south more quickly.

Speeds throughout the fleet had dropped to around 10 knots as the ridge of lighter breeze impeded their path south.

“We have to cross a ridge, and they're always difficult to cross because it's a transition between two areas of wind in a high pressure system,” Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier said. “We're trying to leave the high pressure at its southern end to catch the low pressure below but these conditions are always difficult. The wind is very shifty, very light. We are lucky though because the system is moving in the opposite direction to us.”



The lighter winds are a welcome relief to the crews after an exhausting first day to Leg 3, allowing them to check over their boats for damage, dry their soaked wet weather gear - and prepare mentally and physically for what lies ahead.

An enormous low pressure system is currently developing to the west of the fleet, and in a few days will engulf the teams with winds of up to 60 knots.

“There's a lot of hype about what's going to happen in a few days' time,” said Bleddyn Mon, making his debut for Turn the Tide on Plastic in this leg. “We're all waiting for that to happen, basically. I'm looking forward to a bit of breeze and some big waves.”

Juan Vila, navigator on MAPFRE, added: “Short term we're expecting the breeze to build to around 20 knots but the big one will be on Thursday or Friday when the first front comes through. The current forecast has winds of well over 40 knots. The main goal will be keeping the boat in one piece.”

Leg 3 is expected to take the fleet around 14 days to complete, giving an ETA of between December 24 and 26.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/tracker.html)

12-12-2017, 03:27 PM
1: Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 3. John Fisher in the foreground with Vestas 11th Hour racing approaching fast on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. Photo by Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race. 12 December, 2017

2: Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 03, on board MAPFRE. Photo by Jen Edney/Volvo Ocean Race. 12 December, 2017.

Emotions are running high for Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking, who suffered a loss in the family this week.

I always say family first to my crew(s). It is the most import thing in life. The job we are having takes it's toll. Long away from home , when in stopovers never enough time for the family. It is important to find the right balance, there are way too many marriages who have ended up on the cliffs in our sport.

Today is a sad day for me. My old man passed away last week and today is his funeral. We knew that it was just matter of time and we agreed beforehand that I would race, but feeling not happy about it.

Here I am saying fmaily first and letting my own family down. The only comfort what I get is that my dad reached a very nice age, the oldest so far in the family history and he had a good life. Thinking of all the things he taught me, all the hours we spend togehter when i was young kid, Lessons of life, the fun things like speedskating, fishing, biiking, taking hikes..................and yes sailing.

He always supoorted my choice to become a professional sailor: just live your life and enjoy it 100%.

So even that we are hard racing, today my thoughts are with my old man, who I will miss tremendously.



3: Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 02, on board Dongfeng. Photo by Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race. 11 December, 2017.

4: Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 3, on board AkzoNobel. Skipper Simeon Tienpont running his pit. There has been a lot of sail changes in the last 6 hous meaning that all crew have to be on deck. Photo by James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race. 12 December, 2017

5:Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 03, morning on board Turn the Tide on Plastic. Safety first. Martin and Liz fixing the J2, the smell of the Acetone inside the boat is hard to bear. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race. 12 December, 2017

6: Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 03, on board Brunel, everything is gonna look like this in the next days, the Southern Ocean is almost here. Photo by Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race. 12 December, 2017.

The Southern Ocean is here, we are below 40 degrees latitude that means we are in the infamous roaring forties however the comfort level has been high today as the sun has been shining and the breeze hasn’t climbed above 20kts. The talks on deck between Bowman Brad Farrand and watch captain Justin Ferris have been mainly about how to make the boat go faster or what snacks they would like, both team members from Keri Keri in the north of New Zealand. However on Brad commenting with a joking smile “this isn’t too bad.” Justin replies “You wait, you will s**t yourself when this low comes.” Brad has somewhat of an uneasy smile now. As a Volvo Ocean Race newbie he has to listen to the experienced watch captain. The low is expected to hit sometime tomorrow morning and is currently building in strength.

7: Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day xx, on board AkzoNobel. Photo by James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race. 12 December, 2017.

8: Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 03, on board Dongfeng. Photo by Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race. 12 December, 2017. Carolijn Brouwer enjoying a hot meal inside the boat.

9: Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 03, Sophie Ciszek and Xabi Fernandez on board MAPFRE. Photo by Jen Edney/Volvo Ocean Race. 12 December, 2017.

10: Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 03, The final day before entering 40 degrees South on board Vestas 11th Hour. Photo by Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race. 12 December, 2017.

While the Leg 3 finish line in Melbourne lies some 5,000 nautical miles in front of the teams, it's what is behind them that is currently consuming them.

A huge depression is forming west of the fleet with winds of up to 60 knots at its centre – and it is moving so fast that the seven Volvo Ocean 65s will not be able to outrun it.

Rather the teams will have to make tough decisions about where to position themselves in relation to the storm, which is set to strike on Thursday.

The toss-up is between risk and reward. A more southerly route will see faster sailing over the next day or so but with it comes the danger of being closer to the centre of the depression.

What's more, a virtual exclusion zone to keep the fleet north of Antarctica's ice fields will prevent teams diving below the low to escape its strongest conditions.

On the other hand the northerly option appears safer as it will put the teams further from the storm's centre, easing the huge pressure on the boat, but it will undoubtedly prove slower.

A split appeared in the pack today, with current leg leader Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, team Akzonobel and Team Brunel choosing to go south, while Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Turn the Tide on Plastic are opting to stay more to the north.

“There's a certain amount of risk being further south and straight in front of [the depression],” explained Simon Fisher, Vestas' navigator.

“If we can be further north and making good progress that would certainly be a more seamanlike way to go about it.”

Knowing when to put the hammer down and when to choose the more conservative option is vital to glory in the Volvo Ocean Race, and Fisher is an expert at these kind of decisions – after all, he guided Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to victory in the 2014-15 edition.

“It's going to be an interesting couple of days,” he added. “It's going to be a fine line between sailing as fast as you can on optimal course versus sailing in a safe place, looking after the boat and not putting yourself somewhere that you can get run over by the low.

“We want to sail as fast as possible but we have to be careful we don't get into an area of the low pressure where the wind heads, the sea state is terrible and we get pushed against the ice gate.”

Perhaps the only sailor not entirely consumed with thoughts of the impending weather was Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking. The Dutch sailor's father sadly passed away last week, and his funeral is today.

Bekking, among the race's most experienced sailors with seven previous editions under his belt, admitted his mind was elsewhere in an emotional dispatch from onboard.

“We knew that it was just matter of time and we agreed beforehand that I would race, but I'm not feeling happy about it,” he wrote.

“The only comfort what I get is that my dad reached a very nice age, the oldest so far in the family history and he had a good life. He always supported my choice to become a professional sailor: just live your life and enjoy it 100 per cent.

“So, even though we are racing hard, today my thoughts are with my old man, who I will miss tremendously.”

12-13-2017, 10:13 AM
Pressure coming on as Southern Ocean storm approaches

TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg03.html)

A north-south divide of more than 200 miles has opened up in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet as the teams prepare for a deep Southern Ocean depression to strike...


Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 04, morning on board Turn the Tide on Plastic. Dee Caffari in her thoughts after getting the latest position report. The boat is now the only one who took the option to go north while the rest of the fleet is heading south. A safer route that could go both ways for Turn the Tide on Plastic. Photo by Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race. 13 December, 2017.

Faced with the tough decision of whether to take on the impending storm by diving south on a quicker but more risky route or escaping the worst of the weather to the north, each of the seven teams have now thrown their cards on the table.

In a bold break from the rest of the fleet, British skipper Dee Caffari opted to take her young Turn the Tide on Plastic crew furthest to the north in the hope of dodging the worst of the system’s howling winds and forecast for enormous seas.



This is in contrast to the strategies of leg leader Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, team Akzonobel, Team Brunel and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, who have chosen to roll the dice and take the southern option.

Caffari, one of the world's most experienced and respected offshore sailors, is known for her seamanship – and as most of her team have never faced the Southern Ocean before, she and navigator Nico Lunven have picked a route that gives them more options, including not needing to throttle back as much as her counterparts in the south.

But as the storm is more than 400 nautical miles wide and moving quickly east, being swallowed up by it is inevitable – and it has been playing heavily on Caffari's mind.

“I have had bad guts for 24 hours and I was thinking it may have been something I have eaten or drunk, but that is highly unlikely,” she wrote to race headquarters in a blog post.

“If I was honest it may be the responsibility sitting heavy on me to make the right decision and get boat and team through the next 48 hours unscathed. It is turning my stomach in knots, something I have never experienced before.”



Meanwhile those on the southern route are facing challenges of their own. When the front hits they will almost certainly experience stronger winds, and unlike Turn the Tide on Plastic to the north they have less options to escape.

A virtual exclusion zone south of the fleet has been implemented by race control to keep the fleet away from Antarctica's ice fields, and the leaders are likely to gybe along the ice limit as they skirt the exclusion zone.

“I don't think we will be doing any racing over the next few hours,” Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier said. “We want to sail fast but the main priority is not to break the boat or the crew.”

MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernandez, just eight miles behind Dongfeng, added: “It's going to be rough and cold but it's going to be good fun.”



Around 75 miles north of the leading pack Vestas 11th Hour Racing were also bracing themselves for a battering. At 1300 UTC Charlie Enright's crew were by far the fastest in the fleet, notching up 22.5 knots compared to Dongfeng's 16.3.

“Feels like we're manning battle stations and preparing for war,” navigator Simon Fisher said. His team may have chosen the best option, a middle ground to the north of the pack, but still in touch and with more options.

Wind speeds are now up to 25 knots and forecast to build. The next 48 hours will be crucial to success in Leg 3.


Leg 3 – Position Report – Wednesday 13 December (Day 4) – 13:00 UTC

1. Donfeng Race Team -- distance to finish – 4,737.2 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +8.0 nautical miles
3. team AkzoNobel +18.8
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +19.4
5. Team Brunel +26.0
6. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag +40.3
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic +93.4

12-13-2017, 04:51 PM


The wind is up as the storm builds. We're leaping off waves at
speeds in the mid 20s (knots) but the downwind angle is easier to stomach than anticipated.

Charlie is finishing up his chicken a la king with extra sweet and spicy sauce at the nav desk. Mark is perching right behind me with the same dish, coated in BBQ sauce. Both smell amazing. I strike up a deal with Charlie, telling him I'll wash his bowl if he gives me a few good lines about the most recent position report. I'm starving anyway and need a bowl for dinner, so it's a fair trade.
He starts out with "Weeeee'reeee, back in touch.... and ready to strike."

Not good enough, I tell him. It's the 3rd time he's tried this line in
four days and I have to remind him we're not living in -sadly- Top Gun.
"After a ... errrr... slow start and..." He pauses. "Dealing with our
own weather..." Another pause. "We've jumped back up...."

I stop him there. Last chance. I offer a prompt: "The last sched came in... fill in the rest. Try that?"
"The Last sched came in," says Charlie. "We were the lowest, fastest boat" He changes to a robot voice, a slight reference to Robo-Charlie. My name for him when he delivers garbage, stilted quotes thinking it gets him out of it.

He continues, "We passed Brunel Sailing and Team AkzoNobel. The red boats remain ahead but within striking distance."
He's earned that last striking distance. Now comes the fun part. "And how does that make you feel? Sad Charlie? Happy Charlie? Iceman or Goose Charlie?"
"I was not so secretly hoping that we'd be ahead of all of them," he admits.
I tell him to give me the bowl. BBQ sauce it is.

Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 04, Welcome to the Southern on board Vestas 11th Hour. After a morning of calm a massive low pressure bears down on the team. Photo by Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race. 13 December, 2017.


Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 04, on board Brunel, Kyle Langford trimming. Photo by Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race. 13 December, 2017.



Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 04, on board Dongfeng. Photo by Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race. 13 December, 2017. Jack Bouttell ready for the fight.
Taking a reef with 30knts is not an easy thing.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg03.html)

Panama Red
12-13-2017, 05:17 PM
Looks like a bumpy night!

12-14-2017, 10:02 AM

44 minutes ago
From onboard Vestas 11th Hour Racing:

Update 1145UTC: We are sending it down mountainous waves. Not an exaggeration. They look like something out of another world.

Sustained wind speed is currently at 41 knots. The boat is in one piece and the team seems very much in control. Very wet above and below. You can see your breath in the cabin and the sailors on deck are dancing variations of the Macarena and Saturday Night Fever to stay warm. The team is going for miles. Definitely not the most conservative mode we've run all day.
Albatross and other seabirds circle around the boat effortlessly.

When Charlie came down after his watch he sat on the engine box and slumped in exhaustion, then made a comment to TJ about not being able to make the boat go slower than 30 knots for an uncomfortably long period of time.

"When it's really windy like this maneuvers are really expensive," says Charlie. "When you know it's the right thing to do, but the right thing to do takes two hours and 100% of everybody's effort, sometimes it's hard to reach that conclusion. Lucky for us we bit the bullet and have stayed in touch with the group."
According to Sifi, our highest recorded gust has been 50 knots and our top recorded boat speed has been 38 knots. I didn't know they could go faster than 33.
That's all for now.


Damage to the track that attaches the mainsail to the back edge of the mast on team AkzoNobel’s Volvo Ocean 65 race boat has forced the crew to slow the boat down as the sailors assess the problem and try to identify potential repair options.

The damage, which was reported to Volvo Ocean Race control by email from team AkzoNobel navigator Jules Salter (GBR) this morning, happened as the crew was in fourth place, gybing along the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone (AIEZ) in 35 knots of wind and big seas.


During one gybe from starboard to port the mainsail track on the mast was damaged in two places. The sailors were able to lower the mainsail and turn the boat away from the AIEZ and are continuing to race using the boat’s forward sails only.

There are no reports of any injuries on board as a result of the damage and the crew is liaising with Volvo Ocean Race’s race control staff and the team’s land based technical shore crew to establish what repair options are available to them.


Standby for further updates as we get them.

The deep low-pressure system that has been forming for the past few days has now engulfed the seven crews, forcing them to switch from all-out racing to a more conservative mode.

Nevertheless, boat speeds rocketed to an incredible 38 knots as the Volvo Ocean 65s were launched down the faces of enormous Southern Ocean rollers.

The low pressure system responsible for the hammering is vast, stretching almost 1,500 nautical miles from the tip of South Africa to just a few hundred miles north of Antarctica.

It represents the biggest challenge so far in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race, and, although Leg 3 from Cape Town to Melbourne is still in its early stages, the decisions the teams make now could have serious consequences on the results.



At 1300 UTC Dongfeng Race Team continued to lead the fleet from their position furthest south, just seven miles above the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone (AIEZ) set by race control.

Ten miles to the north MAPFRE continued the chase, with Vestas 11th Hour Racing filing in around 50 miles behind them.

“Conditions are full on,” Vestas 11th Hour Racing helmsman Mark Towill said as the crew reported seeing gusts of 53 knots of wind overnight. “We've had 30 to 40 knots for 24 hours now – we're rocketing downwind. It's full on Southern Ocean conditions but good fun. We knew what we were coming down here to find, and we've definitely found it.”

Eighty miles behind MAPFRE, Simeon Tienpont's team Akzonobel were forced to hit the brakes after suffering damage to the track attaching the mainsail to the mast.

Navigator Jules Salter reported that the damage occurred as the crew were gybing in 35 knots of wind and big seas.



“During one gybe from starboard to port the mainsail track on the mast was damaged in two places,” read a statement from the team. “The sailors were able to lower the mainsail and turn the boat away from the AIEZ and are continuing to race using the boat’s forward sails only.

“There are no reports of any injuries on board as a result of the damage and the crew is liaising with Volvo Ocean Race’s race control staff and the team’s land based technical shore crew to establish what repair options are available to them.”

Almost 250 miles to the north, Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag were avoiding the worst of the weather having practically swapped positions with Turn the Tide on Plastic – but even they haven't been able to completely escape.


“Why do we all rave about coming down here?” skipper Dave Witt questioned, half-jokingly. “Do we think we're tough or something? I don't get it. We're all 'Southern Ocean, Southern Ocean'. I'm over the Southern Ocean.”

Turn the Tide on Plastic had their own dramas when a man overboard alarm sounded in the middle of the night, but thankfully it was a false alarm and all crew were accounted for.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg03.html)

Leg 3 – Position Report – Thursday 14 December (Day 5) – 13:00 UTC

1. Donfeng Race Team -- distance to finish – 4,237.5 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +8.7 nautical miles
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +59.3
4. Team Brunel +105.1
5. team AkzoNobel +121.8
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +153.6
7. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag +185.2

Prince of Whales
12-14-2017, 10:22 AM
Earning their paychecks now!

12-14-2017, 02:42 PM

Big sea state building for @teamAkzoNobel who are currently furthest west in the south group. Surfing at speed in excess of 20kt with no mainsail whilst they attempt to repair their track

Report from OBR Jeremie Lecaudy on Turn the Tide on Plastic:

Today we finally saw what the Southern Ocean looks like. It looks good.
Albatross are constantly flying by the boat, they surf the top of the highest waves and come close to the front sails to rotate around the boat, in search of their next breakfast.

The mornings are cold and the sailors look tired from the busy night manoeuvring on deck. Short naps, intense sailing, rough conditions, trying to stay dry, the morning sun shines on their faces and they start smiling again.


Sometimes a light nausea takes your motivation away, everything becomes difficult, getting your breakfast takes half an hour, preparing to get out another one, and you're finally out, clipped on, wet, water housing in one hand, holding on to the boat with the other.

The happiness of the crew and the excitement of working in such an extraordinary environment takes it all, everyone focuses on his work and the boat becomes the best playground for all those who fought hard to be here.

A couple of hours later the crew is behind the media station, excited to see what came out of your camera, they laugh at themselves, appreciate the shots and feel for the others going up on watch.

Before dawn, another Volvo 65 passes by, the only kind of yacht around us. Scallywag crosses our path by 100 metres upwind of us. Dee gets excited and motivates me for the perfect opportunity to try a drone flight in gusts up to thirty knots. The wind is never really a problem in drone flying, the real problem lays in the landing. For the first time I experience the deck being so wet that we have to put it in a bag to go from the hatch to the back where it's safer to fly. The remote control quickly gets wet, the screen starts vibrating for no reason, alerts pop up every two seconds, error messages and bips are starting to stress you out, but you see an image that you haven't seen before, so you keep flying until you get what you came for.

Later at night, while editing your stories of the day, you hear from the past and the Southern Ocean, about the last editions of the Volvo, about the Whitbread, a long time ago, when Nico Lunven's father used to sail, at the exact same date, at the same place, in the same conditions.



Report from Bouwe Bekking onboard Team Brunel:

It is wet and wild, typing nearly impossible and everything is soaking wet. Have to watch out that this computer stays in one piece, it is our nav computer. The OBR’s one is a bit less fortunate.

Crew and boat are doing well, we have been sailing conservatively as this low pressure system is massive. We can't afford to break anything, first of all it is bloody long way to Aussie and then outside assistance will be costing penalty points, can imagine they will big as this is a double point leg.

Gybing is not fun at all, today did a gybe in 45 knots, we luckily had a huge surf and the main can through nicely. You are always worried about the battens and the mainsail track in these kind of conditions.

Max wind puff was 62 knots, good we had the gennaker furled just before that. Now riding literally the storm out.

Kyle's ankle is better, some people are looking tired, but all well.




From onboard MAPFRE this morning:

Hi all,

We are already sailing very close to the ice limit, about 20 nm north of it, so keeping an eye on it. Weather is not too bad. Sea water temperature is dropping and we can see now is just under 7 degrees. It feels cold but to be honest we keep ourselves busy enough to go through the watches ok.

As you all can probably see, we are fighting hard against the elements and Dongfeng especially, we’ve had a good night and we have a good distance to Vestas and AkzoNobel and the rest so we are very happy how the things are going for us.

Tonight is going to be hard again, proper wind downwind so I hope we can pass it with no problems.

So much work to do still though, uncountable gybes on the ice limit exclusion zone will kill the crews in all boats so we will really need to give our best to keep on the top of the race. Let’s see how it goes and who is the first one doing less gybes - we will found out shortly.

For the rest, all going ok, crew is happy and pushing hard.

Although we are enjoying the conditions I think everyone is looking forward to a wind drop!

Have a good day on shore and keep watching.




From onboard Vestas 11th Hour Racing:

Update 1145UTC: We are sending it down mountainous waves. Not an exaggeration. They look like something out of another world.

Sustained wind speed is currently at 41 knots. The boat is in one piece and the team seems very much in control. Very wet above and below. You can see your breath in the cabin and the sailors on deck are dancing variations of the Macarena and Saturday Night Fever to stay warm. The team is going for miles. Definitely not the most conservative mode we've run all day.

Albatross and other seabirds circle around the boat effortlessly.
When Charlie came down after his watch he sat on the engine box and slumped in exhaustion, then made a comment to TJ about not being able to make the boat go slower than 30 knots for an uncomfortably long period of time.

"When it's really windy like this maneuvers are really expensive," says Charlie. "When you know it's the right thing to do, but the right thing to do takes two hours and 100% of everybody's effort, sometimes it's hard to reach that conclusion. Lucky for us we bit the bullet and have stayed in touch with the group."

According to Sifi, our highest recorded gust has been 50 knots and our top recorded boat speed has been 38 knots. I didn't know they could go faster than 33.

That's all for now.

12-15-2017, 03:51 PM

A hectic and drama-filled day out on the Southern Ocean yesterday saw team AkzoNobel sustain mast and mainsail damage during a gybe in strong winds and gigantic seas while in fourth place on Leg 3 from Cape Town to Melbourne.

Despite at times surfing at over 20 knots on waves up to 10 meters (32 feet) overnight using just a J2 headsail, the crew had dropped to seventh place in the rankings at 0700 UTC (0800 CET) this morning.

At this stage, the sailors will care less about their position in the fleet as today they take on the mammoth task of trying to re-attach a three-metre section of the narrow carbon mast track that attaches the mainsail to the aft (back) edge of the mast.

It’s going to be painstaking work. First they must glue the track to the mast using strong epoxy adhesive and use ratchet straps to hold it in place for 12 hours while the glue hardens. Only then will they be able to re-screw the track to the mast – a procedure that is likely to take five hours or more depending on the weather conditions.

A good man to have around you in a crisis: scaling Team AkzoNobel's mast in 40+ knots of wind and huge seas in the Southern Ocean is all part of the job decription for our Kiwi bowman Brad Farrand.

