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Thread: 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race

  1. #111

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  3. #113

    October 29 & 30 Volvo Updates





    OCTOBER 30, 2014

    The front-runners and ourselves all patiently or not so patiently wait for this shift in the breeze to the left. A lifting breeze will allow us gybe to get south once again and finally make a rendezvous with a substantial frontal system that pushes us east to our next port.


    We have options; right now Chris and Wouter discuss and discuss in detail every option. I’m finding it tough to wait this out, they too must be… It’s exciting though, we have the potential to pop out in the lead if not completely close the gauge on Abu Dhabi and Brunel.

    ... It’s funny I usually start these blogs mid morning and finish them that evening so that I miss nothing during the course of the day, well something funny just happened. It’s now 18:42 and a boat we have not seen since the Canary Islands has crossed our bow by 3 miles, it’s Abu Dhabi!

    Wow, that’s good news and bad, good we are in the right place on the race course bad so now too are the rest of the leading group, we suspect Brunel is not far away either. This is a true testament to the new one-design fleet, three miles apart after 19 days of racing! Now the following days are going to get very exciting…

    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind





    With sunlight fading over the South Atlantic, from the helm of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing a bright white sail grew larger by the minute on the horizon. After more than five days without seeing any other boats, Team Vestas Wind was crossing behind us by a mere three miles.


    One might think that after 19 days of racing and being thousands of miles from land we’re surprised to see another boat so close. To be honest, we’re not. The shock of how close this one-design racing is has worn off. After the earlier battle down the African coast, it’s not surprising to see one or even two sails keeping pace with you for a very, very long time.

    Matt Knighton, OBR

    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing






    The sun shines and we are sailing in 15 knots of wind. The good news: the sched this morning showed that we were the fastest boat, we’ve been catching up with the pack. It’s very important that by the time we head to South Africa, we are all together and at the front. As Iker puts it “we can’t miss this train.” Arriving late would be too bad for us.

    Today we had a look at the forecast for the upcoming days, and tomorrow we’ll be sailing in 25 knots of wind, and 3 to 4 meter waves. It’s going to get wet. I’ve been preparing everything for that, when the life onboard gets difficult.
    The French guys also surprised us by taking a “pate” out of the bags. It was really good, so thanks so much for that guys. Eating something different really puts you in better spirits!

    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE





    Just like any Wednesday at the office, the general topic of conversation around the water cooler was plans for the weekend. We will all be in the Southern Ocean, so it should be a pretty epic weekend to say the least. Sara said she already has her wardrobe ready and organised; this will be Sara’s first time going to the Southern Ocean.

    Today’s average day at the office also included some last minute checks before the big weekend. Sophie went up the rig to make sure everything was 100%, and Abby and Liz continued a detailed inspection of the boat. I’m not lying when I say it’s going to be one big weekend.

    So yeah today was just an average day out here—no surprises and no excitement, just a quiet, average Wednesday.

    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA






    The most obvious changes have been in the weather, and it’s a matter of some significance given where we’re soon headed. Life is getting cold in a hurry and because the water’s still warm we’re seeing a lot of fog; fog is damp, and for the first time in a long time things are wet. At this point its just condensation, but it’s an early reminder that we’re going south, somewhere much colder and much wetter: to the notorious latitudes of the roaring forties.

    While the sailing is still easy—and it is by comparison to what it will soon be—everyone has been prepping their respective areas--building worklists, checking the rig, the winches, digging out boots, waterproofing etc… We want to be sure that when the winds begin to build we’re as ready as possible, and more ready than the rest. We could see sustained winds of 35 knots so preparation is going to be crucial.


    Amory Ross, OBR
    Team Alvimedica





    Numbers
    Open food bags: 19
    Food bags left: 6
    Days of sailing left: 7
    We won’t die of hunger because we do have leftovers from the 19 open bags. But it won’t contain our favourite meals. Let’s just say we’ll have to wait for Cape Town to enjoy a great dinner.
    More numbers
    Percentage of meals unfinished last week: 100
    Percentage of meals unfinished this week: 0
    Average life span of a Nutella pot the first week: 3-4 days
    Average life span of a Nutella pot this week: less than 24 hours
    Confirmation: we do have food, but we’re not against a food feast in South Africa.