At the same time the crew must also effect repairs to the boat’s enormous mainsail and then refit the carbon stiffening battens that they repaired late yesterday.

This challenging schedule of work – difficult enough to achieve in a boatyard ashore – will all be all the harder on the rolling, pitching deck of the team AkzoNobel Volvo Ocean 65 deep in the unforgiving wilds of the Southern Ocean and will require major teamwork and coordination from the crew to get it done.


The team AkzoNobel Volvo Ocean 65 has been a flurry of activity all day today as the crew set about the repairing the damage done to the mast and mainsail yesterday when things went wrong during a gybe in 45 knots of wind and big waves. Volvo Ocean Race on board reporter James Blake filmed the repairs and sent this video update from the boat.

Stay tuned for more updates when we get them.


Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 06, Heavy weather in the Southern Ocean on board Vestas 11th Hour. Photo by Sam Greenfield/Volvo Ocean Race. 15 December, 2017.


Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 6, on board AkzoNobel. The slowed pace of the boat has meant we have had 8 or more Albatrosses soaring around the boat. Maybe one wing flap seen in the last 6 hours. Photo by James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race. 15 December, 2017.

Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 6, Tom Clout catching the next wave on board Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. 15 December, 2017.


Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 06, Southern Ocean, Tamara Echegoyen, Louis Sinclair and Pablo Arrarte on board MAPFRE. 15 December, 2017.

"The Indian Ocean is famous for these bad sea states" - Charles.
Life on board is pretty tough right now but Dongfeng Race Team continue to battle in the Indian Ocean.

Altas velocidades en el límite de la zona de exclusión

Look Mum no hands.. Parko washed back by the ocean

We're in the middle of the Southern Ocean. One of the most hazardous places in the world. Nothing is easy here.

Report from OBR Martin Keruzore on Dongfeng Race Team:
“Like sleeping in a car competing in the Paris-Dakar”

The sky is clouding over, there’s a swell coming on and suddenly our wake is transformed into a playground for the albatrosses as they lark around in the smoke kicked up by the VO65 Dongfeng. They’re majestic, skimming over the crests of the waves under their own speed, without a single flap of their wings; true gliders. You could admire them for hours in a bid to fathom out their technique.

The wind has punched back in today as it clashes against the southerly swell, making the sea particularly choppy and bone-crunching. Life down below is also pretty lively and somewhat reminiscent of a big carbon shaker that’s in operation 24/7. And yet the resulting cocktail is far from refined. The party rolls on at night too and Charles Caudrelier describes it as like trying to sleep in a car competing in the Paris-Dakar, minus the sand but with extra moisture.

Everything becomes muggy and wet with the ambient humidity; the ceiling dripping and our noses too. Indeed, the temperatures have really plummeted over the past few hours and gloves are becoming a necessity up top if you want to stand a chance of quickly regaining the use of your fingers to prepare yourself a good hot meal once your watch is over.

Martin Keruzore.

Report from OBR Jeremie Lecaudy on Turn the Tide on Plastic:

Today we finally saw what the Southern Ocean looks like. It looks good.
Albatross are constantly flying by the boat, they surf the top of the highest waves and come close to the front sails to rotate around the boat, in search of their next breakfast.

The mornings are cold and the sailors look tired from the busy night manoeuvring on deck. Short naps, intense sailing, rough conditions, trying to stay dry, the morning sun shines on their faces and they start smiling again.

Sometimes a light nausea takes your motivation away, everything becomes difficult, getting your breakfast takes half an hour, preparing to get out another one, and you're finally out, clipped on, wet, water housing in one hand, holding on to the boat with the other.

The happiness of the crew and the excitement of working in such an extraordinary environment takes it all, everyone focuses on his work and the boat becomes the best playground for all those who fought hard to be here.

A couple of hours later the crew is behind the media station, excited to see what came out of your camera, they laugh at themselves, appreciate the shots and feel for the others going up on watch.

Before dawn, another Volvo 65 passes by, the only kind of yacht around us. Scallywag crosses our path by 100 metres upwind of us. Dee gets excited and motivates me for the perfect opportunity to try a drone flight in gusts up to thirty knots. The wind is never really a problem in drone flying, the real problem lays in the landing. For the first time I experience the deck being so wet that we have to put it in a bag to go from the hatch to the back where it's safer to fly. The remote control quickly gets wet, the screen starts vibrating for no reason, alerts pop up every two seconds, error messages and bips are starting to stress you out, but you see an image that you haven't seen before, so you keep flying until you get what you came for.

Later at night, while editing your stories of the day, you hear from the past and the Southern Ocean, about the last editions of the Volvo, about the Whitbread, a long time ago, when Nico Lunven's father used to sail, at the exact same date, at the same place, in the same conditions.

Report from Bouwe Bekking onboard Team Brunel:

It is wet and wild, typing nearly impossible and everything is soaking wet. Have to watch out that this computer stays in one piece, it is our nav computer. The OBR’s one is a bit less fortunate.

Crew and boat are doing well, we have been sailing conservatively as this low pressure system is massive. We can't afford to break anything, first of all it is bloody long way to Aussie and then outside assistance will be costing penalty points, can imagine they will big as this is a double point leg.

Gybing is not fun at all, today did a gybe in 45 knots, we luckily had a huge surf and the main can through nicely. You are always worried about the battens and the mainsail track in these kind of conditions.

Max wind puff was 62 knots, good we had the gennaker furled just before that. Now riding literally the storm out.

Kyle's ankle is better, some people are looking tired, but all well.


Carl Spackler
12-15-2017, 03:56 PM
Somebody has got to do it.

Glad it's not me!

12-17-2017, 11:26 AM
Relentless work by leaders in Volvo Ocean Race


It's been a physically relentless day of manoeuvres as the teams skirt the southern boundary of the race course. The pace is expected to continue over the next 36 hours...

Leg 3, Cape Town to Melbourne, day 07, DCIM\102_VIRB\VIRB0058. on board Dongfeng. Jack Bouttell driving under the cloud. Photo by Martin Keruzore/Volvo Ocean Race. 16 December, 2017.

Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE are gybing back and forth as they zig-zag in an east-southeasterly direction, trying to stay as close as possible to the southern boundary of the race course, imposed by the Antarctica Ice Exclusion Zone (AIEZ) – a virtual line implemented to keep the crews away from dangerous icebergs.

"During the next 30 hours we are going to gybe at least every hour, so it's just a nightmare," said Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier.

The reason is simple. Gybing these boats takes all hands. The off-watch crew is wakened and either brought on deck to assist with the manoeuvre or stay below to shift all the gear from one side of the boat to the other. The entire procedure can take around 30 minutes of hard physical labour. And the leaders are gybing more than once per hour at the moment.




"It's not a pleasure. You have to stack everything, so you have to move about 600 kilograms," Caudrelier explained. "The boat is moving, you can't sleep, you have to change everything. It's just horrible... But on the positive side, we are ahead of MAPFRE and fighting for first place. So it's good!"

“We have been in visual sight of Dongfeng from the end of our night and all this morning, with both throwing gybes along the ice limit line, as winds are weak further to the north,” writes MAPFRE navigator Juan Vila in a report to race headquarters. “From early this morning we have so far done 17 gybes in less than 11 hours.

“All is good on board and morale is high, especially now we are back in touch with the leader.”

They should be happy. Yesterday at this time, the gap to Dongfeng was over 15 miles. 24 hours later it is just 5 miles.



At the back of the fleet, team AkzoNobel is back up to sailing at 100 per-cent after a second attempt at repairing the broken mast track held firm.

“We’ve loaded up the mainsail now and no dramas, it’s a way better job,” said Nicolai Sehested from on deck as he watched the sail load up. “We knew after we did this second one it would be a good one and now it’s holding.”



Great news from the team AkzoNobel crew out on the Southern Ocean this morning: the second mast repair has worked and the sailors were able to re-hoist the mainsail at first light this morning.

In his latest video update from the on board Volvo Ocean Race on board reporter James Blake captured the tense moment this morning when the sailors held their breath as they gingerly hoisted the mainsail.

The relief was palpable as the repair held and within minutes they were back to full speed for the first time in three days.

“Second repair is holding and we hoisted the mainsail again five hours ago,” wrote skipper Simeon Tienpont in a brief email from the boat. “Going very fast now and it is unbelievably wet.

“We are hoping we can gain some miles back from now on and can get back in the race. It will be huge task but we know you guys are all cheering for us, so we are giving it our all.”

At the 0700 UTC (0800 CET) position report the crew was sailing at 22 knots (41 kilometers per hour) and gaining miles on the main pack.

The team is sailing fast and making up miles; in fact, they’ve sliced their deficit by an incredible 125 miles over the past 24 hours.

That is partly a reflection of general compression in the fleet. The boats are all closer today than yesterday. But it’s certainly a good sign for team AkzoNobel as they try to get back in touch on the race to Melbourne.

Leg 3 – Position Report – Sunday 17 December (Day 8) – 13:00 UTC

1. Donfeng Race Team -- distance to finish – 3,103.3 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +5.3 nautical miles
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +53.3
4. Team Brunel +74.3
5. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag +83.1
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +133.4
7. team AkzoNobel +250.8

TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg03.html)

12-19-2017, 09:31 AM
Trading blows in the Southern Ocean


The leaders have put in some big miles over the past 24 hours, while the trailing boats fend off the passage of a front...

A little over 2,000 miles now stand between the Volvo Ocean Race pace setters and the Leg 3 finish line in Melbourne – and with just eight miles splitting the first two teams on Tuesday it couldn't be tighter at the top.

At 1300 UTC Dongfeng Race Team still maintained the lead they have enjoyed for the majority of the leg so far, but their ever-present adversaries MAPFRE, in close second, continued to make life difficult for them.



In fact at one point overnight Xabi Fernández's MAPFRE snatched the top spot from Charles Caudrelier's Dongfeng, only to have it wrestled back once more by the next sched.

The endless fight has left both teams exhausted, each wary of their opponents' next move.

“After nine days of racing and more than 3,000 miles I have started to hate the red boat of our Spanish friends,” Caudrelier said.

“I heard that Xabi is an ex-biking champion, and as we say in France about biking, MAPFRE is 'sucking our wheel' - following all our moves and waiting for an opportunity to attack.”



Fernandez for his part was equally cautious of Dongfeng.

“[Dongfeng] are gaining a bit, slowly, but the mileage is going up and we are scratching our heads to keep the distance down and wait for our opportunity,” he said.

Favourable north-westerly winds allowed the frontrunners to gybe right on the limit of the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone (AIEZ) early on Tuesday and point their bows towards the Melbourne finish line.

After days of having to perform gybe after gybe, often with no more than an hour between manoeuvres, the straight-line sailing was offering up a welcome break for both man and boat.

It also provides the navigators with a momentary break from the relentless Southern Ocean match racing that has dominated Leg 3.



Although the boats are going in a straight line for once, it's anything but easy sailing.

“The breeze isn't mixing very well and the sea state seems to change quite quickly with the change in sea temperature, so constant adjustments are required,” Charlie Enright reported from Vestas 11th Hour Racing, in third place 79 miles behind the leading pair.

And while the battle between the teams continues in anger, all seven teams were racing the weather gods to stay ahead of a giant anticyclone forming to their east, threatening to swallow them up.

Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic, some 200 miles west-north-west of the leaders, are expected to follow in the footsteps of team Akzonobel by zigzagging south in a desperate attempt to hook onto the western edge of a cold front.

If they fail they could face more days at sea than expected – and greater pressure to perform a quick turnaround in Melbourne.

“We want to be going fast but we're struggling a bit with the wind dropping,” said Turn the Tide's Frederico Pinheiro de Melo. “Now we have to deal with the next high pressure. We need to stay in front of it otherwise we will stop and Scallywag will get away. The main goal now is to avoid the high pressure.”




TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg03.html)

Leg 3 – Position Report – Tuesday 19 December (Day 10) – 13:00 UTC

1. Donfeng Race Team -- distance to finish – 2,151.2 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +8.0 nautical miles
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +78.5
4. Team Brunel +104.0
5. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag +181.5
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +246.7
7. team AkzoNobel +358.4

12-19-2017, 05:30 PM

Seventh-place team AkzoNobel continues to chase the fleet through the depths of the Southern Ocean towards the Leg 3 finish in Melbourne. There have been few opportunities to make gains on the main pack recently and in fact over the last 12 hours the leading pair – Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) and Mapfre (ESP) – who are furthest south have begun to pull away in stronger winds that the rest of the fleet.

All the crews in the seven-boat fleet will be looking forward to getting to Australia as quickly as possible after what has been a punishing leg on both boats and bodies, but none more so than the team AkzoNobel sailors who are in race against time to get there with enough time to carry out full repairs to their damaged mast and mainsail before the start of Leg 4 to Hong Kong on January 2.

All the crew can do is try their hardest to get the boat to Melbourne as quickly as possible, while ashore the team’s technical shore crew has been formulating a plan to make sure the right people, expertise and resources are in place to get the mast fixed in time for the race re-start.

Australian helmsman and trimmer Luke Molloy – who was rested for Leg 3 but will return to the boat for Leg 4 – outlined for us the logistical and technical challenges the team faces in Melbourne and how it plans to overcome them.

This race stopover is a shorter than normal one – and after our damage, even shorter for us. It’s more like a pit stop and the teams are only allowed to have two shore team members and the sailing crew work on the boat.

Our shore managers Andy Walker (NZL) (a composites engineer) and Bryce Ruthenberg (a mast and rigging specialist) will be the ones leading the repair work. I will be re-joining the boat again in Melbourne and I am a sail maker, so we believe have most of the areas covered to make solid repair to the damage we sustained on Leg 3.

As soon as the boat arrives the three of us will get a brief update from the crew on the situation and we will review any new additions to the job list that will have been sent from the boat before arrival.

The first job will be for us all to thoroughly clean the boat, before the sailing crew head off for some fresh food and well-earned sleep.

Bryce and Andy and myself will stay on board and start the process of repairing the broken mast track with the help of staff from the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard and Southern Spars technicians on.

This will involve first removing the temporary repairs made at sea and assessing whether the mast will need to be removed or can be repaired in the air. Under race rules we risk being penalised points if we have to do repairs on the land ¬– but that is at the discretion of the jury.

Once the repair process has been agreed and is underway Bryce and myself will split off into our own areas (sails and rigging) and start working on the damage to the mainsail and the sail battens [long horizontal carbon stiffeners that help give the sail the correct shape in the wind].

All this activity will happen within the first two to four hours of the boat’s arrival. Depending on which day the boat finishes we will divide the jobs according to the available time and use the sailing crew to repair and prepare the next leg which will start on January 2.

The goal is to be 100 per cent race ready for the Leg 4 start and we expect to be working very long days to achieve this. According to the estimate of the Southern Spars technicians, the mast track repair will take approximately three days to complete. The work to meticulously check over and repair the sails will take at least this long too.

In parallel with all this other crew members will be preparing the food, washing the foul weather gear and sleeping bags while also trying to get some rest and to prepare mentally for another very demanding leg North from Melbourne to Hong Kong.

All of this lies ahead but for now let’s just hope for fair winds and fast sailing for the sailors out on the Southern Ocean so they get the boat to the finish as quickly as possible so that we can get to work on it.

[At 0700 UTC (0800 CET) this morning team AkzoNobel was in seventh place, travelling at 19 knots (35 kilometers per hour), 316 nautical miles (587 kilometers) off the lead, with 2,601 nm (4817 km) left to sail on Leg 3].

Conan the Librarian
12-20-2017, 08:33 AM
A mad rush for Super Glue at Melbourne hardware stores?

12-21-2017, 09:53 AM
Pushing to the limit on the race to Melbourne

It's been a physical battle and a mental challenge as the crews fight off exhaustion on a final push to the south...


MAPFRE extended their lead over rivals Dongfeng Race Team on Thursday as Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race entered its closing stages.

While the finish line isn't quite in sight, the most physical element of the battle is in the rear-view mirror for the leaders.

Determined to notch up another victory after winning Leg 2 from Lisbon to Cape Town, MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández has been pushing his crew to the absolute limit as they close in on Melbourne.

In an effort to stay in front of Dongfeng after snatching the Leg 3 lead from them on Wednesday, MAPFRE gybed 16 times in less than 12 hours overnight as they skirted the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone (AIEZ).




It was twice as many as Dongfeng opted for, with each gybe requiring an incredible physical effort from each crewmember, not to mention the slowing of the boat through the gybing process.

Yet the hard work paid off – and at 1300 UTC MAPFRE had more than doubled their lead of yesterday to 30 nautical miles, with less than 1,300 miles of the leg remaining.

The AIEZ, implemented by race control to keep the fleet away from the danger of icebergs, has started to drop away to the south for the leading duo, allowing them to dive into better breeze.

Once they feel they have the right angle on the westerly winds, both will point their bows towards Melbourne and begin their final dash to the finish line.

“The last day has been quite crazy here on MAPFRE,” Fernández said. “We've done so many manoeuvres. We have to go south now to get to the low pressure, and that's why we've had to do so many gybes. It's pretty hard but it's paid off. Now we are free to sail south all day and night, and tomorrow morning we will gybe and start heading north towards Melbourne.”

Team Brunel remained within 35 miles of third-placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing at the most recent position report, keeping alive skipper Bouwe Bekking's hopes of a first podium finish in this edition.

On sixth-placed Turn the Tide on Plastic, 400 miles behind MAPFRE, skipper Dee Caffari said a dark mood had lifted thanks to an improvement in the weather forecasts that could see them avoid getting swallowed up by a large high pressure system and therefore get to Melbourne quicker than first thought.



“It is not looking as bleak as it was before and this is giving us hope,” Caffari said. “We had three position reports in a row that were really bad and morale took a beating. I am a glass half full person and even I struggled with this one. However, finally we have had some wind that the others around us have not had and are making progress in the right direction for a change and it feels great.”

Meanwhile pods of Antarctic minke whales provided both Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag in fifth and seventh-placed team AkzoNobel with some light relief as they charged past at speeds much faster than the Volvo Ocean 65s.

“It's not every day you get to sail through the Southern Ocean with eight of your mates and an OBR and see that sort of thing,” Scallywag's Tom Clout said. “It was a pretty cool little moment – one we're going to remember for the rest of our lives.”

The current ETAs see MAPFRE and Dongfeng arriving on December 24 (UTC); Vestas, Brunel, Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Christmas Day; and AkzoNobel on December 27.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg03.html)

Leg 3 – Position Report – Thursday 21 December (Day 12) – 13:00 UTC

1. MAPFRE -- distance to finish – 1,285.2 nautical miles
2. Donfeng Race Team +30.2 nautical miles
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +122.8
4. Team Brunel +158.7
5. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag +335.8
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +401.1
7. team AkzoNobel +575.8

Carl Spackler
12-21-2017, 02:59 PM
Looks like they are going the long way?

12-22-2017, 09:15 AM
Stealthy Dongfeng trying to catch a break

With under 1,000 miles to go and having made a final turn for the finish in Melbourne, the leaders are pulling out all the stops to win Leg 3...


Dongfeng Race Team opted to try one last trick in an eleventh-hour bid to overhaul Leg 3 leaders MAPFRE on Friday as they went into stealth mode.

The decision by skipper Charles Caudrelier and navigator Pascal Bidégorry means Dongfeng will 'disappear' from the race tracker for 24 hours, just as the double points-scoring Leg 3 reaches its climax.

Caudrelier's crew had led for the first ten days of the 6,500-mile Southern Ocean epic from Cape Town to Melbourne, but were eventually reeled in by MAPFRE on Wednesday.

MAPFRE and Dongfeng gybed nearly simultaneously at around 2200 UTC on Thursday, pointing their bows towards Melbourne and beginning the final run into the finish line.



Shortly after, Dongfeng notified race control that they had entered stealth mode, which will hide them from the rest of the fleet for three position reports – they will reappear at 19:00 UTC today.

With just under 1,000 miles of race track still remaining, the bold move from Caudrelier's team proves that they haven't given up hope of their first leg victory just yet.

On MAPFRE, navigator Juan Vila has been working overtime not only to plot the best course for his crew but also to assess Dongfeng's theoretical options.

Despite a reasonably healthy lead, they know they must remain at full tilt over the final 48 hours to keep Dongfeng at bay.

“The last position reports have been very good for us and we have a good lead, even if Dongfeng has gone stealth on this last one,” skipper Xabi Fernández said. “Juan checks their options anyway and we have a guess where they can be. We have to wait now to find out more - that’s why we keep going as fast as we can.”



Desperate to grind out every last bit of boat speed as they race to catch third-placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing now only 10 miles ahead, Team Brunel were momentarily caught out overnight when a violent squall hit, knocking their Volvo Ocean 65 flat on its side.

“I was probably pushing a little too hard into a squall and we wiped out in the high 20s, right at the beginning of it,” helmsman Peter Burling explained. “It was probably quite lucky as it got up to about 40 later on. The guys did a great job of letting the jib off pretty quick, and getting the boat back on its feet. We've done it a fair few times now so everyone knows what to do.”

The battle for fifth place continued between old rivals Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, led by Dave Witt, and Dee Caffari's Turn the Tide on Plastic.

Sixty-six miles separates the two teams, but that distance could easily be made up if Scallywag make a mistake in the timing of their gybe north.

“Conditions are not great – we have between 25 to 30 knots of wind and a very bad sea state,” Scallywag navigator Antonio Fontes said. “We're fighting still. The big choice now is when to gybe. Obviously we are feeling pressed by Turn the Tide on Plastic. We have to keep our speed up until the finish.”


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg03.html)

Leg 3 – Position Report – Friday 22 December (Day 13) – 13:00 UTC

1. MAPFRE -- distance to finish – 812.2 nautical miles
2. Dongfeng Race Team --- Stealth Mode until 19:00 UTC
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +191.4
4. Team Brunel +201.6
5. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag +368.8
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +437.3
7. team AkzoNobel +730.0

12-23-2017, 10:26 AM

MAPFRE looking to arrive in Melbourne ahead of Christmas

MAPFRE is racing Dongfeng and St. Nick in an effort to arrive in Melbourne ahead of Christmas...