    Yann Riou, OBR
    Dongfeng Race Team
    Go to team website


    ************************************************** *******



    OCTOBER 29, 2014






    Forrest Gump once wisely said: "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." That could never be more true than today. Except our chocolate got squished as well; it's still good, we still love it, but it's just been a bit sticky and messy the last 24 hours.

    Last night, as we happily made our way southwest, we got caught under our own personal rain cloud that sucked every ounce of wind. Our "parade" was both literally and figuratively rained on. By morning, we were 90 miles behind MAPFRE, and by 1pm, we were another 49 miles behind. Unsure if "gutted" gives the best description of the mood of all of us on board - but it felt like we had all been stabbed in the stomach.

    Yes, today was not easy, but we did not allow ourselves to slow us down - we sailed with the conditions given and sailed at 100% performance.
    So, as I've said before: don't rule us out. Don't expect anything but the best from us.

    Don't stop believin'. There is still thousands of miles left, and with a newly added "Ice Gate" in the Southern Ocean, the next couple of days racing may get even closer. We are fighting and that's the most important part. After all, who knows what chocolates we'll have tomorrow...

    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA




    Someone flicked the switch last night. We cruised in considerable comfort for the majority of yesterday evening until a shady grey cloud line crept up from the west. It had all the signs of significant breeze, enough to get the full compliment of crew on deck for a speedy sail change.

    We waited, we looked and we were patient! Zero materialised, nothing in the cloud line. Two further attempts of front line clouds move in towards us. Zero, then wallop! It came at 24-26 knots of fun, pure surfing enjoyment. The darkness rolled in before I had any opportunity to capture the excitement. The night didn’t disappoint either, many gybes, stacks and then re-stacks later we sailed our way into the best pressure. It did however finally drop out light.

    This is where the leaders gained distance and the pack behind compressed.
    Wouter doesn’t seem fazed by any of this, his concern now is setting up for the sling-shot east, believing we are in the right placed area when the low-pressure systems develops to the west of us.

    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind







    Might have been one of the nicest days out we’ve seen although not from a sailing perspective… I guess this is what you’d expect on the edge of a high-pressure system. Bright skies, warm on deck but light-ish breeze. Fortunately the winds never really dipped below 10 knots allowing us to keep good pace. Almost no sea state makes sailing at 15 knots feel like you’re standing still if you’re down below deck.
    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is searching for pockets of better breeze anticipating small mileage gains that will accelerate our route to the westerly winds that will hopefully shorten our trip to Cape Town.
    Matt Knighton, OBR

    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing




    Early in the morning an alarm goes off showing that we only have 30% battery power left, and that we need to charge. The engine starts but the batteries won’t charge. We switched everything off, satellite, computers, lights, GPS. We then got in touch with land and let them know.

    Michel and Iker got on to it and couldn’t find the origin of the problem, and we thought we might have to head to land. We then found out we could charge them when isolated, but not at the same time. Could have something to do with the water issue from the other day, or maybe there’s something not functioning properly we don’t know of.
    Now everything is working again but we know that if this happens in the days to come, which are going to be hard, that could get very, very serious. We are getting ready for tough sailing conditions, we checked the mast and the winches. As Iker says, in the south, anything can happen, and the best prepared will get a better result.

    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE
    Go to team website




    We’re using two different kinds of weather files: the European and the American models. They aren’t always on the same page. You've got to pick your side. That’s why we’ve seen the boats take different routes for the past couple of days. Verdict in a few days.
    As far as everything else goes, life goes on onboard Dongfeng. These strategic questions keep us awake. We’re also discussing the arrival date in Cape Town. This date sets the number of days off we’ll have before the Leg 2. Sensitive topic…

    Yann Riou, OBR
    Dongfeng Race Team
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  4. #114
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Week 3 Video Volvo Ocean Race Wrap Up



    SC Week 3 Wrap Up

    They crossed the equator and headed south, the conditions have been up and down as they battle on to try and close down the miles to the fleet ahead as they are looking forward to the big freight train south into the Southern Ocean




    As the new routing takes the determined men of Dongfeng towards The Roaring Forties, they worry that 'packing light' in Alicante might not have been such a great idea...



    King Neptune didn't have a chance to drop by when Team Brunel passed the equator during the night in full race mode about a week ago. This week he finally punished the sinners aboard Team Brunel..




    The temperatures may be cooling off since the team has been heading south, but things are heating up in terms of speed. They may have been out out at sea for nearly three weeks, but motivation isn't an issue as they are still on 'the hunt'. Watch what life has been like on board for the last week for Team Alvimedica.




    Iker Martínez nos cuenta desde a bordo del barco español cómo han sido las últimas millas para el "MAPFRE" y qué se espera de las próximas horas de navegación durante las difíciles condiciones del Atlántico Sur



    Boatfeed from the Vestas Wind (28/10/14)
    Brian Carlin / Team Vestas Wind
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  5. #115

    Volvo Ocean Race: Riding The Aqua Flying Carpet






    NOVEMBER 1, 2014





    On deck, the guys have been facing white-walled waves that crash over the cockpit as they surf down ocean swells four meters high. As the ride down one wave ends, the bow of Azzam will plow into the next sending freezing seawater crashing up the deck with a power strong enough to knock you over.
    The best part: this is only an introduction to Southern Ocean sailing.

    Matt Knighton, OBR
    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing





    ETA is 6 or 7 days, and I imagine getting to dock and tying up the boat, among a long lists of other things to do since the next leg is starting in less than 3 weeks. The first thing I am going to do is have a cold Coke, then have a burger and, after that, a nice hot shower. The things you miss the most on board, aside from the people you love, is good food and a shower. This is the price you pay to sail the world - and sail it fast!
    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE






    We take one day at a time; each day is different—each hour is different. “The rich will get richer at this point,” Libby said yesterday afternoon. And we all felt like deflated balloons—the distance just kept growing! Yesterday afternoon we couldn’t hit our performance numbers either—we had the best sailors in the correct places and they all said the boat felt slow, but couldn’t figure out why


    By late afternoon though, everything had changed. The wind picked up and decided to stick around a bit longer than expected, waves began crashing over the bow, and we were sailing fast. Everything felt a little better. Even the position report didn’t sting as much.
    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA






    We all woken as different men, well, three of our crew have. 40-degree virgins they are not! We have broken the 40° barrier this morning, diving south and east into the infamous “Roaring 40’s”. This stretch of water is also technically now the Southern Ocean.

    What delight for all of us to pick up this long awaited front. It seemed like Wouter was messing with us, just another day guys! We all feel like we have been off the coast of Rio for a life time.

    20-26 knots of wind, a moderate swell pushes Vestas along in the right direction for Cape Town.




    I can’t describe what it feels like for both the young guys and I. It’s the closest thing to Christmas morning onboard.
    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind


    On the back of the boat is standing the Spaniard Arrarte. Hidden away behind his balaclava, he tries to recreate the temperature of his beloved Santander. But alas, even the stock of warm clothing that this Spanish sun worshipper carries with him is not resistant against the cold. It’s misty, water cold and the wind meter is showing 28 knots. A big wave rushes over the front deck and changes the cockpit into a bath tub of ice water. Arrarte takes again a little look into the navigation room: more often than usual today.

    Stefan Coppers, OBR
    Team Brunel






    A first for Wolf, Horace, Thomas and Eric whose boots step for the first time in the Forties. Well, it’s not exactly like the tourism brochure said – yes, it’s grey, windy, and there are albatrosses…. We’ll have come back to experience the long west swell.
    Instead, we’ve had a choppy sea state, stopping us from going as fast as we could with this wind. It does look like the English Channel in a southwest wind, minus the ships…

    Yann Riou, OBR
    Dongfeng Race Team



    The goal is Cape Town and we’re making good progress in that direction. Our position to the south has its rewards, many of which will play out in the long run. So we have to be patient and not get flustered when a difficult weather scenario like this makes a mess of the position reports.

    There are some significant hurdles left on the course and the general consensus is that there are big opportunities for gains from behind, all the way to the finish line. It’s a theory we plan on putting to the test.