Dongfeng Race Team battle keel issue on final miles
Dongfeng Race Team will try to fend off Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel on the final miles of Leg 3 with damage to their keel system...
December 23, 2017
16:06 UTC
Written by Peter Rusch



Sitting in second place with just a day to run in Leg 3, Dongfeng Race Team is facing what it calls its first “first serious technical issue” of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The team reports the port keel ram, which helps to cant the keel (pushing the keel on an angle to one side to increase righting moment, and thus speed and power), is not working properly.

“We managed to make an alternative system with only one ram but it has been a tough job...” said skipper Charles Caudrelier.

“We lost 10-15 miles. This is not very good for us because we could be really close to Vestas 11th Hour Racing or Brunel. The back of the fleet took a totally different routing option and they are coming back very fast.

“Let’s hope this is not a loss that will cost us second place. So let’s go, because I think we deserve this second place.”

At 1600 UTC, Dongfeng was 469 nautical miles from the finish line, with a lead of about 45 miles over Brunel and presumably something similar with Vestas 11th Hour Racing who were close to Brunel when they engaged Stealth Mode last night.




With just over 400 nautical miles to go to the finishing line off Melbourne, MAPFRE is on a final push to draw first blood on the double-point scoring Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Before they can add to their advantage on the leaderboard, the Spanish team must negotiate a pesky high-pressure system threatening to encroach from the west, bringing lighter winds, not to mention the tricky currents and tidal gates between them and the finish line.

But with a lead of nearly 100 nautical miles, they are in a very enviable position.

“It’s looking that way. It’s been a tough leg and until yesterday it’s been so tight with Dongfeng and we’ve been pushing so hard,” said skipper Xabi Fernández Saturday afternoon. “Now it’s true, we have stretched a lot and if we don’t have any problem we should be all good.”

The key to being in this position today, Fernández explained, came from their strategy earlier in the leg, when they resisted the temptation to do something ‘crazy’ and instead just kept it close, tucked in tight behind Dongfeng when the Chinese/French team was the early leg leader.

“It was so important to always keep it tight. And sometimes the way to do that is to follow the leader. We fought very hard to keep it always close and then of course every new system is an opportunity for the guy behind and we took it. It was hard when we were chasing them – they are hard to catch – and then the feeling when we passed them is unbelievable.”



Behind the leading pair, there is intrigue in the battle for the final podium position between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel. At one point last night, Brunel jumped ahead on the distance to finish measurement for a short burst, before the Vestas team clawed back the lead. And then, skipper Charlie Enright and navigator Simon Fisher (SiFi) elected to go into Stealth Mode.

“We use Stealth Mode when there’s something going on tactically,” explained SiFi. “Brunel have been chasing hard the last few days… and applying a bit of pressure. The gybe last night and our moment to choose when to come back to the north is important so we thought going in to Stealth Mode would keep them guessing a bit as to exactly where we are. There are some tactical options as to how far east/west you want to be when you start to head to Melbourne and if they don’t know where we are they’re forced to pick their own lane.”

Brunel has done that – and is charging ahead with the highest speed and racing in the strongest wind among the boats on the 1300 UTC position report. The question is whether Vestas 11th Hour Racing is seeing the same conditions. That will be revealed when they reappear at 1900 UTC this evening.

For the chasing three, it’s a matter of getting far enough east to avoid the light winds of the high pressure system, before turning up north towards the finish. That left hand turn will be welcomed by the crews, as each mile to the north brings warmer wind and water temperatures.

The ETA for MAPFRE is early Sunday afternoon UTC.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg03.html)

Leg 3 – Position Report – Saturday 23 December (Day 14) – 13:00 UTC

1. MAPFRE -- distance to finish – 429.9 nautical miles
2. Dongfeng Race Team +94.7 nautical miles
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing --- Stealth Mode
4. Team Brunel +155.3
5. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag +408.3
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic +440.9
7. team AkzoNobel +822.4

12-24-2017, 12:09 PM

MAPFRE has won Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race, arriving overnight Christmas Eve into Melbourne...

The Spanish Volvo Ocean Race team MAPFRE has won Leg 3 from Cape Town, South Africa to Melbourne, Australia, a 6,500 nautical mile dive into the fierce challenges posed by the Southern Ocean.

For the second consecutive leg, MAPFRE needed to come from behind to earn the victory. And for the second time in a row, it was Dongfeng Race Team they passed mid-stage, to snatch the win.

“We had to fight very hard for this victory,” skipper Xabi Fernández said moments after crossing the finish line. “There’s so much of the race to go. But for now it’s looking good and we’re very happy of course.”


The Southern Ocean pushed the teams to the limit. Extreme cold, storm force winds for days on end and towering seas posed massive seamanship challenges, let alone allowing for racing and tactics.

But of all the teams on Leg 3, MAPFRE had the highest work rate in terms of manoeuvres, which allowed them to stay in more favourable conditions for longer than their opposition. It was a powerful statement by a very strong crew.



“The strongest point for this team is the group of people we have,” Fernandez acknowledged. “They are so good and give us so much and have been working so hard on this leg. It was so tough, but it’s all gone perfect. Now we have a few days for recovery and we can get ready for the next one.”



MAPFRE started Leg 3 already atop the leaderboard, with a one point lead over Leg 1 winner Vestas 11th Hour Racing. But as this first Southern Ocean challenge is worth double points, the team will now open up a more comfortable margin – at least six points – depending on the finishing position of the chasing boats.

Dongfeng Race Team is currently in second place, trying to nurse home a boat with a damaged keel system. But at 1630 UTC, Charles Caudrelier’s team had 45 miles to go with a 30 mile lead over Vestas 11th Hour Racing who in turn were fighting off a late charge by Team Brunel, a further 20 miles adrift.

Leg 3 – Provisional Results –at Sunday 24 December (Leg 3, Day 15) at 16:15 UTC

1. MAPFRE -- FINISHED -- 16:07.21 UTC – 14 days, 04h:07m:21s
2. Dongfeng Race Team -- RACING
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- RACING
4. Team Brunel -- RACING
5. team AkzoNobel -- RACING
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic -- RACING
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag -- RACING

Volvo Ocean Race – Current Leaderboard

1. MAPFRE -- FINISHED -- 29 points (after Leg 3)
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- RACING -- 13 points (after Leg 2)
3. Dongfeng Race Team -- RACING -- 11 points (after Leg 2)
4. team AkzoNobel -- RACING -- 7 points (after Leg 1)
5. Team Brunel -- RACING -- 6 points (after Leg 2)
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag -- RACING -- 5 points (after Leg 2)
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic -- RACING -- 2 points (after Leg 2)

12-26-2017, 10:34 AM
Leg 3: daily report – Tuesday December 26
25 December 2017
Upwind sailing for final miles to Melbourne


The team AkzoNobel sailors are on final approach to Melbourne, Australia where their shore team has been busy preparing for them to complete Leg 3 from Cape Town in the early hours of Thursday December 28.

Latest weather reports suggest the sailors will have to sail upwind (against the wind) for the final 283 nautical miles (518 kilometers) meaning a likely arrival in Melbourne sometime between midnight on Wednesday December 27 and 0400 Thursday December 28 local time (1300 to 1700 UTC / 1400 to 1800 CET on December 27).

While out on the ocean the sailors focus on covering these final miles as quickly as possible, ashore their support team is primed and ready to swing into action to repair damage to the mast and mainsail sustained when a gybe went wrong in 40 knot winds and mountainous seas in the Southern Ocean during the first week of the leg.


The team will have just six days to carry out the work – which among other things involves un-stepping the 100-foot 99-meter (100-foot) carbon mast, laying it down horizontally and fitting several new pieces of mainsail track – before the start of Leg 4 to Hong Kong on January 2.

At 0700 UTC (0800 CET / 1800 Australian Eastern Daylight Time) today team AkzoNobel was sailing north east towards Melbourne at 11 knots (20 kilometers per hour) with 283 nautical miles to go on Leg 3 from Cape Town, South Africa.

El Capitan
12-26-2017, 10:57 AM
6 days to haul out and get things sorted and back on the road.

Gonna be some tired pups on that team!

12-27-2017, 02:53 PM

Lush was examined at the hospital on the 25th of December after arriving in Melbourne. The research had shown that she has broken two bones in her foot and one in her back. An operation is not necessary, rest is sufficient. Due to here injury she will be replaced by Sally Barkow.

4 to 6 weeks of rest
Lush: "The doctors expect fractures to mend with 4 to 6 weeks of rest. In the end it’s not too bad, at least there’s no surgery needed. It’s hard to not be able to join the team for the upcoming leg but I have no choice. The only thing I can do now is focus on my recovery and make sure I get strong and back to the team as soon as possible (with perhaps a bit of spying on the other teams from my laptop)!.”

“I know Sally really well and know she will fulfill my role very well. With her, the team gets an experienced sailor who knows how it works and what is needed in this race."

Bekking: Annie is a fighter
Skipper Bekking: “Annie is a fighter. We really had to slow her down on board the last week and I'm glad that it is relatively well. We were afraid it was worse but we had no choice. The only thing we could do was making sure we arrived in Melbourne as quickly as possible. That was her best and only option to get off board. This is a forced replacement that we would of course not have made if it was not necessary. But I have full confidence in Sally and her qualities. It’s great that she is willing to step in. "

Sailors well prepared for such incidents.
At the time of the incident, Lush was standing at the rear grinder, with Pete behind her trimming the main, when the boat hit a wave. Lush and Burling were swept against the rear guard. Lush ended up on the deck and was unable to stand up independently.

Lush: “When I was there, I knew I would not wash off because I was clipped on, but I could not do much more than stay there. Pete called up Bouwe and Alberto who quickly arrived on deck and helped drag me to the cabin hatch, where I was lifted through and carried into a bunk by Carlo and Kyle. Strangely enough it all went exactly as we had trained before the race in our medic course. Everyone was in the same position even the hatch and bunk were on the same side. This kind of preparation really pays off. I did not feel unsafe for a moment and the boys did a great job keeping my back straight and the pain minimal, not an easy feat when the boat’s doing 20+ knots in big seas!”


Annie grateful for all the support
Annie Lush and the team received a lot of messages from family, friends and fans from all over the world. In this short video she wants to thanks everyone for their support and messages.

Excellent cooperation with medics.
The first hours and days after the incident there was constantly contact with both, the medical team of the Volvo Ocean Race and with the medical specialists of the team back in Holland. Skipper Bekking: “The service, knowledge and expertise of all involved was excellent. You have to imagine that we are there out in the middle of the Southern Ocean, then it’s nice that you can immediately switch with the different experts. Not only with the doctors from the race but definitely also with our own medical specialists from the Bergman Clinic and doctor Verstappen.”

Photo: Anna-Lena Elled / Team SCA

12-28-2017, 05:15 PM

**Repairs Update** As soon as the tide was high enough tonight in Melbourne the Team AkzoNobel shore team along with technicians from the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard and experts from Southern Spars unstepped our mast to fully assess the extent of the work needed to have it 100 per cent ready for the start of Leg 4 on January 2 2018.




Team AkzoNobel has arrived in Melbourne, Australia at the end of the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race around the world – a punishing 12,000 nautical-mile passage through the wilds of the Southern Ocean from Cape Town, South Africa.

The international crew of seven men and two women led by Netherlands yachtsman Simeon Tienpont finished the leg in seventh place, well behind the rest of the fleet, after badly damaging the mast and mainsail of their Volvo Ocean 65 racing yacht in strong winds and big seas four days after leaving Cape Town.

The damage occurred when the boat capsized during a “gybe” turn in 45 knots of wind and mountainous waves on December 14 deep in the Southern Ocean close to the Volvo Ocean Race’s Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone.

The impact of the wipe-out wrenched large sections of the mainsail track off the back face of the mast, broke several of the horizontal carbon battens that help give the sail its aerodynamic shape in the wind, as well as puncturing the mainsail itself in several places.

After managing to wrestle the massive sail down to the deck – no easy feat given the storm conditions prevailing at the time – the team AkzoNobel sailors were able to continue racing, albeit at half-speed using only the boat’s forward sails, as they assessed their options to effect repairs to get them back up to full pace as quickly as possible.

In the end it took three days and two attempts to re-attach the mainsail track to the mast using strong epoxy glue before, on December 17, while holding their collective breath the crew gingerly re-hoisted the newly repaired mainsail.

Within minutes of it becoming apparent that the second repair was going to hold the sailors had the boat ripping along at speeds approaching 30 knots (55 kilometers per hour) as they set about chasing down the rest of the seven-boat fleet now several hundred miles ahead.

Despite giving their all for the rest of the leg hopes of a fairy tale comeback quickly faded on December 21 after light winds from an easterly expanding high pressure system slowed the team’s progress dramatically.

As well as putting paid to any chance of making it to Melbourne in time for Christmas Day, the slowdown also ate into the time available for full repairs to be carried out by the shore team before the start of Leg 4 to Hong Kong on January 2 2018.

Team AkzoNobel crossed the Leg 3 finish line in Melbourne at 10:24:45 Australian Eastern Daylight Time on December 28 (23:24:45 UTC on December 27 / 00:24:45 CET on December 28) 17 days, 11 hours, 24 minutes after leaving Cape Town, South Africa on December 10.

The seventh-place result is a psychological blow for the crew who had been mixing it comfortably with the leading pack before their ill-fated gybe and had hoped to secure a podium result on the double points Southern Ocean leg.

“We are disappointed, there is no denying it,” said skipper Tienpont. “We did four days of racing and fourteen days of delivering the boat in time to get the repairs done. That’s the way it goes sometimes and we all know we now need to get our rest while the shore crew do what they need to do to get the boat back in shape, so that we are ready for Leg 4.”

Watch captain Chris Nicholson echoed Tienpont’s sentiment over the result.

“You can’t hide the fact that we had hoped for a lot more on this leg and we haven’t delivered it,” he said. “The important thing now is to take what we have learned and do better in the next leg. The gybe was a one-off incident – a mistake that we won’t make again – and I take from it that we will be able to race competitively going forward.”

The boat was met on shore in Melbourne by members of the team AkzoNobel technical shore team, staff from the Volvo Ocean Race’s Boatyard service facility, and expert technicians from mast manufacturer Southern Spars who together will manage the un-stepping of the boat’s mast and subsequent repair – a process expected to take up to three days.

Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, a complex 11,000-kilometer northerly passage from Melbourne to Hong Kong, is scheduled to begin on Tuesday January 2 – meaning the weary team AkzoNobel sailors will have just four days recovery time ashore before they are back in competitive action once again.

Leg 3 results:

1 Mapfre (ESP) 15 points
2 Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) 12 points
3 Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA) 10 points
4 Team Brunel (NED) 8 points
5 Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG) 6 points
6 Turn the Tide on Plastic (UN) 4 points
7 Team AkzoNobel (NED) 2 points

Overall leaderboard (after three of 11 legs):

1 Mapfre (ESP) 29 points
2 Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) 23 points
3 Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA) 23 points
4 Team Brunel (NED) 14 points
5 Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG) 11 points
6 team AkzoNobel (NED) 9 points
7 Turn the Tide on Plastic (UN) 6 points

[Image © Thierry Martinez/team AkzoNobel]

12-28-2017, 05:23 PM

Following an injury to Dongfeng Race Team navigator Pascal Bidegorry, the Chinese-flagged entry in the Volvo Ocean Race has called up Franck Cammas, one of the stars of French sailing.
The skipper of the recent French America’s Cup campaign – Groupama Team France - and a former Volvo Ocean Race winner as skipper of Groupama 4 in the 2011-12 edition - Cammas is standing in at the last minute as replacement for Bidegorry who sustained a rib injury on Leg 3.

Cammas, aged 45 from Lorient in Brittany, will sail as navigator on board Dongfeng alongside skipper Charles Caudrelier, one of his closest friends in professional sailing and a former crew member on Groupama in the 2011-12 campaign.

Caudrelier is looking forward to welcoming to the team the former Jules Verne record-holder, Solitaire du Figaro champion and three-time winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre who is renowned for his hard-driving perfectionism and skill at getting the best out of a boat.

“Franck is joining the crew because of Pascal’s injury, which is not good news for us because Pascal has been a key element of the team since the beginning,” said Caudrelier. “Franck was available and he was ready as a back-up – we had already spoken about his wish to participate if he could help.


“Of course Franck is a guy I have sailed with over the last 20 years – we are really like brothers – we have always been successful together and sailing with him has always been a pleasure for me and I completely trust him.

“It is not easy to replace your navigator with someone you haven’t sailed with,” added Caudrelier. “Franck for me is the guy I have sailed with the most; it means we have so much experience together like I have with Pascal. So he was the first choice for sure and he was available and really motivated to come.”

Cammas scrambled at 12 hours notice to get to Melbourne from his home in France and will arrive tomorrow afternoon local time as Dongfeng Race Team prepares for the start of Leg 4 from Melbourne to Hong Kong on Tuesday.

“I am very motivated to do a leg of the Volvo Ocean Race and it is obviously with Dongfeng that I feel most at ease, culturally and in terms of the people on board,” he said. “Replacing Pascal is a big challenge for me. With Charles, he has shared a lot and, as on the previous edition of this race, he and Charles have drawn some beautiful courses and made some wise choices. This necessarily puts a little pressure on me.

“Being a crew member, instead of a skipper, is not the most natural situation for me but the team’s performance comes first and we are in line with Charles on that,” Cammas added. “Charles is a friend, we have our story together which allows us to communicate well with each other.”

Bruno Dubois, the Dongfeng Race Team director, emphasised that Cammas was always an option. “Charles and myself have been working with Franck for a while and it was always the plan that he would be a back-up if we needed him,” he said.

“Franck fits well with the team,” he added. “He is also a guy that has already done the race, he is ready to go, he is Charles’ best mate and he will put himself in the right position to support the team. He is a great navigator, a great helmsman and a great sailor and he knows what has to be done.”

Neil Maclean-Martin the Dongfeng Race Team human performance manager, said Bidegorry’s injury will take time to heal. “Pascal sustained an injury to the joint between one of his ribs and the sternum when a wave hit the cockpit and he fell against the supporting bar of the wheel,” he said.

“As with all rib injuries, this is painful and restricting. Frustratingly there are only a few things we can do for treatment to support the natural healing process.”

Bidegorry sustained the injury eight days before the finish of the heavy weather leg from Cape Town and it was immediately obvious to him that he could not sail again until it is healed. “Franck is a good choice for Charles,” he said. “They have known each other for years and they have great experience together in the Volvo Ocean Race. After an exhausting Leg 3, I have no doubt that the energy of Franck will be a real benefit to the team.”

Dongfeng Race Team currently lies second overall in the Volvo Ocean Race after finishing Leg 1 from Alicante to Lisbon in third place and then both Leg 2, from Lisbon to Cape Town, and Leg 3, from Cape Town to Melbourne in second place. The team is six points behind race leaders MAPFRE, skippered by Xabi Fernandez.

This is Dongfeng Race Team’s second Volvo Ocean Race campaign. In 2014-15 it finished third overall, also under Caudrelier’s leadership. The team is wholly sponsored by the Chinese car and truck manufacturer, Dongfeng Motor Corporation. Apart from challenging for overall honours in the race, Dongfeng Race Team is also committed to helping to grow the sport of offshore ocean racing in China.

The full Dongfeng Race Team crew for Leg 4 from Melbourne to Hong Kong is as follows:

Charles Caudrelier (FRA) – skipper

Franck Cammas (FRA) – navigator

Daryl Wislang (NZL) – watch captain

Jeremie Beyou (FRA) – watch captain

Carolijn Brouwer (NL) – trimmer

Justine Mettraux (SUI) – trimmer

Kevin Escoffier (FRA) – bowman

Chen Jinhao ‘Horace’ (CHN) – bowman

Jack Bouttell (AUS/GBR) - bowman

Volvo Ocean Race Current Standings:

1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernandez, 29 points

2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier, 23 points

3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA-DAN), Charlie Enright, 23 points

4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking, 14 points

5. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HK), David Witt, 11 points

6. team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont, 9 points

7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (UN), Dee Caffari, 6 points

Panama Red
12-28-2017, 05:44 PM
Kinda thought Cammas as a multihull guy.

12-31-2017, 10:03 AM
The leaders of the Volvo Ocean Race, MAPFRE, will make no changes to the crew that won Leg 3, as they prepare to race from Melbourne to Hong Kong when Leg 4 starts on Tuesday January 2.

It’s a much different story elsewhere in the fleet where significant swaps are taking place. Some are scheduled rotations, while others have been forced by injury or for other reasons.

In total, 19 sailors are rotating on board for Leg 4, with 18 coming off (SHK/Scallywag is racing with one additional crew for this leg). A dozen will be seeing their first action of this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race and several had to complete a survival at sea refresher course on site in Melbourne.

The two teams sitting on equal points behind MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, for example, will each be making notable changes.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing skipper Charlie Enright will miss Leg 4 as he and his family deal with an on-going medical situation. Enright plans to re-join the team in Hong Kong while Mark Towill has been nominated as skipper for the leg.

“The depth and solidarity of our team is what's allowing me to take some time away to focus on my family. I think this is a real testament to what Mark and I have been able to put together," said Enright from back home in Rhode Island, USA.

"I know that under the leadership of Mark and navigator Simon Fisher, the team is in good hands, and I look forward to getting back with the group in Hong Kong.”

Phil Harmer and Hannah Diamond will return to the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew for Leg 4, while Jena Hansen rotates off the boat.

Dongfeng Race Team is replacing injured navigator Pascal Bidégorry with previous Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper and America’s Cup skipper Franck Cammas.

“Franck is joining the crew because of Pascal’s injury, which is not good news for us because Pascal has been a key element of the team since the beginning,” said skipper Charles Caudrelier. “Franck was available and he was ready as a back-up – we had already spoken about his wish to participate if he could help.”

Daryl Wislang also returns to the team while Justine Mettraux sails her first leg on board and Chen (Horace) Jinhau rotates into the crew.

On the fourth-placed Team Brunel, four of nine sailors will be swapped out.

Rome Kirby (USA) and Sam Newton (AUS) join the team, in addition to race veteran and match race champion Sally Barkow (USA) who is replacing the injured Annie Lush, and the Danish sailor Jens Dolmer, who has sailed with skipper Bouwe Bekking on many of his campaigns. This foursome will replace Louis Balcaen, Annie Lush, Alberto Bolzan and Peter Burling.