    Amory Ross, OBR
    Team Alvimedica


    ***********************************************
    OCTOBER 31, 2014







    Like flipping a light switch. Off to on in so much as an instant, the anticipated westerlies of the South Atlantic have finally arrived—28 knots now—and it never ceases to amaze me how quickly life onboard can change. One minute you’re enjoying a nice casual sleep, twelve knots of wind and comfortable in your sleeping bag. Things are pretty mellow, tranquillo as Charlie says. Your iPod probably ran out of battery while you were dreaming, dreaming about home, maybe a steak in Cape Town. It really doesn’t matter—you are dreaming.


    Something wakes you and you open your eyes and ears to a very different, very alarming setting. It’s pretty chaotic, actually. Your eyes adjust to the darkness, slowly, with the only light coming from red headlamps of the guys doing very much the same all around you. As the boat careens through the night like an out of control freight train, carving a trench through the ocean while obliterating every bit of water in its way, it is loud—constant loud like the rumble of distant thunder. You can actually hear the speed, feel the speed. Like accelerating in a sports car with your eyes closed, off-road, in the rain.

    People on deck are yelling, bags down below are flying, waves are shooting through the hatch, and all you and everyone else just rising from their bunks are trying to do is wake up, simply get to your feet. And the kettle’s just tumbled to leeward because the boat is on its side. You hear it clank loudly, twice, on the way down and it lands in the [rapidly filling] bilge with an audible splash—a noise so annoying, so bothersome in principle--that you know it will someday occupy your nightmares. Gonna have to go get that. Like, right now.

    Amory Ross, OBR
    Team Alvimedica







    We’re past the 40th parallel… technically in the Roaring Forties. It’s not roaring at full strength yet, but this evening a frontal system rolled through an the wind speeds have been in the 25 knots range all night.

    I knew it was blowing hard when Chuny came back and, out of breath, says, “This is OK, no?” and before I can answer starts throwing all the heavy stacking gear both under and in my bunk because we were nose-diving into the waves and needed the aft weight.

    Still, a nice sailing day up until dinnertime. The heavy breeze is welcome.

    Matt Knighton, OBR
    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing





    Late last night I signed off with quite the sailing story. I’ll follow this up more now in detail that I’ve been educated by the crew. We were all waiting at 19:00 UTC for the six-hourly scheds, these position reports are massive news onboard, it allows us to gauge our performance and it tells us where the rest of the fleet is.

    Five minutes before the email had been received, Abu Dhabi popped up on AIS on our computer screens, shortly after it appeared out of the grey horizon passing only four miles just ahead. This was a tactical game Abu Dhabi played, six hours of no one knowing their position and they end up right in front of us before the sched. We think the east wasn’t paying off for them so they joined our line to the west to get to the south to the frontal systems quicker.

    The day brought a slight split in the trio up front, we are pushing hard to get south and be the first into the front coming possibly tomorrow. The others are further to our east. It’s all snakes and ladders now, Gain, Loss, Gain, Loss! Its hard to follow, I wonder what it’s like for you couch surfers at home. I bet some are getting less sleep than us, I know my Mom will be and probably all the mothers of their sons aboard too.

    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind





    First Albatross
    This morning we saw our first albatross. Surprising, because we were only at 32 degrees south. We wondered what it was doing there… Enjoying a holiday up north? We didn’t see any other.

    A first for…

    Tomorrow, Eric, Thomas, Wolf and Horace will sail for the first time by 40 degrees south. Even though they’re focused on the racing, Eric and Thomas are not taking this lightly. It’s something you want to do when you’re an offshore racer. It’s not the same for Wolf and Horace. We can see that the Roaring Forties legend didn’t really make it to China. Up to us to change this!

    Yann Riou, OBR
    Dongfeng Race Team





    Twenty days ago, the idea of being at sea for twenty days was a bit daunting. Twenty days without a shower, twenty days without a run, twenty days with only a few changes of clothes. Twenty days without ice cream, steak, nor spinach.
    “Here we are twenty days into it. On day 3 it was really like holy cow, we still have a long way to go, but now it’s 20 days. It helps really being in the moment, one day at a time,” Sally said.

    Sally is right. Out here, it really is one day at a time. It’s one “sked” (aka position report) at a time. It’s sailing with the conditions you have, and doing the ultimate best with them. It’s not thinking about day 26 and preparing the sails and boat for day 26 because then you’ll be slow. Out here, you have to deal with today.