On fifth-placed Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Libby Greenhalgh joins the team as navigator, replacing the injured Antonio Fontes, and Australian yachting legend Grant Wharington joins the team for the first time, along with rookie Trystan Seal. This will be the first leg Scallywag races with nine sailors on board.

Team AkzoNobel will have had the shortest time ashore, having only finished Leg 3 on January 27. But skipper Simeon Tienpont is confident his team is ready to get back to work.

Rotating back on board are Peter van Niekerk and Luke Molloy, who are in for Alex Pella and Justin Ferris. And Emily Nagel will take this leg off, replaced by Cécile Laguette.

Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic will have veteran navigator Brain Thompson on board for the first time, as Nico Lunven takes a well-deserved break. Annalise Murphy returns for Bianca Cook and Bernardo Freitas rotates on board for Lucas Chapman.

Leg 4 is scheduled to start in Melbourne at 2pm local time on 2nd January (0300 UTC on 2 January).

Leg 4 Crew Lists:

Dongfeng Race Team

Skipper - Charles Caudrelier FRA
Navigator - Franck Cammas FRA
Watch Captain - Daryl Wislang NZL
Watch Captain - Jérémie Beyou FRA
Crew/trimmer - Kevin Escoffier FRA
Crew/trimmer - Justine Mettraux SUI
Crew/trimmer - Carolijn Brouwer NED
Crew/bowman - Jackson Bouttell AUS/GBR
Crew/bowman - Chen (Horace) Jinhao CHN
OBR - Martin Keruzore FRA

team AkzoNobel

Skipper - Simeon Tienpont NED
Navigator - Jules Salter GBR
Watch Captain - Chris Nicholson AUS
Crew - Peter van Niekerk NED
Crew - Brad Farrand NZL
Crew - Nicolai Sehested DEN
Crew - Cécile Laguette FRA
Crew - Martine Grael BRA
Crew - Luke Molloy AUS
OBR - Sam Greenfield USA

Team Brunel

Skipper - Bouwe Bekking NED
Navigator - Andrew Cape GBR
Bowman - Carlo Huisman NED
Helm-trimmer - Jens Dolmer DEN
Helm-trimmer - Kyle Langford AUS
Helm-trimmer - Sam Newton AUS
Helm-trimmer - Rome Kirby USA
Helm-trimmer - Sally Barkow USA
Helm-trimmer - Abby Ehler GBR
OBR - Yann Riou FRA

Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag

Skipper - David Witt AUS
Navigator - Libby Greenhalgh GBR
Watch Captain - Luke Parkinson AUS
Crew - Alex Gough AUS
Crew - Annemieka Bes NED
Crew - Benjamin Piggott AUS
Crew - John Fisher GBR
Crew - Grant Wharington AUS
Crew - Trystan Seal GBR
OBR - Konrad Frost GBR

Turn the Tide on Plastic

Skipper - Dee Caffari GBR
Navigator - Brian Thompson GBR
Watch Captain - Martin Strömberg SWE
Watch Captain - Liz Wardley AUS
Crew - Elodie Mettraux SUI
Crew - Francesca Clapcich ITA
Crew - Annalise Murphy IRL
Crew - Bernardo Freitas POR
Crew - Bleddyn Mon GBR
Crew - Frederico Melo POR
OBR - Brian Carlin IRL

Vestas 11th Hour Racing

Skipper - Mark Towill USA
Navigator - Simon Fisher GBR
Crew - Roberto 'Chuny' Bermúdez de Castro Muñoz ESP
Crew - Phil Harmer AUS
Crew - Nick Dana USA
Crew - Tom Johnson AUS
Crew - Tony Mutter AUS
Crew - Stacey Jackson AUS
Crew - Hannah Diamond GBR
OBR - Amory Ross USA


Skipper Xabi Fernández ESP
Navigator - Juan Vila ESP
Watch Captain - Pablo Arrarte ESP
Watch Captain - Rob Greenhalgh GBR
Crew - Louis Sinclair NZL
Crew - Blair Tuke NZL
Crew - Willy Altadill ESP
Crew - Sophie Ciszek AUS/USA
Crew - Tamara Echegoyen ESP
OBR - Ugo Fonolla ESP

01-01-2018, 10:52 AM

Leg 4 to Hong Kong: "Technical, tricky, full of opportunity"

For the first time in history, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet is racing to Hong Kong. Leg 4 gets underway on Tuesday afternoon in Melbourne...

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet.

Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Melbourne, Australia to Hong Kong, is a 6,000 nautical mile race north, up the east coast of Australia, with the navigational challenge of dodging islands as well as another doldrums crossing, before arriving in Hong Kong for the first time in the history of the race.

“It’s going to be very tough, close racing,” says Phil Harmer, who is returning to Vestas 11th Hour Racing after an injury for his first race action. “There is going to be someone next to you the whole way."


The skippers have described Leg 4 as:



"Full of opportunity"

"The one I'm scared about... very, very complicated... very stressful"

"We have to be ready for anything"

See the video preview of Leg 4 with skipper comments here

Leg 4 is scheduled to start at 2pm local time in Melbourne on Tuesday January 2 (0300 UTC).

Watch it on the website:
Head to www.volvooceanrace.com at 2225 UTC (Jan 1)/09:25am local time on Jan 2 for interviews from the sailor's terrace and the dock-out parade and 0245 UTC/1:45pm local for the racing, to catch a live stream of the action.

This sounds like a new one?

It’s 6,000 miles of racing; north from Melbourne to Hong Kong starting on 2 January 2018. A quick glance at a map will tell you that there’s plenty of land between those two spots. At this point, we don’t know if the race officials will limit the course options, so we’ll deal with it in general terms – and this is another north to south leg passing through multiple...

Climate zones, right? We’re back to racing through Climate Zones?

We are indeed, remember, the earth’s oceanic climate features distinct bands, lying horizontally and looping the globe, running out from the Equator to the Poles in a mirror image.

So which ones are we going to hit this time?

Melbourne has a temperate climate, lying as it does on a latitude that puts it on the border between the Westerly Storm Track (low pressure systems circulating west-to east around Antarctica and the Arctic) and the Subtropical High Pressure Zone (a stable, semi-static area of High Pressure lying between 30 and 38 degrees) for the Pacific. Let’s assume that the boats will head east from the start line, in which case the first section will be hugging the coast around Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland until they set out across the Coral Sea.

The key feature of this section will be variability, and early on it’s quite possible that low pressure systems nudging north from the Southern Ocean will boost the fleet for a wild ride round the corner of Australia. Or it could be dominated by high pressure, in which case the daily cycle of heating and cooling of the land will create local thermal winds that the teams will need to focus on.

Once they get a bit further north, they will steadily come into the influence of the Trade Winds (moderate to strong winds that blow consistently towards the equator from the south-east in the southern hemisphere), and these will likely dominate the racing across the Coral Sea.

Umm... aren’t there some islands in the way?

Lots, going north from the Coral Sea the fleet will have to thread their way past Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

And I’m guessing we aren’t done with climate zones either?

Nope, somewhere towards the top of the Coral Sea they are likely to hit the Doldrums (a region of low pressure that envelopes the earth’s oceans roughly at the equator, famous for thunderstorms, light winds, rain and sudden unexpected gusts). This could be a more difficult transition than the one in the Atlantic on Leg 2, because in this part of the world the Doldrums occur in a double belt, separated by a band of easterly Trade Winds. The nearby islands will likely further mix up the weather, so the exit from the Coral Sea could prove to be a critical section of this leg. Not least because, once they are through it, they will be into the north-east Trade Winds (they blow consistently towards the equator from the north-east in the northern hemisphere) and a straight-line drag race to the finish.

Any other hazards?

Tropical Cyclones: The January start date for this leg puts them well into the cyclone (hurricane-sized storms) season for this part of the Pacific, and there is a good chance that the leg will be influenced one way or another by a cyclone somewhere in the Pacific.

North-east Monsoon: Once the fleet break clear of the Doldrums, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands they will be headed north-west in the north-easterly Trade Winds. So this should be a pretty fast section, more or less a straight-line drag race all the way to the finish line in Hong Kong.

However... the Trade Winds develop into the North-East Monsoon, a wind created by the clockwise flow around the huge high pressure that builds up over central Asia at this time of year. It can blow really strongly down the South China Sea. In past races when the fleet have been forced to sail east, upwind into the North-East Monsoon, it has broken boats and people. This year they are going north-west and it should just mean a spectacularly quick finish to the leg.

Not much history on this one?

None – this is the first time that the race has gone this way, so it’s a good time to make some!

01-02-2018, 11:09 AM
Tight action as Vestas 11th Hour Racing leads fleet away from Melbourne


Close racing marked the start of Leg 4, with MAPFRE, Scallywag and Vestas 11th Hour Racing vying for the early advantage...

Overall Volvo Ocean Race leader MAPFRE was at the head of the fleet off the starting line as the boats raced up Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay immediately after the start for Leg 4 to Hong Kong.



But it was a very close run affair, and four hours after the start, as the fleet battled a heavy sea state to clear the narrow entrance to the Bay, it was Vestas 11th Hour Racing leading the charge, with the Spanish boat close behind in second place and Team Brunel a tight third.

Leg 4 is a 5,600 nautical mile race up the east coast of Australia, into the Coral Sea and up north to Hong Kong, marking the first time the Volvo Ocean Race has visited the historic port.

Shortly after the leg start, the wind increased from 10 to near 20 knots with MAPFRE leading Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Team Brunel, Turn the Tide on Plastic and Dongfeng Race Team out towards the right hand side.

Meanwhile, team AkzoNobel and SHK/Scallywag split hard from the others towards the left. Early indications showed a slight advantage to MAPFRE with skipper Xabi Fernández initially in a favourable position after tacking back towards the turning mark near Mornington.

But Scallywag, perhaps benefitting from the local knowledge of Australian skipper David Witt and new crew member Grant Wharington, and Vestas 11th Hour Racing had soon joined the battle for the lead.



The Scallywags fell back at the turning mark however, leaving Vestas 11 Hour Racing, MAPFRE and Team Brunel neck and neck at the front. Dongfeng, recovering well after completing a penalty turn on the start line, were in fourth place.

For Vestas 11th Hour Racing it makes for an ideal start for new skipper Mark Towill, who has stepped into the role as a replacement on Leg 4 for Charlie Enright, who returned home to tend to a family medical emergency. For Towill and crew, the winners of Leg 1, this is an opportunity to put some pressure on race leader MAPFRE.

“This leg is very difficult and there will be a lot of options open,” Fernández said just before leading his team off the dock.

“We will be pushing the boat hard from the very beginning to move forward… The boat and crew is in good shape, we’ve had a good rest and we’re ready to go again.”

The fleet faced challenging conditions exiting the Bay, with the strong incoming southerly wind opposing the outgoing tide and whipping up a short, steep seaway.




But after the exit into Bass Strait, the teams were able to turn left and head east, in fast reaching conditions for their first night at sea.

The ETA for Hong Kong will be more certain after the boats clear the Doldrums but is pencilled in for January 20/21.

Leg 4 – Position Report – Tuesday 2 January (Day 1) – 07:20 UTC

1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing -- distance to finish – 5,532.6 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +0.3 nautical miles
3. Team Brunel +0.7
4. Dongfeng Race Team +0.9
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic +1.4
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +2.6
7. team AkzoNobel +3.9


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)

01-03-2018, 01:50 PM

East or west – make your choice
As the fleet passes Sydney on Leg 4, there's an east/west split – but which side will pay?
January 03, 2018
13:24 UTC
Text by Will Carson

Less than 48 hours into Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, tactics are already starting to show among the seven-strong fleet as it does battle along Australia’s eastern coast.

A west to east split of 80 miles has developed as the teams draw level with Sydney, with Leg 3 runners up Dongfeng Race Team nudging ahead by a whisker at this early stage.

Speeds across the fleet were sitting at arounds 20 knots at the 1300 UTC position report, continuing the fast and wet sailing of the opening day of the 6,000-mile leg from Melbourne to Hong Kong.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing and overall race leaders MAPFRE were today carving out a route just 20 miles off the coast, while Turn the Tide on Plastic, the most easterly team, were a further 70 miles out to sea.





Chris Nicholson, watch captain on team Akzonobel, revealed that the trio to the east are searching for an extra boost from a reverse current.

“We’ve had our eye on an eddy for about a week now, and we always said that if the breeze lined up then it could be an option,” he said.

“It’s obviously what Dongfeng, Turn the Tide on Plastic and us have gone for. It’s good for the team to be out at the front but the key will be keeping that up day after day. We’re unproven in that department so far.”

Just a few miles further back, Turn the Tide on Plastic were forging ahead under the guidance of skipper Dee Caffari and navigator Brian Thompson, who replaces Nico Lunven on this leg.

“It’s going well – we’re in sight of every boat,” said veteran ocean racer Thompson. “It’s been hard sailing with a really windy reach out of the heads then a lot of heavy air downwind last night,” he added. “We’re still in touch with everyone and that’s all we can hope for right now.”





The early pace is set to continue over the coming days as the fleet charges north, powered by favourable breeze resulting from a high pressure system over central Australia and a depression forming over New Zealand.

With such good conditions to look forward to the fleet could reach the Solomon Islands, east of Papua New Guinea, and the notorious Doldrums within a couple of days.

Until then, the teams are rolling the dice in a bid to get any advantage they can over one another early in Leg 4.

“It’s been non-stop over the last couple of days,” Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Stacey Jackson said. “We’ve been doing some short gybing with all seven boats crossing back and forward. It’s only in the last few hours that we’ve spread out a bit. Time will tell which side will pay.”


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)

Carl Spackler
01-03-2018, 03:59 PM
Hope they told team vestas that this is slow:


01-04-2018, 03:20 PM



**Tough Decisions**
“You often get situations like this where it is a toss-up. You either trust one weather model or the other or you can do the conservative thing and stay with the fleet." Navigator, Jules Salter, discusses the tactical options available to the team with skipper, Simeon Tienpont, and watch captain, Chris Nicholson, whilst heading up the east coast of Australia.
This one was the right call!

The tactical move to sail out to the east, in pursuit of stronger offshore winds as supposed to a better course angle inshore, has paid off for team AkzoNobel - along with race leaders, Dongfeng Race Team – as they have moved ahead of the remainder of the fleet by 30 nautical miles.

It has been a nervy 24 hours for the team who made the decision - along with Dongfeng and Turn the Tide on Plastic - to take the more easterly route, navigating an eddy – an area of circular current that can create slow and uncomfortable sailing – and head off shore. In contrast, the other teams opted to hug the coast of Australia to avoid the worst of the countercurrent but they have suffered in lighter winds.

A wind shift overnight led both team AkzoNobel and Dongfeng to gybe to the northwest at around 0400 UTC to move across and re-establish themselves with Mapfre and Vestas 11th Hour Racing.

Speaking at 2350 UTC – just before going out on watch – Chris Nicholson (AUS), watch captain, commented, “Since the last sched we're not 100% sure what they've done, and of course no one wants to go and meet up with the others unless they're on top and winning. So the name of the game is hold off until you can cross in front.”

The latest position report (0700 UTC) shows that team AkzoNobel and Dongfeng have come out on top. Chris is optimistic whilst measured about the race ahead.


“I feel really good that we're able to compete with the likes of Dongfeng and Mapfre, and actually faster at times. The question now remains if we can maintain it over the distance. They've proved that they can consistently go at this level day in and day out. That's something that we've yet been able to maintain. That can be as simple as a mechanical mistake during a maneuver or running out of energy to do more maneuvers. They've proven themselves to be a solid package all around. I think we can but we're yet to push ourselves that hard for that long.”

The fleet will soon leave the eastern tip of Australia and head northeast for some fast-downwind sailing across the Coral Sea towards the Solomon Islands and the notorious Doldrums that follow. Team AkzoNobel will be fighting hard to stay with Dongfeng whilst maintaining their lead against the chasing pack – including race leader, Mapfre.

At 0700 UTC (0800 CET) team AkzoNobel was in second place in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, sailing northwest at 21.8 knots with 4,711 nautical miles (8,725 kilometers) to the finish in Hong Kong.


The crew on Dongfeng has quickly settled into the routine and discipline of fast downwind sailing that typified its performances in Leg 2 and 3, as it continues to lead Leg 4 up the east Australian coast.
The decision by navigator Franck Cammas and skipper Charles Caudrelier to head offshore after Cape Howe has proved a good one as Dongfeng and her closest pursuer – Team AkzoNobel – have benefitted from better pressure and have stretched their lead over the inshore boats.

Now well into the third day at sea, Dongfeng is around 335 miles northeast of Sydney and munching the miles to Hong Kong with boatspeed still around 20 knots and white water cascading off the bow as she heads west of north on port gybe, covering the boats to windward of her.

At this stage the separations are relatively large for so early in a Volvo Ocean Race leg. While Akzo is just 2.7 miles astern, third-placed Turn the Tide on Plastic is 32.5 miles behind with Vestas 11th Hour Racing nearly 40 miles back in fourth. Dongfeng Race Team’s big rival, MAPFRE, in fifth place, is another two-and-a-half miles back, 42.5 miles behind the leader.

Images from on board Dongfeng show the new crew members for the leg – Justine Mettraux of Switzerland and Cammas – settling in well with Cammas often to be seen taking a break from the nav station for a spell on the wheel. Last night was a beautiful one with moonlight flooding the night sky as the boats surfed north under full sail.

Cammas and Caudrelier worked hard in the first 36 hours of the leg, as the red and white Volvo Ocean 65 sponsored by Dongfeng Motor Corporation moved up through the fleet to take the lead. In a short interview at the chart table with OBR Martin Keruzore reflecting on the early stages of this 5,600-mile stage to China, you could see that Caudrelier was short of sleep but looking pleased with his work.

“It was a very, very busy 36 hours,” he said. “Yeah, a big fight against all the opponents – speed, clouds – it was very interesting and a complicated situation with a lot of windshifts.


The strong southerly breeze that has propelled the fleet north in the Tasman Sea, and is being fed by a low pressure system centred just west of New Zealand’s North Island, looks set to dominate the course for the next day or so before the crews face their first big area of lighter winds as they head towards the turning point off the Solomon Islands.


"Here we continue, fighting hard to minimize what was lost with the three boats that yesterday chose to sail farther from the coast." This is how Xabi Fernández started his latest email from MAPFRE on board this morning. During the last 24 hours the fleet has defended different strategies to face the ascent along the Australian coast, and this time the Spanish ship has not obtained the expected result of its commitment to the West. Dongfeng Race Team and Team AkzoNobel are now the two best placed teams in the standings, although MAPFRE knows that there is still much ahead and Xabi Fernandez's have already started the "traced operation".

"It's been a complicated start from Melbourne, with a lot of jibe and leadership changes. We feel good about the fleet, but obviously the decision to sail off the coast has not paid off, "he began explaining the Basque pattern. "At the beginning we did not expect to lose much, but things have not come out in the last 24 hours. One thing is for sure, and that is that we continue to fight each wave and we know that we will have the opportunity to be back at this stage. Much remains ahead. "


After opting for the option closest to the coast along with the Americans of the Vestas 11th Hour Racing, MAPFRE saw how little by little the Eastern group, led by the Dongfeng Race Team, began to gain advantage throughout the yesterday's day In the part of the 02:00 peninsular hour of this past dawn those of Xabi Fernandez were to 46 miles of the leader, the Dongfeng Race Team, and it was from that moment when they began to reduce little by little the distance in each part of positions.

Now, according to the position part at 2:00 p.m., MAPFRE is fifth at 37 miles from the leader and sailing very close and in parallel with Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Turn The Tide on Plastic, which is undoubtedly causing the Spanish team give their hundred percent to continue reducing the distances as Xabi explains: "We have Vestas with us and I think this is pushing us both to try harder. If you relax for a minute you lose quickly, so I am happy that we sail in company. Let's see how the situation changes and we will wait for patients to arrive at the compression of the fleet. "

Xabi: "I'm sure we'll be back at some point"
Without a doubt it has not been an easy start for the current leader of the Volvo O general


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)


Panama Red
01-04-2018, 04:18 PM
Good to see AkzoNobel have some luck that isn't bad!

01-05-2018, 03:32 PM

The racing has continued to intensify over the last 24 hours with AkzoNobel getting within 2.5 nautical miles of Dongfeng Race Team. Behind – and to the southeast of the leaders – there is a chasing pack led by Mapfre, who are on the charge.

The second group of boats – consisting of Mapfre, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Turn the Tide on Plastic – have been making gains in stronger winds but this is likely to be short term. Within the next 24 hours the breeze is expected to slowly start shifting into the southeast, giving the boats on the left an advantage. Rosco Monson, our onshore navigator, explains:

“Mapfre is on a charge to close the leading pair down before the shift. Short term, they have better pressure and angle but north and west positioning on the fleet is best for 48 hours’ time.”

The racing for team AkzoNobel has been relentless with repeated gybes – requiring the continuous re-stacking of the boat – to stay in touch with the leaders, Dongfeng. This will be physically draining work and a real test for the team.



“We have two options tactically,” explains Nicolai Sehested, boat captain. “We can go for the route we think is fastest and get us to Hong Kong first, or we can stay with the French even if we don’t agree with what they’re doing. We’ve stayed with Dongfeng mainly to keep low risk but also to learn from one of the fastest boats in the fleet.”

Competing with the leaders in this leg not only shows the advancements made by the team in Cape Town and Melbourne, it also allows the them to observe the front-runners in the race and continually evolve their performance package.

“We learn the moding,” said Sehestad. “How they sail the boat in different wind strengths. Say in this strength, 15 knots of breeze, they seem to be sailing a little higher to the wind and faster than us. Which means we have to see if that’s a better mode than the mode we’re sailing. We also learn setup wise what sail combinations they have hoisted. And again what wind strength and angles they use for different sails.”

“It’ll be a huge boost for us if we can hang on to them. They’re a fast boat. It’s also what we need after the last leg. It’s good to have boats around us.”

The temperature and intensity will be heating up for team AkzoNobel as they look to maintain their position at the head of the fleet and position themselves best for navigating around the Solomon Islands in 48 hours’ time.

At 0700 UTC (0800 CET) team AkzoNobel was in second place in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, sailing northeast at 16.9 knots with 4,419 nautical miles (8,184 kilometers) to the finish in Hong Kong.




It has been wonderful sailing over the past few days as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, led by the mighty Dongfeng, has romped up the East Australian coast on flat, blue water and running before a fresh southerly breeze.
But Dongfeng and second-placed Team AkzoNobel have seen their advantage over the chasing boats dramatically reduced as the fleet heads offshore into the Coral Sea, with Dongfeng currently at a position around 300 miles east-northeast of Brisbane.

As the boats enter the southeast trade wind belt that will take them up to the turning point off the Solomon Islands and the Doldrums, the boats behind have made big gains with MAPFRE – currently in third place for the leg - having cut its deficit on Dongfeng from around 46 miles to just seven.


Over the last 270 miles the crew on the red and white Volvo Ocean 65 sponsored by Dongfeng Motor Corporation has been busy with manoeuvres, gybing 10 times as they have sought out the best pressure and tried to avoid the worst of the south-flowing East Australian Current. MAPFRE by contrast has gybed only four times.

Mid-way through the fourth day at sea, and with 4,400 nautical miles still to sail to Hong Kong, the fleet is broken into three groups with Dongfeng cruising along at 18 knots in the lead with Akzo right on her tail, two-and-a-half miles back. Then there is a group of three boats to windward led by MAPFRE, followed by Vestas 11th Hour Racing (+15.8 on the leader) and Turn the Tide on Plastic (+24). The final pair of Team Brunel and Sun Hung Kai Scallywag are another 30 and 40 miles back respectively.

Up ahead, as temperatures ramp up, the fleet can expect a long drag race on starboard with cloud dodging becoming more and more important as navigators try to avoid being trapped in windless holes while their rivals sail by just a mile or so on either side.



Things are looking up
After a few days of struggling to find the right pace, things start to look better. The (new) team is finding out the process better and better and that's paying off. The lighter weather might create new opportunities for us! Watch the video and find out how beautiful sailing at night is, and where Capey thinks is paradise..


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)

Carl Spackler
01-05-2018, 03:50 PM

Whats up with those specks?

01-06-2018, 10:16 AM

Want to know what Franck Cammas is really like? Our OBR, Martin Keruzore gives us the lowdown below:

After just a few hours of sailing with him, you start to get a better understanding of how this guy has got to where he is today. A genius, a perfectionist or just gifted? I’m not sure which…

Franck climbed aboard Dongfeng at the start of the week when we set sail from Melbourne for Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race. He has never raced nor trained on a Volvo Ocean 65 but within a matter of miles our navigator for this leg was fully focussed on the team’s performance and integrated into life on board.

You’d think Franck trusted no one. When he’s not happy with the boat speed, which is very often the case, he comes out of his hideout and pounces on the helm to get a real feel for what’s going on and understand the whys and wherefores.


He has a sharp, keen eye and you can see that his brain is whirring fast…very fast. He scrutinises and analyses the slightest detail and the slightest trim. He doesn’t think twice about going to check the trim of the headsails himself to be sure that the boat is at the absolute peak of her ability.

He may examine everything in detail, getting a hosing down from bow to stern and investigating everything from the wand down to the keel in a bid to track down the disruptive element. We are always too slow for Franck, satisfaction is not part of his vocabulary. There is always better, always more efficient and faster.

You’d think that to succeed you have to be a bit crazy and it becomes borderline exhausting just watching him and listening to him. He never stops. He runs everywhere, despite the smallness of the boat. It’s wearing. One thing for sure though, it has already proven its worth and this excellent sailor forces immense respect.

Image and blog by Martin Keruzoré / Volvo Ocean Race

01-08-2018, 09:22 AM
Competition intensifies as the doldrums take hold


The new week started with a reshuffle of the Leg 4 leaderboard as the seven-strong Volvo Ocean Race fleet eased into the Doldrums for the second time so far this race.

After six days at sea, racing is so tight between the top five teams that the smallest of gains or losses can propel them up the rankings or send them plummeting down the positions.

This was certainly the case on Monday as Vestas 11th Hour Racing became the new Leg 4 leaders while Dongfeng Race Team, the table-toppers for the first five days of racing, found themselves in fourth.


Earlier Monday it was MAPFRE who occupied the top spot but at 1300 UTC the Spanish team had slid to fifth, while Turn the Tide on Plastic had rocketed into second.

In reality the top five are neck and neck, just six miles splitting them in terms of distance to finish, and reason for the reordering is down to each team’s lateral positioning.

As the most westerly boat in the fleet, Vestas 11th Hour Racing are now closer to the next waypoint than any other team. But whether this is the strongest position tactically remains to be seen.

Dongfeng are the furthest east of the fleet, with MAPFRE, Turn the Tide on Plastic and team AkzoNobel inside them.



With the current forecast the fleet is facing several hundred miles of light winds through the Doldrums, characterised by clouds, thunder storms and squalls that can hit without warning.

The most direct route to Hong Kong would see them sail a more north-westerly course, but for all seven teams the key to success lies in how soon they can escape the clutches of the Doldrums.

That means heading north as quickly as possible to get to the north-easterly trade winds and the better, more stable breeze they promise.


The next 36 hours will arguably be among the most vital of the 6,000-mile stage – and could ultimately determine the Leg 4 podium despite there still being more than 3,000 miles left to sail.

The enormity of the situation has not been lost on the sailors.

“We've just had a post sunset total race reset,” said AkzoNobel’s Luke Molloy. “Vestas, MAPFRE, Dongfeng and Azko are all bunched together with TTOP not far behind.

"The moment is intense, it could be the making or breaking of the race over the next hour."


Vestas 11th Hour Racing crewmember Tom Johnson added: “Everyone’s had their chance at leading in this front pack. You’ve just got to make the right tactical call, get the right cloud, take the shift and it’s all up for grabs.”

While the battle raged for first place, Team Brunel in sixth, around 20 miles south of the leading group, had other things than just racing to contend with when they bore the brunt of a particularly violent electric storm.


“The stable breeze instantly changed and before we knew it we were becalmed,” skipper Bouwe Bekking revealed. “Then a huge lightning strike hit, so close the sparks were flying off the mast and runners.

“Rome [Kirby], who was driving, was lying flat on the deck, just from the shock of the massive sound as well.”

None of the sailors were injured, and miraculously their boat electronics survived intact too.

Whether the nerves of the sailors across the fleet survive as well over the coming days is an open question.


Today was all about cloud activity and making the best of the wind it delivered. ☁️

We tried to avoid certain areas of big black clouds and run away from other areas of dark clouds to ensure we could always make progress in the right direction. There is a lot more of this kind of activity ahead looking at the satellite pictures and some of the clouds are looking very active.

Which ever boat comes out of the clouds ahead first will do very well, however the light airs area of the doldrums is looking large at the moment.

Tonight is all about the lightening. On the satellite picture there is some activity 100 miles to the East of us and 20 miles to the West of us and it is putting on quite the performance. Lighting up the sky and making some dramatic images. There is no thunder so it is a silent movie being made for us to view in front line seats.

Winds are light and temperatures are rising and everyone is pushing to get north as fast as possible. We may have lateral separation from the fleet but I am sure this will reduce in the next 100 miles.

Yesterday, I commented on how little we have seen regarding marine life and I was hoping to say we could say the same about the debris in the oceans however, today that is not the case. We saw 'Wilson' The football Tom Hanks spoke to in 'Castaway' floating along today and then we had a rudder snag in a fishing net. The reality is there and it was a reminder that our oceans are littered with debris and it is human rubbish, so ultimately our fault. Lets help make a change this year.

Dee and Team TTTOP

TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)



01-09-2018, 10:41 AM

As Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race neared its halfway point on Tuesday, any memories of the freezing cold Southern Ocean had long been banished.

With every mile that the fleet climbs further north through the South Pacific, so the temperature of both the air and water rise too.

Gone are the days of wearing countless layers of weather-proof clothing in a desperate attempt to stay warm and dry.

Instead, seven days into the 6,000 mile leg from Melbourne to Hong Kong, the Volvo Ocean Race sailors are battling extreme heat as they close in on the Equator.



The lack of breeze in the Doldrums only compounds the problem, slowing their progress through one of the most notorious climate zones for sailors.

Usually lighter airs give sailors a chance to rest ahead of the next big blow but there’s no respite from the heat – it’s hotter down below than it is on deck.

“It’s probably a really nice, comfortable 50 degrees celsius downstairs and about 47.8 degrees up on deck,” said Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Phil Harmer with a wry smile. “The sea temperature is 32 degrees – it’s just a pleasure. Even the off-watch guys don’t want to be down below.”

Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag’s Ben Piggott, the youngest sailor in the fleet at just 21 years old, added: “It’s refreshing being able to sit up on deck and not wear five layers of clothes but at the same time it’s so frustrating because we’re just not going anywhere.”



The blistering speeds of the opening few days of the leg might too be a distant memory but the racing continues to heat up.

At 1300 UTC Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic topped the Leg 4 leaderboard as the most westerly boat in the fleet, with the Vestas squad, team AkzoNobel, Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE all lined up alongside them across a 15-mile gap.

It’s so close at the front that most boats are in sight of one another after 3,000 miles of intense ocean racing.

Team Brunel were just 11 miles directly behind Turn the Tide, while Scallywag was some 30 miles back.

Although Hong Kong lies some 3,000 miles to the north west of the fleet, the short-term goal is to get north as quickly as possible to reach the trade winds.

Once into this stable breeze the teams will be able to swing their bows left, open up the throttles and start knocking off the miles to the Leg 4 finish. But this respite is still some 36 hours away.

TRACKER (http://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)


01-10-2018, 10:31 AM
The Volvo Fleet has finally broken through the doldrums and into some freshening breeze
on their sojourn north to Hong Kong!


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)


When the Volvo Ocean Race fleet first encountered the notorious Doldrums as they raced through the Atlantic between Lisbon and Cape Town on Leg 2, they breezed through with minimal disruption.

On the eighth day of Leg 4, it seemed the Doldrums were making up for missed opportunities earlier in the race by refusing to relinquish their grip on the seven teams currently ensnared in painfully light winds and blistering heat.

For three days now the crews have been solely focused on getting north as quickly as possible so they can lock into the consistent trade winds that will fire them towards Hong Kong – but the race has been slow going.

The wind has been almost non-existent, reducing average speeds over the last 24 hours to as little as three knots, while the air and sea temperatures have risen to uncomfortable levels.

The only respite to the flapping sails and glassy seas is when a cloud appears – and then the temporary breeze it brings can be friend or foe.

The excruciating conditions have left the fleet flummoxed.

“It’s hot and slow,” said Jens Dolmer, boat captain on second-placed Team Brunel. “It’s been frustrating – we’ve done under 100 miles in 24 hours. During the day it’s very, very hot with no breeze at all. It saps your energy completely.”

Asked to describe the current situation, Dolmer’s crewmate Sally Barkow needed just one word. “Torture,” she replied.





The fickle nature of the Doldrums has seen most teams make gains and losses. At one point it seemed that those teams more to the east – Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Dongfeng Race Team, team Akzonobel and MAPFRE – had got a jump on Turn the Tide on Plastic, Brunel and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag to the east.

But by the next position report the westerly boats had pulled back the deficit and drawn level once more.

The real winners in the past 24 hours has been Scallywag, who have managed to reduce a gap of more than 30 miles to around 10.



In fact the 1300 UTC update placed them top of the rankings due to their westerly position, technically closer to the finish line, their home port and scores of waiting fans.

“We’ve made gains on the fleet as the fastest boat, going a whole four knots,” Scallywag navigator Libby Greenhalgh said. “We’ve probably got another 250 miles of this light stuff, and at the moment we seem to be wiggling along quite well. If we can keep making gains and get ourselves level with the others then we’re in with a shout.”

Despite what the rankings say, the smart money remains on the team that can hit the trade winds lying some 250 miles north first – and jump on the highway to Hong Kong.



IOR Geezer
01-12-2018, 09:41 AM
It appears some of the boats had not gotten enough doldrums and went back for more!

01-12-2018, 02:48 PM
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet was gearing up to jump on the highway to Hong Kong on Friday after returning to the Northern Hemisphere for the first time since mid-November.


All seven teams have now crossed the Equator, and at 1300 UTC were positioned right on the cusp of the trade winds that will fire them towards the finish line.

Once they hook onto the prevailing easterly breeze they can expect steady winds of up to 20 knots – a stark contrast to the tortuous and fluky conditions faced in the Doldrums over the last five days.

It will also spell an end to the constant gybing to avoid clouds that the Doldrums has demanded, replaced with simple and fast straight-line sailing.

Until then though, the teams are having to contend with squalls and lulls that could yet see the order change.




“Conditions have been really tricky,” said Carolijn Brouwer, crewmember on Dongfeng. “The wind picked up from four to 11 knots so we started shifting all the weight back in the boat. As soon as we’d finished the wind dropped again and we had to move it all back. It’s a real dance we have to do.”

At the latest ranking update Dongfeng, the furthest east team, were in seventh place but Brouwer said they were confident onboard that their position would prove a strong one once they reach the trades.

“In our last sched it didn’t look too good for us, we’re in last place, but from where we are and what we expect the weather to do that’s not entirely how we see it,” she added. “We’ve been aiming to get as far north as possible. The first boat to hook into the north-easterly trade winds will get richer, and that’s been our objective. We’re happy to the most easterly boat.”

Itching to rise through the rankings and secure a podium position returning to their home port, Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag have gone for the opposite approach, staking their money on a course around 50 nautical miles west of the fleet, effectively cutting the corner on the left hand turn towards Hong Kong.



Scallywag skipper Dave Witt has spoken candidly about his team’s desire to arrive home ahead of their rivals – and after trailing for the majority of the leg he and navigator Libby Greenhalgh chose today to make their move.

As the most westerly boat in the fleet, and therefore closer in distance to the finish line, they shot to the top of the leg rankings and they were among the quickest boats in the fleet at 1300.

Projections suggest that the move could see them end up neck and neck with the other teams when the fleet converges in the coming days.



The return to the Northern Hemisphere also triggered the return of King Neptune, as more ‘pollywogs’ – sailors crossing the Equator for the first time – were inducted into his court.

Twenty one sailors and six OBRs faced the traditional inauguration ritual during Leg 2 from Lisbon to Cape Town.

On Leg 4, those in Neptune’s line of sight included Team Brunel’s Sam Newton, Hannah Diamond on Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Bleddyn Mon and Bernardo Freitas on Turn the Tide on Plastic and Trystan Seal on Scallywag.

With Kyle Langford playing the role of Neptune, Newton was covered with days-old food leftovers before having chunks shaved out of his hair.

But with just under 3,000 miles of Leg 4 still to go, Newton has plenty of time to grow his hair back before arriving Hong Kong.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)

01-14-2018, 01:13 PM

Following a dramatic man overboard recovery on Sunday, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag retain their lead in the race to Hong Kong...

Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag retain the lead in Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race, despite a dramatic man overboard scenario on Sunday.

Crew member Alex Gough was washed overboard by a wave during a sail change, near midday local time on Sunday afternoon, in winds of 15-20 knots.




The team swung into recovery mode, and Gough was back on board within seven minutes, unharmed. Scallywag resumed racing immediately.

“He went out on the outrigger, I was driving, and we went off a big sea and it picked him up threw him off, like a horse,” skipper David Witt said.

“The main thing is, we got him back on board. He’s safe. But I think it’s shown everyone how hard it is to see the guy in the water. Even on a sunny day, 18 knots of wind… You wouldn’t want to be doing this in 20 knots in the dark.”


Gough wasn’t wearing a harness or a lifejacket. Witt says he should have been tethered, or at minimum have told the helmsman what he was doing, before he went outside the lifelines on the outrigger.

“I was pretty stupid, but luckily the guys were on to it. They turned around bloody quickly,” Gough said. “I’m good. I’m fine. It was a bit scary… But off we go again.”




The manoeuvre cost the team some miles, but they had a few to spare, and still lead the fleet on the fast charge westward towards Hong Kong, now just over 2,000 nautical miles away.

Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel continue to take a northerly option in comparison to the rest of the fleet, but to this point, are not seeing significantly different weather conditions.

MAPFRE has worked well to push out some 30 miles ahead of Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Brunel but remains at least 150 miles directly behind Scallywag and with some work to do to reel in the leaders as the fleet winds and weaves through the islands, islets and atolls of Micronesia.

Leg 4 – Position Report – Sunday 14 January (Day 13) – 13:00 UTC

TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)


IOR Geezer
01-15-2018, 09:56 AM
They should be clipping in or at least be wearing lifejackets.

01-15-2018, 12:00 PM
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag increased their lead in Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Monday as the sprint for the Hong Kong finish line moved inside 1,700 nautical miles.


Dave Witt’s team shot to the front of the fleet on Saturday after ‘cutting the corner’ north of the Solomon Islands and have since then consolidated their lead over their six rivals.

Driven on by the opportunity to lead the fleet across the finish line in the first ever Volvo Ocean Race stopover in their home town of Hong Kong, Scallywag have found an extra gear as they profit from favourable trade winds at the front of the fleet.


In the 24 hours prior to the 1300 UTC position report Scallywag clocked up an impressive 504.7 miles, 25 miles more than second-placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing managed and 77 miles more than team AkzoNobel in third.

Vestas were today some 76 miles behind, and AkzoNobel were trailing by just under 89 miles.

Despite their healthy lead, the Scallywags are taking nothing for granted.




“A couple of days ago we’d lost a fair few miles, and so we looked at some of the weather files and tried to do something slightly different,” Scallywag crewman John Fisher explained.

“Over the last day or so it’s started to pay off. It’s more positive not being at the back but you know it can all change. Hong Kong is our home town so for us to get a good result would be everything.”

Among those cheering for Scallywag is one group of unlikely fans – the crew of MAPFRE.

Then there’s the fact that Scallywag navigator Libby Greenhalgh is MAPFRE helmsman Rob Greenhalgh’s sister.

“[A win for Scallywag] would good for them but good for us too,” Greenhalgh said. “With a bonus point available for winning the leg it would be best for us if that doesn’t go to Vestas or Dongfeng. We’re all rooting for Scallywag for multiple reasons. Go Scallywag!”

The north-easterly trade winds now dominate the run in to Hong Kong, limiting the tactical options available to the teams.

Instead the focus is on pure boat speed as each crew attempts to rise through the rankings over the final days of Leg 4.

Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel might be in sixth place, almost 220 miles behind Scallywag, but they haven’t given up hope.

“It doesn’t look like there’s too many options other than just speed – it’s downwind sailing pointing straight at the finish line,” Carlo Huisman said. “But spirits are still high on board. We’ve just got to stay as fast as we can.”

It turned to Liz Wardley – nicknamed Little Miss Fix It by skipper Dee Caffari – to solve the problem. She quickly identified a corroded part within the water maker, and soon after the crew had fresh water again.

The long, slow, torturous doldrums is a thing of the past and miles are slipping away under the keel at an impressive pace as the teams enjoy trade wind sailing conditions.

There's been plenty of dodging and weaving through the islands, islets and atolls of Micronesia, but the net result has been good progress towards the finish line.

SHK/Scallywag continues to lead the charge - with skipper David Witt pushing for a win on his homecoming leg and stretching his lead to 76 miles at 0700 UTC on Monday morning.

"A couple of days ago we'd lost 50 miles and then we looked at some of the weather files and tried to do something different and over the last day or so it's paid off," said Scallywag's John Fisher.

"For us to get a good result into what is our home port would be everything."

It's far from a done deal, with just under 2,000 miles to run. But in the short term, the conditions will enable fast progress.

"Champagne sailing conditions as we weave through atolls and reefs," writes Team Brunel's Abby Ehler. "We lost sight of #TTTOP last night as we split course through the islands. Sea temperature is 29degC, breeze at 20kts and we’re downwind sailing!"


The latest ETA for the leaders is Friday UTC.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)

01-17-2018, 10:25 AM
SHK/Scallywag fighting to the finish


As the Volvo Ocean Race stopover village opens in Hong Kong, the home team, SHK/Scallywag, continues its charge towards the finishing line...

Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag skipper Dave Witt says the next 24 hours are the most vital of Leg 4 as they close in on an historic victory in their home town of Hong Kong.

Witt’s crew were sitting almost 100 nautical miles in front of their closest rivals Vestas 11th Hour Racing on Wednesday with just 840 miles to the finish line.

Despite the healthy buffer, Hong Kong is still 36 hours away, and Scallywag’s experienced sailors know better than to start celebrating just yet.


To get to the finish they must first thread their way in between Taiwan and the Philippines, some 400 miles ahead. There are some patches of light wind in the area that need to be avoided.

According to Witt, the 24 hours leading up to this point will decide whether they can hang on to the top spot all the way home.

“For me the biggest concern is from here to the top of the Philippines,” he said. “Once we get around the corner of the Philippines to Hong Kong it’s pretty easy, I don’t think we can get passed there. The most danger lies between here and there so the next 24 hours are the most important.

“If we can get through the next three scheds without a loss there won’t be enough runway for anyone to catch us. We’re going to push really hard for the next 24 hours, and hopefully ‘sign the deal’.

“Basically the only way we are going to lose it is if we park up and stop, and I’ll make sure we won’t do that.”

A moment of panic set in when Scallywag hit a patch of light airs, halting progress. But thankfully for them the breeze that was forecast to fill in ahead of them materialised, and by 1300 UTC they were back up to speed.

“I don’t think anyone really understands the magnitude of this if we manage to pull it off,” Witt added. “There are so many firsts: first Hong Kong team ever, first time to Hong Kong… hopefully we will have plenty of time in Hong Kong over beers to let it sink in – but we have to get there first.”



Second-placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing were seemingly sitting pretty thanks to a 70-mile gap between them and team AkzoNobel in third on the leaderboard today.

However Dongfeng Race Team had been in third place some 50 miles behind Vestas before opting to go in to stealth mode, hiding their position from the fleet for 24 hours.

Charles Caudrelier’s crew will reappear on the tracker at 1900 UTC – and only then will anyone know what strategy they’ve been employing and whether they’ve closed the gap at all.

Sixty miles behind AkzoNobel were overall race leaders MAPFRE, with Team Brunel in fifth and Turn the Tide on Plastic in sixth.




Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking, the most experienced Volvo Ocean Race sailor in the fleet, admitted his team have struggled for speed.

“Everybody is giving a 100 per cent, there is no doubt about that, but at the moment that’s just not enough,” he said. “We’ve made a mistake twice, once at the beginning of the leg and once in the Doldrums.