    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA



    We’ve been thinking about all that has happened so far… And we realised that, not being in a confortable situation at the start has placed us where we are now. At least this is what Iker told me today, and that helped me understanding how and why we ended up in this situation.

    Crossing the Doldrums was difficult cause the west paid off and caused Brunel and Abu Dhabi to open a gap.

    Then, we chose to sail close to land, off the Brazilian coast, which is usually not that difficult, but the wind was really not consistent. We thought it was a safer option because the St Helena High was placed south at that time, but we didn’t end up sailing fast enough. Basically, after the Doldrums, we’ve been in the wrong place.
    We are far from the end of the race and we can still move up. We have six days of sailing ahead of us and we won’t let go.

    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE

    http://www.volvooceanrace.com/en/new...the-boats.html
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  6. #116
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Dongfeng Damaged In Gear Failure Domino Effect



    ALICANTE, Spain – Dongfeng Race Team has suffered significant damage after part of the control lines for the masthead gennaker sail broke, but the Chinese boat continues to challenge for Leg 1 victory in the Volvo Ocean Race after pulling off a rapid repair job to retain second place.

    The setback happened at 1800 UTC on Sunday when part of the sheeting system snapped and the high loads held in that line were released across the leeward deck, causing significant damage.

    There were no injuries but damage to the boat include a broken wheel which will handicap Charles Caudrelier’s crew when they gybe, the push pit (the protective bars at the back of the boat), aft stanchions (the posts on the side of the boat at the back) and a satellite antenna.





    Since the boat is loaded with communication kit, the latter issue should not be a major handicap.

    The team lost about five miles during the half hour it took to get the sail under control, assess the damage and get back up to full speed.

    During that time, the boat speed dropped to around 12 knots from 22 knots.

    Syndicate head Mark Turner commented: “The rest of the night, while wet, cold and fast, passed well for our guys and they have maintained second place this morning just eight miles from the leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing at sunrise this morning, having retaken a few of the miles lost.”

    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), Dongfeng and third-placed Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) are powering along at an average of more than 25 knots in the icy Southern Atlantic wind. Just 34 nautical miles (nm) separate the first three boats.

    They are approaching 750nm to go before the welcoming sights of Table Mountain, one of the ancient Seven Wonders of the World, and Cape Town finally pass into view after a thrilling opening leg of racing.

    Dongfeng Race Team will be particularly relieved to see the port after bouncing back from a broken rudder earlier in the leg, plus this latest setback. The current estimated date for arrival is Thursday (November 6).

    At 0630 UTC/GMT today, Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) were lying in fifth spot, 142.1nm adrift of the lead, with MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) 308nm behind and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) in seventh, trailing Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing by 442.6nm.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  7. #117

    Catching Up With Team Brunel




    It’s quarter to eight somewhere in the Southern Ocean, slightly more than 1,000 nautical miles from Cape Town. In a quarter of an hour, Gerd-Jan “Johnny” Poortman will start his shift on deck, which is completely awash. Icy water is streaming through the cockpit. The men who are still on shift and will shortly disappear below are wearing fireman’s helmets on deck. “That’s really something to look forward to – four hours of playing outside,” grumbles the usually so positive Johnny.








    He sits with his back braced against the hatchway in the middle of the boat. If you don’t do that, you can be thrown into the forward part of the boat if Team Brunel nose-dives into a big wave. “You know, maybe we don’t deserve to beat Abu Dhabi. We’ve been losing quite some ground for 24 hours.” He swallows the last mouthful of his freeze-dried noodles.

    He pulls on his wet sailing suit and zips his life-line shut. “But we’re still going to try and beat them! And now back to work and duck freezing waves for another four hours.”

    Stephan Coopers

    OBP
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  8. #118

    November 3 Update: Table Mountain Soon To Be Seen

    The best of the OBR's blogs





    NOVEMBER 3, 2014
    It’s a quarter to eight, somewhere in the Southern Ocean. A little over a 1,000 miles from Cape Town. In about 15 minutes Gerd-Jan “Johnny” Poortman starts his watch on a completely flooded deck.
    The waves of ice water splash through the cockpit and the men who are about to end their shift are wearing helmets. “Really feel like playing out there for four hours”, grumbles Johnny, usually a positive and funny character.

    He’s leaning on the hatch in the middle of the boat. The hatch is closed because of the heavy weather conditions: a nose-dive could throw you on the floor. “You know, maybe we don’t deserve to win from Abu Dhabi, the’ve been gaining on us already for 24 hours”, he says eating the last bite of his freeze-dried noodles.
    He puts on his weather gear, which is still wet, and zips his lifeline up. ”But we are gonna try; another four hours of headwind against the waves”.

    Stefan Coppers, OBR
    Team Brunel



    It’s a seriously difficult one and I apologize for the typos now. I think today I’ll keep this blog short and the reason being it’s very, very difficult to write at 32 knots. So here’s the run down in order of what fans we have out there:

    Firstly you hardcore sailing buffs; this is the Volvo Ocean Race and I see now why they take a good break between races. It’s conditions like today that both break you and make you. I have watched this race so many years now, probably since I was eight. I envied those guys, watching as the walls of water blasted across the decks, I thought, WOW! This is so dam cool, I wish I could have a go.

    Well here I am writing from the thick of it. The new Volvo Ocean 65s are more comparable to submarines, in fact today we probably were sailing faster under the waves than over. It’s so dam wet… I can describe and the video or photos don’t do it justice. I guess it will remain an experience best left to a first hand event. Seriously, we are absolutely sending the hell out of it; we had an A3 up, J2 and one reefed main. The speeds earlier where a consistent 25 knots in 22 knots of wind, (a building swell) we then peeled to a MHO, J2 and a reefed main (a much longer swell and bigger sea state now). We regularly see the clocks hit 30+ boat speed.

    Today I signed out the hatch to Nicolai what speed, he handed a three two back, ya just being very casual that we were doing 32 knots. All I can say to any Under 30 out there, do whatever you need to do to get on this race, it’s a once in a life time experience.

    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind






    Much like the anticipation for the arrival of the first big snowfall, for weeks we have been “patiently” waiting to arrive to the Southern Ocean—to sail in the fast, heavy conditions with the Albatross. Now it’s a reality and it’s like a dream come true for all of us. Coupled with the excitement of gaining hour by hour on the leading boats, we’ve been like little kids playing in the snow. Today, we’ve been on cloud nine.
    The waves out here are, as promised, relentless. Over and over again, cold waves crash over the bow, jumping over the cabin top, crashing into the cockpit, and bouncing off winches and sailors before heading back off the boat. Sometimes, when the foam splashes up it reaches five feet in the air. There’s water everywhere.
    We’re sailing with one of our biggest sails, the A3. We’re sailing in good pressure, keeping the boat averaging speeds of 19 knots. We’re surfing over and down waves. It’s simply amazing to be outside, sailing amongst the Albatross and other sea birds.

    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA




    Every bright blue wave that Azzam punches through carries a huge wall of foaming white water rushing across the deck. It can’t be fought. One can only gasp for breath as the cold water takes your breath away and for a moment you’re underwater. Still, ripping across the water at 25 knots while leading the Volvo Ocean Race towards Cape Town, every wave is a reminder to the guys why they’re here in the Southern Ocean.

    For Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, there’s an efficiency onboard pushing everything forward. In the tough conditions, no energy is being wasted. Everyone is sleeping – or trying to – it’s a ghost town down below. Every moment you’re not eating or rehydrating you’re in a bunk.
    **Apologies for any grammatical errors. It’s hard to type right now!**

    Matt Knighton, OBR
    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing


    Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica/Volvo Ocean Race
    The sustained 22-24 knots of the last 24 hours have been a lot of fun, there’s no question, but we couldn’t get south with it like the four leaders have, and they’ve stepped to the quick side of a nasty ridge of high pressure we’re desperately trying to outrun.

    Unfortunately it will overtake us--it’s inevitable--and when it does two things are fairly certain: we’ll watch the group to the south extend, and we’ll watch Mapfre and SCA compress from far behind. There’s a good chance we’ll be the “monkeys in the middle,” wallowing for a day or two in no wind while we lose big on both sides.