“With lower wind speeds and when we’re sailing closer angles to the wind we do alright, but when it’s like this, with more wind and coming more from the back, we barely manage to keep up with the rest of the fleet. It’s frustrating, but the only thing we can do on board is remain positive and trim and steer the boat as well as possible.”

Meanwhile the first ever Volvo Ocean Race Hong Kong stopover officially opened on Wednesday following a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The stopover, which is situated on Hong Kong's Kai Tak Runway Park, marks the first time that the boats have visited the region – and with local team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag currently leading the Leg 4 fleet, the excitement is tangible


Local dignitaries included Tong Yui Shing, President of the Hong Kong Sailing Federation; Andrew Kwok, CEO of HGC; The Hon Lau Kong-wah, Secretary for Home Affairs. They were joined by Volvo Ocean Race Executive Director Karin Backlund, and Grant Calder, Hong Kong Port Director.

Following the ribbon-cutting, the guests were given a tour of the Race Village. The facility was already full of local school kids enjoying the interactive and immersive activities and structures. Over 12,500 local students will visit the Race Village during the festival period as part of the Schools Programme.

The latest ETA for the leading boat – SHK/Scallywag - is early afternoon on Friday, UTC (Friday night in Hong Kong).

Leg 4 – Position Report – Wednesday 17 January (Day 16)

TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)


01-18-2018, 11:08 AM
Volvo Ocean Race fans around the world were on the edges of their seats on Thursday as Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag’s emergence from “Stealth Mode” corresponded with two of their closest rivals ‘disappearing’ from the tracker.


Scallywag had a jump of just 40 miles on second-placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing when they went into Stealth Mode just before 1700 UTC on Wednesday, cloaking their position from their rivals and from fans for three consecutive six-hourly position reports.

At 1300 UTC they reappeared on the tracker back in the number one spot with only 500 miles left – but just when it seemed the action couldn’t get any more tense, podium challengers Vestas 11th Hour Racing and team AkzoNobel deployed Stealth Mode.



Team Brunel, locked in their own battle with MAPFRE and Turn the Tide on Plastic for fifth, also chose to go ‘undercover’, leaving only four teams on the tracker with 24 hours to go.

At 1300 UTC Scallywag were 37 miles ahead of Dongfeng, but both teams – and race fans – were left guessing as to where Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Akzonobel were. If we assume the Vestas team remains ahead of Dongfeng, the race to finish in Hong Kong is getting closer and closer.

Prior to emerging from Stealth Mode, Scallywag skipper Dave Witt hinted at just how tight it is at the top – and revealed that the race to the finish line could go down to the wire.

“I think it’s a good for some of our fans that we’ve been in Stealth Mode because there’s a few people who’d be having heart attacks if they knew how close it was,” Witt said. “We are in front, we are leading, but it’s really close. The others don’t realise how close it is.

“We haven’t trusted our weather routing software at all on this leg but now we want to because it says we’re going to beat Vestas in by an hour and a half. To all the Scallywag supporters in Hong Kong: say a prayer for us tonight.”



Despite their proximity to the finish, the teams have several hurdles still to contend with.

First they must pick the right moment to gybe in order to thread their way through the islands of the Luzon Strait.

This must be done without getting caught in the huge wind shadow created by Taiwan, or the smaller islands of the northern Philippines.

Once they reach Hong Kong they may face a stretch of light winds as they navigate the final miles to the finish line.

These uncertainties mean that even at this late stage of the leg, anything can happen.

“It’s getting interesting now,” said Simon Fisher, navigator on Vestas 11th Hour Racing. “Everyone’s looking for their opportunities. The path past the Philippines and into the South China Sea is open to a number of options and some important choices will have to be made.

“We can easily see the fleet splitting which will no doubt lead to more tension as we close on the finish.”

The most up-to-date ETAs see the leaders arriving between 1600 to 2000 UTC Friday afternoon, with the back trio due in between 0200 and 0630 UTC on Saturday morning.

TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg04.html)




NOTE: The port of Hong Kong is one of the busiest in the world, and crews will need to be on their toes as they near the finish!

Prince of Whales
01-18-2018, 11:32 AM
Team Azkonobel:Telling it like it is!

Charlie Tuna
01-18-2018, 12:36 PM
Finally! The real poop on poop!

01-19-2018, 10:43 AM

Coming back from a 100nm deficit early in leg 4, Team Scallywag Wins Leg 4, Finishing in Hong Kong!



01-19-2018, 12:35 PM
Official Statement from Volvo Ocean Race on Vestas 11th Hour Racing

Vestas 11th Hour Racing has informed Race Control of a collision with another vessel approximately 30 miles from the finish line of Leg 4 in Hong Kong.

Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed by the team at approximately 17:39 UTC.

All of the crew on Vestas 11th Hour Racing is reported to be safe. There is limited damage to the boat, but the team is still assessing this.

There is no information at this time on the condition of the other vessel.

Race Control has contacted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre to inform them of the incident. Race Control has also informed the rest of the fleet of the incident.

We will have more information as it becomes available.




Buzz Light Beer
01-19-2018, 01:07 PM
Wonder if anyone one board speaks Cantonese?

Prince of Whales
01-19-2018, 01:23 PM
If they didn't before, they are in a full immersion course now!

El Capitan
01-19-2018, 02:11 PM
Whatever happened, they seem to be drifting dead down wind.

Carl Spackler
01-19-2018, 03:32 PM
Appears that Akzonobel is on scene assisting.

Dutch Rudder
01-19-2018, 03:41 PM
Both now underway, Akzonobel doing twice the speed as Vestas.

Must have suffered some rig reduction in the collision?

01-19-2018, 04:23 PM

Whatever the damage was, it was enough for Vesta's to retire!



Screen shots just prior to Vesta's retiring...

Panama Red
01-19-2018, 04:45 PM
Lot of hush hush from Volvo.

Rumor of collision with fishing boat resulting in fishing boat sinking and Vesta's crew pulling crew from water.

01-19-2018, 05:46 PM
Rich Gladwell with Sail-World.com (http://www.sail-world.com/news/201295/Vestas-11th-hour-heading-for-nearby-port) spills the beans:

Volvo Ocean Race has advised that Vestas Wind 11th Hour Racing has retired from Leg 4 after a collision with another vessel approximately 30nm from the finish.

Sail-World's Asian Editor Guy Nowell was in the media centre at the time of the incident and confirmed that Vestas 11th Hour hit a fishing boat, two of the fishing boat's crew were thrown into the water.

Helicopters were despatched from Hong Kong to assist by rescue authorities.


It is understood that Vestas 11th Hour suffered minor damage in the incident. However that will have to wait for a full inspection and report once she docks in Hong Kong.

Initially another competitor AkzoNobel was asked to stand by Vestas 11th Hour Racing however she has now been stood down and will resume racing.
The other vessel involved in the incident has not been named. The incident occurred in darkness after midnight. It was a fishing vessel and presumably was unlit and not running AIS.

Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the incident by the team at approximately 17:39 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018, or 0139hrs local time.
The initial report from Volvo Ocean Race was that "all of the crew on Vestas 11th Hour Racing were reported to be safe. There is limited damage to the boat, which the team is still assessing. The team has not requested outside assistance.
There is no information at this time on the condition of the other vessel.

Race Control has contacted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre to inform them of the incident. Race Control has also informed the rest of the fleet of the incident."
Approximately three hours after the incident at 2150UTC Volvo Ocean Race Control advised that it had "requested team AkzoNobel to divert from its course to the finish line in Hong Kong to support

Vestas 11th Hour Racing following a collision with another vessel." 90 minutes later they advised that "Team AkzoNobel has resumed racing and is expected to finish near midnight UTC."
She will be able to claim compensation for the 90 minutes lost in the exercise.

At 2330UTC (7.30am local time) Race Control advised that "Vestas 11th Hour Racing has retired from Leg 4 following a collision. The team is proceeding under its own power to Hong Kong."
Sail-World will update this story as more information from Volvo Ocean Race comes to hand.
Sail-World's Asian Editor is in Hong Kong and we expect to be able to post updates and images from Guy as soon as they come to hand.

Big Brass Balls
01-19-2018, 08:08 PM
Thanks for the update.

The Volvo site is less than forthcoming.

01-19-2018, 08:44 PM
Sad news reported via HK News (https://hk.news.appledaily.com/breaking/realtime/article/20180120/57730669)

Apparently there is a death of a fisherman in the collision...

Report just in:

At about 2 am, a sailing vessel was engaged in a collision with a fishing vessel off the Mainland on the east of Waililan Island. After the accident, the fishing boat sank and 10 people fell onto the sea and were rescued. However, one of them He was seriously injured and was taken by the Government Flying Service helicopter to Eastern Hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, he was eventually declared dead. Police are investigating the collision between the two vessels.

As the Volvo Ocean Race was recently held in Hong Kong for the first time recently, Hong Kong Subway Station is the fifth of the 12 sub-stations of the 45,000-mile race. It is the largest sailing event in Hong Kong. "Apple "We are going to the General Assembly to know if the sailing vessel is participating in the vessel.

Things just went south in a big, big way.... =(

Big Brass Balls
01-19-2018, 08:46 PM

01-19-2018, 08:47 PM
THAT explains the silence.

Godspeed all involved.

Dumass Head
01-19-2018, 08:50 PM
Terrible news.

Condolences to all.


01-19-2018, 11:44 PM
Fatality confirmed of fishing vessel crew member
The Volvo Ocean Race is deeply saddened to inform that the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a team competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, and a fishing vessel has resulted in a fatality of a crew of the fishing vessel.

On behalf of the Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the deceased.

The incident occurred approximately 30 miles from the finish of Leg 4, outside of Hong Kong waters. Race Control at Volvo Ocean Race headquarters was informed of the collision by the team moments after it happened at approximately 17:23 UTC on Friday January 19, 2018 (01:23 local time on Saturday morning).

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team, none of whom were injured in the collision, issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, alerting the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC) and undertook a search and rescue mission.

HKMRCC informed Race Control that a commercial vessel in the area was able to rescue nine of the crew and that a tenth crew member was taken by helicopter to hospital. HKMRCC has since confirmed the death of the air-lifted crew member.

Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing are now focused on providing immediate support to those affected by this incident.

All involved organisations are co-operating with the authorities and are fully supporting the ongoing investigation.

01-20-2018, 08:08 AM

Front Page of South China Morning News Linky (http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-crime/article/2129784/man-dies-after-mainland-chinese-fishing-boat-crashes-near)

A man died on Saturday after a yacht competing in an around-the-world race crashed with a fishing boat just outside Hong Kong waters in the early hours.

The vessel of American-Danish team Vestas 11th Hour Racing hit the mainland fishing boat at about 2am. The latter sank and 10 fishermen fell into the sea, the organisers of the Volvo Ocean Race confirmed.

Marine police and other emergency services launched a rescue mission after the yacht’s crew sent a distress signal. The fishermen were picked up to the east of Waglan Island.

One crew member from the fishing boat was seriously injured and had to be taken to hospital by helicopter. He was confirmed dead at 6.30am, a police spokesman said.

The others were being treated at Eastern Hospital.

The racing sailors were reported safe. Their 65ft sloop was slightly damaged, the organiser said.

The police spokesman said officers were investigating.

The Volvo Ocean Race, held every three years, started in Alicante, Spain. Melbourne-Hong Kong was the fourth leg of 11 in the event.

This year’s edition stops at 12 cities, with seven teams taking about eight months to finish the voyage, which ends in The Hague, the Netherlands, in June. This is the first year that the race has stopped at Hong Kong.

A rival team reported that Vestas 11th Hour Racing, which had retired from the leg and was proceeding under its own power to Hong Kong, had collided with a fishing boat.

A spokesman for the Government Flying Service, which sent the helicopter, said it received a call about the crash at 2.37am. The caller told the operator one crew member was missing while nine others had already been pulled up by other boats.

A rescue helicopter arrived at the scene at 4.30am to pick up the man, who was unconscious but had been pulled onto a sailing boat.

Before the crash, Vestas, led by Americans Charlie Enright and Mark Towill, had been in position to finish second in the leg, which Hong Kong-based Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag won.

Race organisers said in a statement: “The Volvo Ocean Race is deeply saddened to inform that the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing, a team competing in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, and a fishing vessel has resulted in a fatality of a crew member of the fishing vessel.

“On behalf of the Volvo Ocean Race and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of the deceased.”

It is not the first death associated with the race. A Dutch sailor died after falling overboard during the 2006 race, and three competitors died during the inaugural race in 1973-74, with two of the bodies never recovered.

01-21-2018, 11:11 AM
Phil Lawrence, Race Director for the Volvo Ocean Race, gives an update on the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a non-racing vessel overnight on Friday.
January 21, 2018
05:00 UTC

Phil, what do we know about what happened on the night of Friday 19 January between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a non-racing boat?

First of all, we know a man lost his life, tragically, after an incident with one of our race boats. We offer our deepest condolences to his loved ones and family. We are relieved that the nine other mariners on board were rescued and initial reports have them in good condition.

In terms of what happened, we know a collision occurred shortly before 1723 UTC (which is when Race Control received the first message from Vestas 11th Hour Racing) between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a non-racing vessel. The incident took place around 30 miles from the Leg 4 finish line in Hong Kong.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing immediately stopped racing, informed us at Race Control of the incident (at 1736 UTC), sent a Mayday distress signal on behalf of the other vessel and aided in the search and rescue mission.

What happened then?

Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre informed Race Control that a nearby commercial vessel had rescued nine of the crew from the other boat, and a tenth was taken to hospital by helicopter after he had been rescued from the water by the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew. We’re deeply saddened to report that Hong Kong MRCC confirmed the death of that airlifted crewmember later on Saturday morning.

What happened to the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew and boat?

All Vestas 11th Hour Racing crewmembers are safe and uninjured but the boat suffered some damage to its hull. After participating in the rescue, the team was able to return to port without assistance and under its own power despite the damage. At no time did Vestas 11th Hour Racing request assistance for themselves.

What caused the collision? Was the other boat showing navigation lights, or using the AIS (Automatic Identification System)?

We don’t have answers to those questions yet but of course those are central question to the on-going investigation. Both Vestas 11th Hour Racing and the Volvo Ocean Race will cooperate with the relevant authorities to establish what happened.

Could Race Control have prevented this accident by informing Vestas 11th Hour Racing of an imminent collision?

No. While Race Control does monitor the position of the race boats for safety reasons, Race Control does not have access to the position of every other vessel at sea.

What do we know about the other vessel involved in the collision and its crew?

We are trying to find out more. We know the other boat was damaged significantly and understand that it sank as a result of the incident. We know that 10 crew were on board and that all 10 were recovered but tragically, one was later pronounced dead at the hospital. We at Volvo Ocean Race, along with Vestas 11th Hour Racing are working with the local authorities to learn more about the crew of the boat involved in the incident. In fact, that is our main priority.

Can you release the name of the casualty?

We are seeking confirmation of identity from authorities as well as the appropriate information to release as per local custom.

What happened with Dongfeng Race Team and team AkzoNobel in terms of them assisting with the rescue?

Dongfeng Race Team were the first race boat to be near the scene and they immediately offered to divert to assist. Race Control notified Dongfeng Race Team they could be released from the scene and at 1821 UTC Vestas 11th Hour Racing confirmed by email to Dongfeng Race Team that additional assistance was not required, so the team continued on to the finish.

Later, when team AkzoNobel arrived near the area on its route to the finish line, Race Control requested they stand by to support Vestas 11th Hour Racing as a precaution. Neither Vestas 11th Hour Racing nor the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre requested this assistance and once it was clear they were not required, Race Control released team AkzoNobel to finish the leg.

How is the crew of Vestas 11th Hour Racing?

As you would imagine they are very shaken and deeply saddened by the incident. They are being supported by the rest of their team as well the Volvo Ocean Race organisation and have access to professional support should they request it.

What happens next?

Along with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, we are actively working with the Hong Kong Police and the Maritime Authority to support the on-going investigation.

01-21-2018, 11:42 AM
Fishing boats and nets everywhere, it’s a nightmare’: why Hong Kong’s waters are so dangerous for sailing


[The Vestas yacht was sent to a port in Tsing Yi after it hit a mainland fishing boat at about 2am on Saturday. Photo: Felix Wong]

Sailors give their accounts of racing in one of the world’s busiest ports as fatal collision mars Volvo Ocean Race
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 January, 2018, 6:56pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 January, 2018, 11:40pm

The fatal collision between a Volvo Ocean Race yacht and a fishing vessel east of Waglan Island, just outside Hong Kong waters, on Saturday has highlighted the dangers of racing in or around one of the busiest ports in the world.

Hong Kong was ranked the sixth-busiest port in the world from 2007-2016, according to the International Association of Ports and Harbours, with an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 vessels entering and leaving annually.

The Marine Department records a total of 18,540 Hong Kong-licensed vessels in 2016, an increase from 13,519 in 2007. Fishing carriers, sampans and vessels – class three vessels – make up 6,631 of the total. Figures for vessels from the mainland plying adjoining waters were not available but sailors’ accounts suggest they are numerous.


“When you sail out of Hong Kong on the first night, it’s a shocker,” said Hong Kong policeman Justin Shave, who has raced on Hong Kong boats Ragamuffin and Scallywag. “Fishing boats and nets are everywhere – it’s a nightmare.”

“They are extremely hard to predict and the navigation lights are not clear. Fishing vessels may drop miles of fishing lines in the water with sailing boats having to duck and weave through.”

Weaving through the heavy marine traffic and avoiding boats and fishing lines requires extra concentration at the best of times. Introduce seven 65-foot long, 10-storey high Volvo Ocean boats to the mix and the chance of accidents surely increases.


Former America’s Cup China team member and Hong Kong Catamarans project manager Thierry Barot said the competing sailing boats’ speed – travelling at roughly 20 to 30 knots – may have played a role in the collision, which killed one of the 10 fishing vessel crew members.

“The boats go over 20 knots, so the distance to see [in front of you] and react becomes shorter and shorter. It makes a difference, just like if you’re driving on the highway.

[The Scallywag crew celebrate winning the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race in Hong Kong. Photo: Volvo Ocean Race]

“When you spot something, the first thing to do is to identify what it is, where it’s going and where you’re going. You are always estimating with the resources and electronics on board, but the problem is that you’re going fast.”

But Barot is quick to defend the “pure” and “open” waters, insisting safety is at the top of every captain’s priority.

“These guys are professional and they know how to manage dramatic situations because there is a lot of training these days; safety and security,” said Barot. “Thirty years ago you just got on a boat, but now they have to pass their yacht masters and different safety exams.

“[Collisions] happen at sea, on the road, and in the air, everywhere. It was night time, the fishermen were doing their job and so were the sailors. It’s bad news for everyone, but the sea is for everyone – it must be shared.”

Robby Nimmo contributed to this report
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: ‘Nightmare’ scenario off Hong Kong waters

CLICKY (http://www.scmp.com/sport/hong-kong/article/2129816/fishing-boats-and-nets-everywhere-its-nightmare-why-hong-kongs)

Conan the Librarian
01-22-2018, 08:23 AM
Curious as to what the fishing vessel they hit looked like.

Can their boat be impounded?

Flat Stanley
01-22-2018, 11:09 AM
I suspect there are a lot of attorneys gathered round a big table sussing things out about now.

IOR Geezer
01-23-2018, 11:08 AM
Still no reports leaking out from the accident?

01-23-2018, 02:34 PM


All we could dig up was some close ups of the bow damage on Vestas.

Looks like they have their work cut out for them.

And that the fishing vessel was 22 meters in length and named "Yue Shanwei"


"The reporter learned from the Nanhai Rescue Bureau of the Ministry of Transport that at 3: 11 in the morning, the bureau received information on the danger of "Guangdong Nan'ao Fishing 23012" on the shore of the fishing vessel Chen Shengshuan, saying that fishing vessels "Guangdong Shanwei Fishing 12444" and foreign sailing vessels " VESTAS11THHOUR "collided about 32 nm southwest of Da Xing Shan in Huidong County. There were 10 people on board" Yue Shanwei Fishing 12444 ", of whom 9 were rescued by the fishing boat" Yue Nanao Fishing 23012 " Being rescued, asking for help."

Carl Spackler
01-23-2018, 02:51 PM
Consistent with the theory that two bodies of equal mass cannot occupy the same area at the same time.

Prince of Whales
01-24-2018, 11:01 AM

Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-founders, Mark Towill and Charlie Enright, have released a statement about the collision with a non-racing vessel that occurred just outside Hong Kong in the early hours of Saturday 20 January.

"Our thoughts and condolences are with the families and all those affected by this tragic situation," said Mark Towill.

The collision occurred near the end of the fourth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, about 30 miles from the finish line.

Immediately after securing the vessel and ensuring the safety of the crew, Vestas 11th Hour Racing issued a Mayday distress call on behalf of the other vessel, and then engaged in a search and rescue procedure in coordination with the Hong Kong Marine Rescue Coordination Centre (HKMRCC).

That search and rescue procedure eventually concluded in the team recovering one casualty from the water who was airlifted to a hospital and unfortunately did not survive. Nine crew members from the non-racing vessel were rescued.

None of the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew were injured in the collision. The boat, although significantly damaged, motored to Hong Kong under its own power.

“Our hearts go out to everyone involved in this terrible incident. It has been difficult for the crew and the entire Vestas 11th Hour Racing team. We are grateful for the overwhelming support we’ve had during this very tough time," said Charlie Enright.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing continues to work with the authorities and Volvo Ocean Race in the ongoing investigation.

The team will provide further updates in the coming days.

IOR Geezer
01-24-2018, 11:06 AM
The whole Volvo program seems to be in a media lockdown for anything other than discussing pits of plastic in the ocean.

Buzz Light Beer
01-24-2018, 12:10 PM
You have to wonder if the Vestas people are considering pulling their sponsorship.

01-25-2018, 10:45 AM

By Mark and Charlie

Vestas 11th Hour Racing has informed Volvo Ocean Race that the team will not be participating in inshore racing in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China, as well as Leg 5 from Hong Kong to Guangzhou.
The team is currently coordinating necessary repairs to the boat caused by the collision with a non-racing vessel on Saturday 20th January.