    Or, not. Weather models for this stretch of ocean are largely inaccurate with so few actual observations. And our far more direct course saves heaps of miles on the route to the south; if we can find some wind to the north, if the high shifts south, there’s always the outside chance we can sneak into South Africa ahead of the fleet. That’s the way we have to be thinking, at least. But for now, a few more hours of nice downwind sailing before the wind tapers, and quickly. Giddyup!

    Amory Ross, OBR
    Team Alvimedica




    From the moment the wind started to increase, during the night, we’re drenched. Waves over the deck, constant spray, damped hands because of the water, wet clothes, tired faces, and the cold.
    That’s what we’ve experienced on MAPFRE on November 2.
    Things came to life, and appeared in the most unusual places. A good example is my media kit, with the cameras, lenses and accessories – it appeared at 4 in the morning, on windward, at the bow.
    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE











    NOVEMBER 2, 2014
    Today was like one of those days growing up where your mom told you: “After school today we will go get ice cream.” Remember those days? Such a rarity; such a treat! Eight hours of school went by at a snail’s pace. You bragged about it to everyone on the school bus, at lunch, and in class. Your whole day revolved around getting ice cream after school.

    Today was like one of those days for us on Team SCA, except instead of ice cream it was wind and the opportunity to finally “send it.” (Send it: hand off the E-brake, pedal to the metal, full throttle sailing—fast, fast, fast). All day we talked about the coming wind and the low pressure we were supposed to catch, stay in and ride east towards Cape Town. It was the topic of conversation during lunch, on deck, and below deck at the navigation station.

    To say we’ve had just a bit of bad wind luck is an extreme understatement—we’ve had monumentally bad luck.
    However, as I type, the leaders are parked hundreds of miles ahead in 3-10 knots of wind (and expected to stay parked for at least nine hours), Alvimedica lost a lot of miles in six hours, and we are steaming along at 15knots, hopefully riding this low pressure for the next 24-36 hours. Whoa. Talk about the best ice cream treat ever!


    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA


    Francisco Vignale/MAPFRE/Volvo Ocean Race
    We are heading east, said Nico Lunven this morning. The wind is not really steady, 12 to 15 knots. This is our bearing unless a shift forces us to gybe. We’re expecting the wind to pick up in the afternoon.
    The last few hours have been calmed, we’ve seen a couple of albatross, and in the morning Ñeti and Anthony did some manteinance work on the keel. In the afternoon we got caught in a fishing net. Michael and Carlos managed to get rid of it without even touching it because it was full with squid hooks.
    In the afternoon the temperature grew colder, fog came in and so did the wind, which built up to 22 knots and stayed till dawn at least. On board we are all well, tired but still wanting to catch the fleet, we hope to get the chance to pass them. In the meantime, we keep sailing east.

    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE


    Imagine… You've just finished your watch. You’ve spent two hours in “standby” mode, fixing things, eating, and resting. And at last, you can enjoy your two hours “OFF”, meaning off watch, to fall in the arms of Morpheus… But in the middle of it, a guy comes shake you up, shouting:

    “Everybody on deck, we’re changing for the Mast Head!”

    You’ve three minutes to get dressed and go on deck to change sails. And if that wasn’t enough, Kevin had to go on the bowsprit. The whole thing drenched with cold, 10 degree water.
    Admit it – there are better ways to wake up.
    Then, the manoeuvre, the stacking that comes with it, and finally the right to go back to the bunk. Except that half an hour went by, and there are now only 20 minutes left before you got to go back on deck for your watch. That’s nothing. No luck. The following watch won’t be bothered. But Kevin and Wolf will have to wait for six more hours.

    Yann Riou, OBR
    Dongfeng Race Team






    As Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing chased the sunrise on the eastern horizon, the daybreak signaled the looming battle to come. A strong frontal system is forecasted that’s expected to drench the fleet in 30 knots of wind and push the teams through the final stretch to the finish.

    The speed was already building onboard and the quickened pace was breathing new life into Azzam after a light and shift night. The latest sked showed Dongfeng had made big gains in the South, effectively narrowing the lead to less than 10 miles.

    The competitiveness has jumped to another level on deck. The guys’ awareness of the situation is starting to grind into their daily rhythms. They know they can last 3 more days until the finish despite sleep deprivation and rest. It’s all down to who wants it more.

    Matt Knighton, OBR
    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing


    While we have ventured over to the north side of the 40 degree line its still getting colder. I can see my breath at night as I type my blogs and edit the videos. Poor Tom Johnson looks even colder every time I pass his bunk, he told me this morning he’s wearing everything he owns. I feel his plight; I too now wear almost all my available clothing. My feet feel the worse, well I can't confirm or deny that statement, as I haven’t had full feeling in them for a day now.
    The cold must also be affecting Peter’s brain, twice today he woke and attempted to put on his gear to go on watch, twice I told him go back to sleep. An early attempt at 17.30 turned into a second attempt at 18:30 where he had his socks on before realising he had another hour before he was required.

    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind






    The current 24-hour record for ‘distance sailed by a monohull’ was set on this stretch of ocean by Ericsson 4 during the 2008-2009 Volvo Ocean Race. The running joke onboard yesterday was that we’d surely be setting records for “distance sailed,” just for the fewest. There’s no doubt it is unusual, the weather we’re seeing. That the High has settled so far south is the root of all this evil, and it impedes any consistency to our wanted, to our needed, winds.

    And so we wait.
    Amory Ross, OBR
    Team Alvimedica
    Pressure-drop.us ~It's not the size of the website, it's how you use it! ~

  9. #119
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Neck & Neck @ Cape Town Finish

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  10. #120
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Abu Dhabi By A Nose




    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing win by just 12 minutes

    - Dongfeng Race Team chase Azzam to the finish



    ALICANTE, Spain, Nov 5 – Ian Walker (GBR) and his Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew have barely snatched a wink of sleep for nearly 48 hours, but they will surely be celebrating deep into the night after an epic first leg victory in the Volvo Ocean Race on Wednesday.

    There have been many close finishes in the 41-year history of the event, but few will have been quite so tense for the victors, who have been feeling the hot breath of Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) down their necks for the best part of a week in the 6,487-nautical mile (nm) stage.






    Even with the finish under Table Mountain in Cape Town in sight 2nm away, Walker could not relax, with wind in perilously short supply and the Chinese boat able to close again before Azzam finally claimed the hardest fought of victories.

    The crossed the line at 1510 UTC, just 12 minutes before Dongfeng, after 25 days, three hours and 10 minutes of sailing.

    The win is a personal triumph for 44-year-old Walker. The Briton was forced to motor miserably back into Alicante on the first night of the opening leg in 2011-12 after a Mediterranean storm dismasted his boat.

    This time, he and the crew have barely made an error since setting out with the rest of the fleet on October 11 from Alicante, and their Volvo Ocean 65 has withstood everything that the Med and the Atlantic could throw at them.

    But they still could not shake off Caudrelier’s crew, who tried all manner of manoeuvres, some under the cover of darkness, to get the better of the front-runners.



    Walker, red-eyed after sleep deprivation for so long, was finally able to celebrate surely one of the sweetest wins of a career, which also includes two Olympic silver medals.

    "It's quite emotional actually,” Walker told Race HQ, minutes after crossing the line.

    "I didn't think I would be - but that last couple of hours, they threw everything at us," he smiled, "We've had people ride on our heels for the last 10 days or so. I must congratulate Dongfeng, an absolutely fantastic performance."

    In contrast, Caudrelier looked like he had thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the chase and the opportunity to prove a point to those who doubted that his crew, that included two Chinese rookies, could seriously compete at the front of the fleet.

    Dongfeng Race Team’s second place was all the more remarkable since twice their progress was slowed through damage to the boat; first through a smashed rudder and then through a shattered padeye, which caused a domino-effect of damage including a broken wheel.

    Repeatedly over the past week, they have nibbled away at Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s lead, closing to within three nm shortly after daybreak on Wednesday.

    But Walker and his team had sailed too well for too long to give victory away after such a struggle, and the crowd packing Cape Town’s famous V&A Waterfront gave them a reception they surely will never forget.

    For the rest of the fleet, it’s now a battle for the minor places and equally hard-won points. Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) should take third spot later on Wednesday with Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) looking good for fourth.

    Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) are expected to be too far ahead to be caught in fifth, but MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) could yet have a big tussle for sixth and seventh spots before their expected arrival in Cape Town on Friday.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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