"First and foremost, our thoughts and condolences are with the families affected by this tragic incident," said Mark Towill from Hong Kong.

"At this time, we are still assessing all of our options to return to the race," said Charlie Enright. "We once again thank everyone for their continued support."

Practice racing today, followed by the In-Port Race and Around Hong Kong Race this weekend as well as pro-am racing at the start of next week, are all programmed to take place in Hong Kong.

The fleet of Volvo Ocean 65s will then depart in Leg 5 for Guangzhou on January 31st for the next stopover in mainland China.

Charlie Tuna
01-25-2018, 11:47 AM
Wonder if they will fix it there or ship it elsewhere?

01-28-2018, 11:10 AM
We have been hearing rumors that Vestas Would be shipped to Auckland and undergo bow replacement surgery.

The boat will ship soon ahead of fleet sailing to Auckland for leg 6.

There she will receive a premade bow section and get a facelift as it were and be ready for leg 7.

Expect an official announcement soon.

Prince of Whales
01-30-2018, 10:38 AM
Wonder when they will make an announcement?

Prince of Whales
02-01-2018, 10:11 AM
From the news release today after the fleet moving to Guangzhou, one boat is glaringly absent from welcoming celebrations!

Flat Stanley
02-01-2018, 10:19 AM
Maybe Vestas is still being held in Hong Kong?

Panama Red
02-01-2018, 03:00 PM
Cant believe the Clipper boats are headed that way too.

02-02-2018, 11:10 AM

Bob Fisher speculates on the Vestas tragedy

By Yachts Yachting - February 1, 2018 (http://www.yachtsandyachting.co.uk/articles/news-and-events/bob_fisher_speculates_vestas/)

With the news of the tragic loss of life at the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race, leg 4 into Hong Kong appearing almost two weeks ago, Bob Fisher has been wondering why we have not heard more on what exactly happened and speculates as to why this might be.

‘Just what the devil is going on in Hong Kong with Vestas and her collision on the last leg of the Volvo Ocean Race?’ Bob writes. ‘The official sources reveal nothing beyond the sketchy fact that the Volvo 65 hit a fishing boat some 30 miles from the finishing line. And what of those on board the fishing boat? Nine were rescued by a commercial vessel and one man was pulled aboard Vestas and taken by helicopter to hospital where he subsequently died.

‘We know that the gash is in the port side of the bow of Vestas, which would indicate that she was on starboard tack. It was night-time, the genoa was set and visibility beyond the sail would have been minimal. Vestas was the right-of-way boat to anything beneath the genoa as she was on starboard tack.

‘The fishing boat is hardly likely to be the sort of boat with which we are familiar, not even our coastal craft. My sources in Hong Kong indicate that it was likely an open craft of relatively low freeboard propelled by a 50hp outboard. The task of such craft is to tend the buoys that support the nets. It was probably without lights (that is very common in the area). Was it engaged in fishing or perhaps some other purpose like trafficking illegals or drug running?

‘What happened to the “commercial vessel” and the nine survivors of the sunken fishing boat? Absolutely nothing has been reported of what would have been a great news story, had the boat and its “rescued survivors” made it to the land. Has it completely disappeared or has it surreptitiously landed the nine men and disappeared. But nothing has been heard – doesn’t that strike you as strange? It would in Britain and the rest of Europe, but perhaps not in Hong Kong or China. Maybe there is some other explanation.

‘Meantime the skipper and crew of Vestas are perceived as the ones in the wrong AND they have a very damaged boat. The turnaround time in Hong Kong is too short for the Volvo boatyard to affect a repair. Maybe a temporary patch can be placed over the gash and Vestas motor-sailed to Auckland for the temporary boatyard there to do the necessary job. Whatever, it means that she will miss all the in-port races as well as the leg to Auckland. That effectively ruins Vestas’ chances of a top placing in this Volvo Ocean Race.

‘And how will that sit with her sponsors? For the second successive time, their yacht has met with disaster. Last time it ran aground in mid-ocean (although the shoal was charted). I imagine that the directors of Vestas are none too pleased with this type of publicity and could withdraw from this and possible future yacht races. Whatever, they cannot be pleased.

No one seems to be doing much to answer these questions, although I suppose they are at the forefront of many, like skipper Charlie Enright and navigator Simon Fisher, to say nothing of the Volvo hierarchy.

Why is there no action? International regulations are being broken on a regular basis in these waters and this presents an ideal opportunity to highlight the situation. A collision has taken place and a life has been lost. Surely that is trigger enough.

Yachts & Yachting understands that an investigation is currently underway regarding this issue and we will publish further information as and when it becomes available.

NOTE: The obvious fact that Vestas is not in the line up for the Guangzhou In Port Race confirms that she will miss Leg 5. Rumors that she was shipped to Auckland for repairs to the bow have not been acknowledged or addresses by the team, although multiple sources have confirmed that to be the case. It is assumed that litigation continues in Hong Kong and that orders from Volvo and Vestas have put a gag on any members of teams to speak publically.

Prince of Whales
02-02-2018, 11:20 AM

Sail-world has a similar conclusion with suggestion that the fishing boat was unlit.

IOR Geezer
02-02-2018, 11:27 AM

I found this after a quick news search.

02-05-2018, 09:48 AM

5 February 2018 (Hong Kong) - Vestas 11th Hour Racing has undertaken steps to repair their Volvo Ocean 65 yacht, which was involved in a collision with a non-racing vessel at the end of Leg 4 near Hong Kong.

The time required for repairs means the team will not be rejoining the race in time for Leg 6 from Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand. The shore crew has loaded the yacht onto a freight vessel in Hong Kong for transportation to Auckland.

“Along with our colleagues in the Volvo Ocean Race and the other competing teams, we have all offered our sincere condolences to all those affected by the incident," said Vestas 11th Hour Racing co-founder, Mark Towill. “Now with a seriously damaged boat and a new set of challenges to surmount, we have had to map out the necessary steps that will enable our team to get back in the race."

“Thanks to the ongoing support and collaboration of our partners, the Volvo Ocean Race, and our entire team, we were able to gather a team of experts to assess our options to continue the race”, added co-founder, Charlie Enright.

The challenge of the damage, the exacting standards set by the Volvo Ocean 65 One Design rule, and the timing of the race provided limited choices, and it was concluded that the repair could not be carried out in Hong Kong. The only viable option was to ship the boat and equipment to New Zealand ahead of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and carry out the necessary repairs there. This includes having a new bow section built at Persico Marine in Italy, in compliance with the Volvo Ocean 65 class rule, which will then be shipped to New Zealand.

The team aims to have repairs completed during the stopover in Auckland, in time for inshore racing and the start of Leg 7 to Itajaí, Brazil, which is scheduled for March 18.

The Vestas 11th Hour Racing team will regroup in Auckland to monitor the boat repairs and commence training on and off the water ahead of Leg 7.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing will continue to provide updates as they become available.

El Capitan
02-05-2018, 10:27 AM
I suppose they wanted to make sure the vessel was well on her way before making any statement that could
rile up any officials and cause further delay.

02-06-2018, 10:49 AM

Please note, the start time of Leg 6 has been brought forward by two hours to 1100 local time in Hong Kong, 0300 UTC. We’ll have live coverage on all of our usual channels (see below).

Leg 6 is a 6,100 nautical mile race to Auckland, New Zealand. The fleet will start by crossing the South China Sea to the northern tip of the Philippines. After that, it’s out into the Pacific and a long drag race to the south-east, dodging the many island chains of Polynesia until they reach Auckland.

It’s another leg that will be dominated strategically by the north to south transit of the Doldrums, which proved so decisive on Leg 4 into Hong Kong. And of course, the final run in to Auckland, down the east coast of New Zealand has seen many classic match races over the years, as the fleet finishes in the City of Sails.

MAPFRE, the overall race leader, will cross the start line to Auckland with a four-point lead over Dongfeng Race Team. With another Doldrums crossing looming, both skippers see the potential jeopardy in the leg.

“The leg to Auckland is what I call a tricky leg,” said Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier. “We have to cross the Doldrums and we know it’s complicated and a bit random and we’re concerned about being the guys who catch a bad cloud this time.

“But it’s also one of the best legs as you arrive in Auckland which is a fantastic place where people really know offshore racing and love the race.”

Spanish skipper Xabi Fernández knows first-hand the challenge the Doldrums pose, as on Leg 4, a solid start to the stage turned into a losing battle with clouds and a disappointing result.

“We all know how hard the Doldrums can be and last time, for us it was even harder,” Fernández said. “We found ourselves a little bit separated from the leaders and for 10 or 15 hours it was painful as we watched the others sail away...”

The forecast for start time at 1100 on Wednesday morning in Hong Kong is for a 12-15 Northeasterly wind, ideal conditions to get the fleet on their way to Auckland. But as the fleet gets into the leg, stronger winds are forecast over the first days.

“It’s always notorious this bit,” said Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari. “I remember from the last edition when we left Sanya (China) we had similar upwind, strong conditions through the Luzon Strait. So it’s the same again this time.

“It’s also a bit deceiving as we almost sail away from New Zealand before we put the bow down and make that commitment and head down there. So psychologically it’s a hard leg as well.”

This will mark the 11th time the race has visited New Zealand and the 10th time it has stopped in Auckland. Many will look at New Zealand as a spiritual home to the Volvo Ocean Race, with over 350 Kiwi sailors having taken part in the race dating back to 1977.

Six teams will take the start in Hong Kong, with Vestas 11th Hour Racing issuing a statement on Monday that they would miss the leg.

Crew lists for Leg 6 are available here:

Dongfeng Race Team

In a nutshell: The Chinese team brings back navigator Pascal Bidégorry, who replaces stand-in Franck Cammas. Marie Riou also returns after a post-Christmas break, with Justine Mettraux outgoing – and Liu Xue steps in for Chen Jin Hao.

Skipper: Charles Caudrelier

Navigator: Pascal Bidegorry

Crew: Daryl Wislang

Crew: Jeremie Beyou

Crew: Kevin Escoffier

Crew: Jackson Bouttell

Crew: Marie Riou

Crew: Carolijn Brouwer

Crew: Liu Xue

OBR: Martin Keruzoré


In a nutshell: No changes for the Spanish team.

Skipper : Xabi Fernandez

Navigator: Juan Vila

Crew: Pablo Arrarte

Crew: Rob Greenhalgh

Crew: Willy Altadill

Crew: Louis Sinclair

Crew: Blair Tuke

Crew: Sophie Ciszek

Crew: Tamara Echegoyen

OBR: Ugo Fonolla

Team AkzoNobel

In a nutshell: Justin Ferris returns to the blue boat in place of Peter van Niekerk.

Skipper: Simeon Tienpont

Navigator: Jules Salter

Crew: Chris Nicholson

Crew: Justin Ferris

Crew: Nicolai Sehested

Crew: Brad Farrand

Crew: Luke Molloy

Crew: Martine Grael

Crew: Cecile Laguette

OBR: Richard Edwards

Team Brunel

In a nutshell: Bouwe Bekking has firmed up his helming options with three additions for Leg 6. Pistol Pete Burling is back – and returns to the Dutch team alongside Alberto Bolzan and Louis Balcaen. Rome Kirby, Sam Newton and Jens Dolmer are outgoing.

Skipper: Bouwe Bekking

Navigator: Andrew Cape

Crew: Carlo Huisman

Crew: Louis Balcaen

Crew: Peter Burling

Crew: Kyle Langford

Crew: Alberto Bolzan

Crew: Sally Barkow

OBR: Yann Riou

Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag

In a nutshell: Volvo Ocean Race winner Luke Parkinson is outgoing, replaced by Antonio Fontes. It's no surprise that Scallywag skipper David Witt has stuck with the rest of the crew that engineered an unforgettable victory into his home port of Hong Kong on Leg 4.

Skipper: David Witt

Navigator: Libby Greenhalgh

Crew: Alex Gough

Crew: Annemieke Bes

Crew: Ben Piggott

Crew: John Fisher

Crew: Antonio Fontes

Crew: Grant Wharington

Crew: Trystan Seal

OBR: Jeremie Lecaudey

Turn the Tide on Plastic

In a nutshell: Nico Lunven returns to the boat after a break following the birth of his child, and Aussie rookie Lucas Chapman rejoins his team mates after a break. Bianca Cook and Henry Bomby are also back onboard, with Bleddyn Mon, Martin Stromberg, Federico Melo and Elodie Mettraux stepping off.

Skipper: Dee Caffari

Navigator: Brian Thompson

Crew: Liz Wardley

Crew: Nico Lunven

Crew: Henry Bomby

Crew: Lucas Chapman

Crew: Bernardo Freitas

Crew: Bianca Cook

Crew: Annalise Murphy

Crew: Francesca Clapcich

OBR: James Blake

What’s the deal?

Leg 6 is another long one at 6,100 miles. Starting on the 7th February, it will take the fleet across the South China Sea to the northern tip of the Philippines. After that, it’s out into the Pacific and a long drag race to the south-east, dodging the many island chains of Polynesia until they reach Auckland.

It’s another leg that will be dominated strategically by the north to south transit of Climate Zones (the earth’s oceanic climate features distinct bands, lying horizontally and looping the globe, running out from the Equator to the Poles in a mirror image). And although Hong Kong is a new stopover, it’s not far from Sanya, which is where the equivalent leg started last time. So this one has some history.

What lies in wait for unwary navigators on this one?

North-East Monsoon: Leg 6 will start as Leg 4 finished in the North-East Monsoon (a wind created by the clockwise flow around a huge seasonal hight pressure over central Asia). The difference is that instead of a sailing downwind, they will be forced to go upwind, against the wind. This is what solo circumnavigator, Sam Davies said form onboard Team SCA while battling upwind in the North-East Monsoon in 2015.

“We have been out here for 24 hours now and finally we get what we came for -life at the extreme. Extreme angles of heel, extremely WET, extreme levels of difficulty in doing ANYTHING on board.” The opening section of this leg has the potential to be brutal. We’re talking boat-breaking stuff.

More Island Chains: Once they clear the northern tip of the Philippines, the boats will hold the north-easterly winds (now more normally called the north-east Trade Winds, moderate to strong winds that blow consistently towards the equator from the north-east in the northern hemisphere). The course is now south-east, so there, should be a few days of fast sailing. They will blast to the east of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, before the long stretch through the South Pacific, past Vanuatu and Fiji before landing in the City of Sails. All of these land masses can have an impact on tactics and strategy, depending on how close they end up to them.

The Doldrums: Yup, the Doldrums are back (a region of low pressure that envelopes the earth’s oceans roughly at the equator, famous for thunderstorms, light winds, rain and sudden unexpected gusts), and in this part of the Pacific they occur in a double belt, separated by a band of easterly trade winds.

In fact, the more precise sequence of global climate zones is actually north-east trade winds, Doldrums, easterly trade winds, Doldrums and then south-east trade winds (this is proper weather nerd bar talk). But in the Atlantic (and most of the rest of the planet), the easterly trade wind zone between the two Doldrums zones is very small and poorly defined. And so the term has come to mean the whole area of light wind and squalls between the north-east and south-east trade winds.

But in the Pacific, and particularly en route to Auckland, the easterly trade winds can be well formed, and that means that the fleet may well have to transit a second band of Doldrums. This section could easily decide the leg.

Trade Wind Drag Race: Once they clear the Doldrums, life should get easier, at least for the strategy department. If the south-east Trade Winds are well established (Trade Winds blow consistently towards the equator from the south-east in the southern hemisphere) they will be sailing towards the finish in sunshine and great waves.

The South Pacific High (a Subtropical High Pressure Zone, a stable, semi-static area of High Pressure lying between 30 and 38 degrees) usually lies a good long way to the east, closer to South America, and so they will definitely remain on its western side, and in wind from the easterly quadrant. And with Auckland just short of 37 degrees south with a sub-tropical climate, there’s a good chance the fleet will get close to the finish in great, steady conditions.

So what’s the casualty list like on this leg?

Pick your sport, pick your poison: in 2008-09 four of seven boats that took on the North-East Monson had to stop for significant repairs, two of them didn’t complete the leg, and one finished after the re-start of the next leg!

And that same year the Telefónica Blue and PUMA teams were forced to ‘thread the needle’ – going through Fiji rather than round it, leading to a famous email from Ian Walker to PUMA, “Nice one, but are you sure you can get under the new road bridge?” There was no road bridge.

And of course, the final run in to Auckland, down the east coast of New Zealand has seen many classic match races over the years, not least of which was the ‘blue on blue’ / Kiwi v Kiwi battle for home town honors in 1989-90. Peter Blake’s Steinlager edged out Grant Dalton’s Fisher & Paykel after the latter got flattened by a massive 40knot squall... it’s never over till it’s over.

Panama Red
02-06-2018, 03:02 PM
Would had been much more efficient and cost effective to sail directly from OZ to Auckland.

Maybe I should apply for a board position on the VOR?

Dutch Rudder
02-06-2018, 03:06 PM
But they would miss the fresh dim sum.

02-07-2018, 10:14 AM

Skipper Simeon Tienpont’s team AkzoNobel led the Volvo Ocean Race fleet away from the Hong Kong start line on Monday morning as Leg 6 got underway.

Racing started in a light, 8-10 knot easterly with AkzoNobel, SHK/Scallywag, and Team Brunel the first across the line, slipping upwind under full sail, with the spectator fleet in tow.

But shortly after clearing land, the wind started to increase to 15-20 knots, and the enormous Code 0 sails were furled in favour of smaller headsails. Conditions are forecast to deteriorate further over the next 24 hours.



“It’s predominantly upwind, so it’s going to be a tough first few days,” said Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari.

“It could be quite rough out of Hong Kong,” agreed AkzoNobel’s Tienpont. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see some pretty strong winds.”

With a Tropical Cyclone forecast to produce heavy sea conditions, race officials have added a Tropical Storm Exclusion Zone, extending across 20 degrees of longitude to the east of the Philippines.

Most weather routing software suggests the fastest route is to the north and east of the exclusion zone but this will ensure the fleet avoids the worst of the sea conditions.




Leg of the Volvo Ocean Race will take the fleet through the Luzon Strait and then on an easterly heading before the boats dive south through the Doldrums and then southeast to the northern tip of New Zealand.

“It’s a long leg to Auckland, around 6,000 nautical miles, and nearly the reverse of Leg 4 to get here,” said Xabi Fernández, the skipper of the overall race leader, MAPFRE. “The start is going to be important, as usual.”

“If we look at the weather models then it will immediately be full-on for the first 36 to 48 hours,” said Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking. “There are different route options. If you choose wrong it can immediately seem like you are hundreds of miles behind.”

No such worry yet for Bekking – three hours into Leg 6 and Brunel was at the head of a compact leaderboard, with New Zealand some 6,000 nautical miles away.





TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg06.html)

02-08-2018, 09:54 AM

Brunel leads into the Luzon Strait

Team Brunel has been leading the Volvo Ocean Race fleet into the Luzon Strait between Taiwan and the Philippines.


The six boats are tucked towards the southern tip of Taiwan, anticipating a turn to the north after leaving Taiwan to port.

On the 0700 UTC position report on Thursday, Brunel had eked out a narrow lead, but most of the teams will be in sight of one another.

“We’ve been bouncing upwind. Everyone is still pretty close. Whoever puts their bow down for a little while goes a little bit faster than the other,” said team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont. “Brunel is a little bit ahead, we lost a few miles with a sail change.

“It’s been straight into it. Everyone is quiet and efficient. We were happy with the start and we’re back in fighting mode.”

The fight is for every mile. Any mistake or misfortune is costly. For Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic, it came in the form of plastic bags stuck to appendages, slowing the boat down.





“It’s not slowing us down too much,” said Turn the Tide on Plastic sailor Henry Bomby. “It’s a big deal to do a back down to get rid of it, so we’re going to wait.”

“At the moment, we can’t afford to go backwards, so we’re carrying this plastic on our keel, sadly,” said skipper Dee Caffari.

For Team Brunel, the performance hit was too much, and they did a double tack to clear the debris from their rudder.

“We were going very well and soon found ourselves in the lead, but then all of sudden we were super slow,” explained skipper Bouwe Bekking.

“In no time we lost half a mile, the cause was a huge plastic bag on the rudder. We actually had to do two tacks to get it off, losing more distance, but from then on we’ve been slowly chipping away again.”

As a result, Brunel has had about a three-mile lead for much of the morning on Thursday as the teams race towards Taiwan.

After passing to the south of Taiwan, the fleet is expected to head to the north, further away from the direct route to New Zealand, in an effort to avoid a developing area of light wind and to pick up favourable conditions before diving south.

It means more upwind sailing, so progress towards the finish looks to be slow and hard-earned for the early stages of Leg 6.


LEG 6: daily report – Thursday February 8
The first 24 hours of Leg 6 of the has seen the six-boat Volvo Ocean Race fleet slog eastwards in cold powerful headwinds and unpleasantly lumpy seas towards the southern tip of the island of Taiwan.
Life on board for the team AkzoNobel crew will have been wet and miserable as the sailors try sail fast while trying to stave off seasickness induced by the incessant rocking horse motion of the boat pounding over the waves kicked up by winds up to 35 knots.
Having led out of Hong Kong team AkzoNobel lost ground overnight when a sail change from the large J1 headsail to the smaller J2 sail did not go as smoothly as planned.
At 0700 UTC (0800 CET) the crew was in fifth place, nine kilometers behind leg-leader Team Brunel (NED) with Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) in second, Mapfre (ESP) in third, and Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG) in fourth.
Turn the Tide on Plastic in sixth lay a further seven kilometers astern.
In the next few hours the fleet is expected to pass close to the southern tip of Taiwan where winds are expected to ramp up from 15 to over 30 knots.


Tracker (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg06.html)

Tonapah Low
02-08-2018, 11:11 AM
At least they are picking up some of the ocean plastic they have been going on about!

Panama Red
02-08-2018, 02:47 PM
Finally done with the dog and pony show!

Cleveland Steamer
02-09-2018, 09:11 AM
Someone should tell them the Auckland is to the south.

02-09-2018, 03:26 PM
Short-term pain for Scallywag and AkzoNobel as battle in the south rages on

At 1300 UTC, the two northern boats are sailing much slower than the rest of the fleet

Early numbers from Race Control are a little painful for team AkzoNobel and Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, the two most northern boats on Day 3 of Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race from Hong Kong to Auckland.

The two boats tacked immediately after passing the southern tip of Taiwan to split the fleet, and at the 1300 UTC position report, they find themselves over 125 nautical miles behind leaders Team Brunel.

It’s early days for the two boats, who are gambling on better conditions in the north in the coming days, but right now they’re racing in 3-5 knots, compared to 15 knots further south.

“This feels wrong, very wrong,” says team AkzoNobel’s Brazilian Olympic gold medallist Martine Grael. “We’re going north, north-west, and our course is south-south-east!”


“We tacked off too early in hindsight,” admitted team AkzoNobel navigator Jules Salter. “We’re really disappointed. We made the decision quite quickly to tack, it looked like everything lined up, Scallywag went and the first sched was ok, the second sched not so much. The first four have now gone, and now it’s just us two left racing.”

Onboard Scallywag, spirits are still high – and navigator Libby Greenhalgh says the Hong Kong boat is playing the long game.

“Long term, we’re trying to hook into the northerly breeze. In theory, we’ll be into that first and be in a position to come bow down on top of the fleet.”

Meanwhile, the southern group, consisting of Brunel, MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and Turn the Tide on Plastic, is still within sight of each other, and fighting hard for every last inch.

“It’s super close, and very tough,” said MAPFRE’s Sophie Ciszek. “We have Dongfeng on our bow, and I just spotted Turn the Tide too. The racing has been full on and the conditions haven’t been nice – it’s been upwind, unpleasant and wet, and we’ve had quite a few J1 to J2 peels which are pretty much the most unpleasant peels we can do in terms of water on deck, so we have a few people not feeling very well.”


She continued: “We’re happy to be in this group of boats, the other two (AkzoNobel and Scallywag) are a lot further to the north and they’ve had less pressure. They’re losing right now but they’ll make gains further along, and we’re all going to converge at some stage up ahead.

“We’re going for the safer option – the vibe onboard is to stay with the other guys and there’s tension to keep racing hard and keep up our speed. Not much sleep going on, we don’t want to let them out of our sight.”

Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier admitted that the Chinese boat almost joined the two northern boats, but decided that the gamble was too much too early in the leg.

“To be honest, when AkzoNobel and Scallywag tacked, we were thinking of doing it too – but we thought it was too big of a risk. It looks like they’re in a light spot now.

He added: “It’s the most complicated leg in terms of weather, you don’t just need a good brain, you need a bit of luck on this one too. There is so much transition ahead, I don’t know what the key moment will be, so we’re taking every hour and trying to optimise it with small gains.”

Leg 6 Strategic Review Part 1 – Highway to Hell


We are two days and change into Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race – and one of the physically toughest sections of the race has now turned into one of the most strategically demanding as a big split in the fleet opens.

We have two boats – Team AkzoNobel and Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag – already 120 nautical miles (nm) to the north-west of the rest of the fleet, a huge amount of leverage this early... but hold on...

Leverage is measured perpendicular to the course to the finish, and that’s in Auckland some 6,100 nautical miles to the south-east of the start line in Hong Kong. So why is the 120nm north-west split leverage in a strategic play, rather than a straight-forward gain / loss?

Let’s back up a bit.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/tracker.html)

Climate Zones again

If you’ve been following these strategic reviews – and particularly if you were following Leg 4 – then you’ll be very familiar with the idea of Climate Zones. Check out the Leg 6 Preview for the full story but briefly, just know that the earth’s oceanic climate features distinct bands, lying horizontally and looping the globe, running out from the Equator to the Poles in a mirror image.

When the fleet races from north to south (or vice versa) as they are right now, then they will cross through several of these climate zones and the transitions from one type of weather or climate zone to the next becomes a critical feature of the strategic game.


Monsoon Opening

The opening part of Leg 6 is usually dominated by the task of getting across the South China Sea and through the North-East Monsoon (a powerful wind created by the clockwise flow around a huge seasonal high pressure over central Asia) in one piece, before transiting into the north-east trade winds, and then setting up for another crossing of the Doldrums.

In each of the last three races at least one boat has made a strategic move to the east early on, rather than keeping to the straight-line, shortest distance route that clips the top of the Philippines and then heads south-east (this route is shown by white dashes on the Race Tracker). The ‘easterly variation’ ultimately provides a better wind angle in the trade winds, and a narrower crossing point for the Doldrums – something we will come to in more detail in future reports – but it’s also a lot more miles to sail. This is a classic race strategy problem; trading extra miles for extra speed.

The ‘easterly variation’ – a short history...

In 2014-15, Team Brunel (navigated then as now by Andrew Cape) and Team SCA (navigated by Libby Greenhalgh, now aboard Scallywag) made a big move, going north-east out of the South China Sea and eventually coming out in front of those that sailed the straight line to the top of the Philippines.

In the race before that, Puma took a route to the north and then east before they finally turned south in better breeze. They sailed past the fleet – who were miles to their west – to end up in second place. In the previous race it was Ian Walker that took Green Dragon on an eastern adventure that – despite a slow boat – did just fine.

So the two options are the straight-forward, straight-line route to the top of the Philippines (which effectively reverses the route they took to Hong Kong on Leg 4); and then there’s this easterly variation in which the boats need to head north-east into the Pacific rather than south-east – which is why the current split is leverage, and not the straight-forward lead you see on the leaderboard... phew.

Boat breaker

So much for the big picture, the first problem out of the starting gate was surviving.

The North-East Monsoon has a bad reputation for breaking boats and on other occasions in previous races virtually the whole fleet have had to take shelter from its wrath.

If we look at Image 1 from 0330UTC on the 7th February, just after the start, we can see a relatively normal weather pattern for the first section of the leg out into the South China Sea. The strong north-easterly wind was screaming around Taiwan and converging right on the route of the fleet as they headed south-east.


With just under 5,000 nautical miles (9,260 kilometres) to go to reach Auckland, New Zealand, team AkzoNobel is currently 80 nautical miles (148 kilometres) east of Taiwan, ploughing a two-boat path with Hong Kong entry Scallywag, winners of the Melbourne to Hong Kong leg. Team AkzoNobel is currently sailing at 10 knots (18 kilometres) in 18 knots (33 kilometres) of south easterly winds.

It’s the northern road versus the easterly road: two very different strategies playing out on the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 6 racetrack. Team AkzoNobel and Scallywag tacked first around 1600 UTC yesterday afternoon and have opted for the longer, faster route, versus the easterly, shorter course favoured by the other four teams, but they are being challenged by an upwind slower route, toughing it out in up to 35 knots (65 kilometres) of breeze and rough seas.

Rosco Monson, our on shore navigator, gave this update, “The whole fleet is now on starboard and there is a big job at hand for us and Scallywag to sail further and faster for longer. The weather models are not completely matching up with what is actually happening on the water. Luckily for everyone there is a long way to go in this leg and fortune favours the brave!”

This section was always dominated by the need to keep the boat in one piece in these brutal upwind conditions, and this year was no different. It’s what’s coming next that changes the game.

Game changer – the cyclone

CLICK FOR MORE (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/news/11008_Leg-6-Strategic-Review-Part-1-Highway-to-Hell.html)

The first clue is at the bottom centre of Image 1 (just to the east of the Philippines) where you can see a powerful tropical cyclone spinning up. It’s sucking air into it from the North Pacific and turning what should have been a relatively benign section of the leg – a beam reach in the north-easterly trade winds down past the Philippines – into a life-threatening hazard.

The race officials have understandably put this area off limits, and if we look at Image 2 from 15:00UTC on the 8th February, we can see the implications. The (faintly) red shaded box marks the exclusion zone, and it’s created a waypoint (a corner to go around) a long way out to the east in the Pacific.

The fleet have to get around this before they can turn south to head for Auckland. They are effectively all being forced to take the easterly variation that has worked rather well for teams in previous races. Of course, the devil remains in the details...

Go east...

So the whole fleet started with a strategic need to get east, rather than south-east, and didn’t reverse their course from Leg 4 back to the northern tip of the Philippines. In the first 36 hours of the race the wind made it easy (strategically if not physically); the breeze was blowing from the north, down the channel that separates Taiwan from the Asian mainland. So everyone could happily sail due east, taking them to the southern tip of Taiwan. It was once they had cleared this headland that the options opened up.

The split

If we have a look at Image 3 from 19:00UTC on the 8th February we can see that the fleet cleared Taiwan, and hit a very significant wind shift. It went from the northerly they had to the west of Taiwan, to an easterly wind on the eastern side of the island. This left them with the choice of going north-east, or south-east.

They were already a long way north of the straight-line route, and so both options were possible. Team AkzoNobel and Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag chose to tack and go north-east, while everyone else took the heading wind shift and went south-east.

Tactical split

We’ll come to the big picture reasons for tacking in a moment, because as it turned out, everyone wanted to go north-east. It looks like the decision driving the initial split was more a short-term tactical one.

Check out the lighter wind (the blue area) between the northern pair of boats and Taiwan – it looks like this is created by the wind lifting over the high mountains of the island. Now go forward to Image 4 at 23:00UTC on the 8th February and we see that everyone else has now tacked and the whole fleet is headed north-east.

There is a big difference in wind speed between the boats that tacked early (Team AkzoNobel and Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag) who have 11-16 knots, and the rest of the fleet that tacked later, who have 21-25 knots. It looks like the early tackers went too early, and are positioned too close to the coast of Taiwan.

And then it got worse...

Up to this point it made sense; the conditions being reported from the water matched the weather maps. And then we look at Image 5 from 09:00UTC this morning, 9th February and it no longer makes sense. Team AkzoNobel and Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag should have escaped from Taiwan’s influence, and got themselves back in good breeze, with the weather map saying they have 20 knots from the south-east, just like the rest of the fleet – but this hasn’t happened.

In fact, they have 2-5 knots from all over the place as we can see in the table below the chart. I think there are two possible reasons. We can see the first in Image 6, also from 09:00UTC this morning, 9th February where the two boats are close to a couple of quite high islands – Taketomi and Ishigaki, marked on the chart in grey. It’s possible that the mountains have messed up the breeze, something we probably wouldn’t see on the global weather charts we are using.

Unstable conditions

If we now zoom out a bit in Image 7 – still from 09:00UTC on the 9th February – we can see that a low pressure system is spinning up at the northern tip of Taiwan. It looks to be a consequence of the North-East Monsoon blowing down the western side of the island, while a south-easterly flow (from a high pressure system to the north-east of Taiwan) hits the eastern side.

It’s fair to say that having the wind blowing in 180 degree different directions down two sides of a mountainous island isn’t a particularly stable situation, and it’s possible that this is consequently developing very differently to the way the forecast predicted.

In which case, it could have a big impact on how this plays out, as that low pressure and the front that goes with it are the key to the next couple of days. And that’s a good segue – time to bring it up to date and have a look at the bigger picture – why did everyone want to tack and go north-east in the first place? Why is the easterly variation going so far north?


Up to date

Image 8 is up to date with the time of writing – 13:00UTC on the 9th February – and we can see on this close-up image that Team AkzoNobel and Team Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag have got a little further north, away from the islands, and the breeze has started to fill in for them. It’s now 9-11 knots – so a wind shadow from Taketomi and Ishigaki looks a likely explanation for their slow progress.

We can also see that the low to the north of Taiwan is gathering some strength, and it’s the movement of this system that will dominate the next few days. In Image 9 we can see that in just a few hours – 18:00UTC on the 9th February – the low will be generating a lot of breeze and moving to the north-east. It’s trailing a front to the south-west of its centre and the whole fleet will now be getting the strong southerly wind ahead of this front – with the northern boats closer and in quite a bit more breeze.

Racing the low

The shift from the south-easterly breeze they have now to the southerly they will have by this evening (UTC) is reflected in the slow curve of their predicted route (the faint dashed lines on the Race Tracker). The wind shift allows them to eventually head east again and they will now start to race the low pressure system and the front as it also heads east from behind them.


Crossing the front...

I think that the timing of this part is a little unpredictable, but in Image 10, the predicted route and weather on the Race Tracker says that around 19:00UTC tomorrow, 10th February the front will catch both the northern pair and the rest of the fleet at about the same time.

By this time there will be more wind behind the front. This wind is blowing from the north-west, so once the front has overtaken the fleet, they will be flying downwind as they continue the trek east into the Pacific. Getting the north-westerly a little bit earlier should benefit the northern pair and help them make up the losses they have suffered so far.

And now we can finally see on the weather map why this easterly variation is going so far east this time – there’s a big area of high pressure and light wind forming on the straight line route to Auckland and spreading from there to the east. The whole reason for the tack to the north-east last night was to get away from this trap.

This area of high pressure will continue to dominate the strategy for another couple of days at least. If we look at Image 11 we can see the predicted boat positions and the weather at 02:00UTC on the 12th February. If the predictions are correct the fleet will have come back together and remarkably, the split will have converged with almost nothing in it. Partly because they will all be bumping into the back of the front as it slows in front of them.


Crossing the front... again

The north-east trade winds are blowing strongly on the right of this image, and there’s no question that this will be the end game. The question is how they will transition back through the front – dodging what’s left of the high pressure as it drifts to the east ahead of them – to break into the trade winds.

If we go forward another 30 hours to 08:30UTC on the 13th February in Image 12 we can see that the front has stalled and is fading. The fleet’s wind is rotating clockwise into the north-east, and all that’s between them and the (real) trade winds is the final, fading bubble of high pressure.

It’s likely that the fleet will compress again as it hits this light wind – it also looks likely that boats to the west will have an easier and narrower band of light wind to transit. And whoever gets through this into the trade winds first will hold their lead (speed being equal) until they get to the Doldrums.

It’s going to be a very interesting weekend – and I’ll be back early next week to see how it plays out.

Flat Stanley
02-11-2018, 09:21 AM
Looks like they have started to head in the right direction

02-11-2018, 10:40 AM

Wet, wild and fast sailing

Fast sailing towards the finish - what more could a Volvo Ocean Race sailor want?

Conditions are fast, wet and wild for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Sunday as they charge to the southeast, finally heading in a direction where miles sailed translate into miles towards the finish in New Zealand, still more than 4,000 nautical miles away.


With the passage of a front, the wind has shifted to the north and the boats are on a tight reach in 18 to 25 knots of wind, making 20 to 25 knots of boatspeed. It’s not comfortable. But it’s fast.

“Since the front hit it’s been pretty full on,” said Blair Tuke from on board MAPFRE. “To start with it was about as good sailing as you can get, 20 to 25 knots of breeze and flat, flat water. But over the last few hours, things have just got gradually a little bit worse. Sea state and water on deck, it’s probably the most water I’ve ever seen.”



“This is a great way to gain some miles after some slow upwind sailing that we have been doing,” agreed Dee Caffari from Turn the Tide on Plastic.

"There is water pouring down the deck, everyone is wet, everything is wet inside and out but no one is complaining as we all know this is short lived and we will cover some serious miles while we are at it. And the water is warm, 19 degrees, matching the air temperature.”

The fleet is still largely in two groups, with MAPFRE holding the narrowest of leads over Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team, and Turn the Tide on Plastic is just 13 miles behind.

The second group had consisted of team AkzoNobel and Scallywag, but their paths are beginning to diverge, with Scallywag charting a southern route and cutting the corner. It was a strategy that worked on Leg 4… we’ll see over the coming hours if it is successful again.



Team AzokoNobel:

The fightback begins

After a tough 48 hours which saw team AkzoNobel lose considerable ground to the leaders - after a decision to tack to the northeast soon after passing the island of Taiwan turned sour - the team have now made up good miles on the fleet ahead of them.

From around 1200 UTC yesterday both team AkzoNobel and Sun Hung Kai Scallywag were able to take advantage of more breeze than the boats to the east of them as a new weather front passed through. Over the last 24 hours, team AkzoNobel has almost halved the distance to the leaders – they were 113.3 nautical miles behind at 0700 UTC yesterday (February 10) and have now reduced this deficit to 62.9 nautical miles as of the latest position report this morning.

The remainder of the fleet gybed over to port and turned for Auckland at around 1900 UTC last night and all teams are now reaching in 24 to 28 knots of breeze having averaged around 21 to 24 knots of speed over the last few hours. Jules Salter, navigator on board team AkzoNobel, expects the current weather system to carry them for around 1,000 miles before the boats slowly turn to the right and head south to link-up with the northeast trade winds.

Whilst the gains on the leaders have slowed, team AkzoNobel will be looking for further opportunities to take advantage of in the coming days. There is still a long way to go in this race.

At 0700 UTC (0800 CET) team AkzoNobel was in fifth place in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, sailing west at 22.1 knots with 4,344 nautical miles (8,045 kilometers) to the finish in Auckland.



Latest from Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Team Brunel:

Today was one of those days that you realise how fortunate you are to be sailing in this race. This morning when the new northerly breeze reached us, we had the best sailing ever on this boat. 30 knots of breeze and flat water, just smoking, we averaged 26.5 knots for a couple of hours, why can't it always be like that? These boats are made for flat water and not waves :-)

Pete just came down off watch and complained about the stain there is downstairs, so we better open the leeward hatch again, but then it means bailing water out more, as the water gets sucked in through the leeward hatch.

Yann and Capey have been fighting all day to get the media station to work, and not winning yet. The media station is important as it is the way that race control can follow the boat all the time and get to the data. But more importantly its the way how we download weather. It is bloody annoying to receive messages from race control with just saying switch it back on, easy to speak when they sit in a office somewhere where it is flat and dry, and they're not knowing what efforts we put in to get it back to work. I am sure when it gets calmer our boys will find a way to get it fixed.

Time to go on deck for me, into the pitch dark night... It is still raining, this is the less fun part of the job.



TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg06.html)

02-12-2018, 09:10 AM
Scallywag snookered the fleet!

02-12-2018, 10:48 AM

The winning move for Leg 4 saw Scallywag take the inside track on a left hand turn towards Hong Kong. This week, the Scallywags are looking for a repeat performance on the way to New Zealand...

On Leg 4, racing into their home port of Hong Kong, SHK/Scallywag made a radical choice exiting the doldrums, cutting the corner and taking the inside track towards the finish line. As a result, they sailed less miles and passed the entire fleet en route to a spectacular victory.

Fast forward to the early stages of Leg 6 where Scallywag again finds itself on the inside track, cutting the corner on the right hand turn to the south towards the finish line in New Zealand.

Just over two days ago, it didn’t look like a good move. Scallywag, along with AkzoNobel, were seemingly marooned 120 miles behind the leaders.

But as of 1300 UTC on Monday afternoon, skipper David Witt and his team of Scallywags were at the head of the ranking, with all six teams in the fleet within just five miles on distance to finish.

The way Scallywag and AkzoNobel have come back into the fleet from 100-plus miles back hasn’t gone unnoticed by the previous leading group.

“They have been dealt a lucky card, annoyingly,” said Dee Caffari, the skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic, talking about Scallywag. “They made a mistake, really, but they’re going to stay in this cold front longer. They’re going to be happily sailing in 20 knots, while we’re dealing with this transition.

“But they will have a worse angle in the longer term. We think it will pay to be further east and we’re hoping it does pay off for us eventually.”

The transition to the new breeze means the group of four boats positioned furthest east (but also further to the north) are currently sailing in light, unstable winds, trying to make gains to the east to pick up the trade winds.



MAPFRE, Turn the Tide on Plastic, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel are all within sight of each other, separated by less than four miles, and all are struggling to make progress.

But on the other side of the transition, in the new breeze, conditions will be good for making miles south towards the doldrums.

“It looks like a pretty quick transition into about three or four days of tight reaching. We’re looking forward to getting into it,” said Team Brunel’s Peter Burling.

“The wind will slowly build as we get into the trade winds, and we’ll be reaching with the wind at about 65-degrees. We’re pretty happy about that because we seem to be pretty quick in those conditions.”

But for the moment, it’s Scallywag and AkzoNobel who are reeling off the miles, trying to build enough of a buffer to lead through the trade winds and into the Doldrums.




Back in Business

Team AkzoNobel is officially back in the hunt on Leg 6 after 24 hours of wet and wild high-speed sailing as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet chased down a south-easterly moving storm front on the way to the equator.

Team AkzoNobel's positioning to the west of the leading pack of four boats - Mapfre (ESP), Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Team Brunel (NED) and Turn the Tide on Plastic (UN) - has resulted in steady gains as the team AkzoNobel sailors stayed in fast reaching mode longer than their easterly rivals.

The next big challenge over the next 24 hours is how best to negotiate the tricky lighter wind transition from the strong northerlies generated by the cold front to quickly connect with the persistent north easterly northern hemisphere trade winds.




Weather experts believe the teams further east will be the first to connect with the trade winds. If true this would hand even further advantage to the leading pack and the team AkzoNobel sailors will be working hard over the next 24 hours to narrow the lateral gap between them and the gang of four to minimise any losses during the upcoming transition.

Two days ago, team AkzoNobel trailed the leaders by more than 200 kilometers. Today at 0700 UTC (0800 CET) today the crew was in sixth place, 65 kilometers off the Leg 6 lead held by Mapfre.


TRACKER (https://www.volvooceanrace.com/static/tracker/leg06.html)

Prince of Whales
02-12-2018, 12:05 PM
Damn them Kiwi's know those waters all too well!

02-12-2018, 01:31 PM

On February 12th, the Vestas 11th Hour Racing yacht was offloaded from the transport ship in Tauranga, New Zealand, by our shore crew with the help of GAC Pindar. The boat was then transported on Monday evening by truck 200 kilometers to a shipyard in Auckland where repairs will now begin.

"We are glad to hear the boat has arrived in New Zealand and is beginning the repair process," said Charlie Enright from his home in Rhode Island. “The crew is looking forward to re-joining the race shortly.”

Due to the strict one-design nature of the Volvo Ocean 65, a bow section was fabricated from existing molds at Persico Marine in Italy and transported to Auckland. The plan is to remove the damaged parts of the hull and attach the new section under the supervision of an independent surveyor to adhere to the class rules. The goal is to re-launch in time for Leg 7 to Itajaí, Brazil, on March 18th.

"We are grateful to have hard working shore and logistics crews helping us get back on the water," added Mark Towill, also at home in Hawaii. "The team is thankful for everyone’s continued support."

Vestas 11th Hour Racing will continue to provide updates on the boat repairs and the ongoing investigation as they become available.




Prince of Whales
02-12-2018, 01:51 PM
The bottom looks clean!