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Thread: 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race

  1. #201
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    SCA's Arrival Completes The Leg 2 Marathon

    It has been a long leg for Team Alvimedica, and a slow, never-ending finish at sunset, in Abu Dhabi waters.


    The Turkish/American boat did lead the race early on, stopped to assist Team Vestas Wind when their competitors hit a reef north of Mauritius, resumed racing and caught up with Team SCA and MAPFRE. But they were finally overtaken by the Spanish team and ended the leg in a painful drift across the Gulf.


    “This leg has had its ups and downs and we definitely need to work on our consistency,” admits Charlie Enright, the skipper.“But we’ve got a good plan in place and we’ll work on the best way to achieve it.”

    For the youngest crew in the race, this leg was all about learning. Learning about the race – four of them are rookies, learning about their boat, learning about their performance at sea. “We’ve had a lot of time together and conversations naturally evolved from the fun things to our performance,” explains Amory Ross, the Onboard Reporter.

    “We’re happy about boat speed. We know we’re competitive in a straight line; we just need to know where to point the bow. It’s not a personal problem or a chemistry issue. Our greatest attribute is we’re a young group of guys looking to improve.”
    They’ve learned about the reality of the race too, and its ruthlessness.

    “The Vestas incident is something that will stick with us for a long time,” sighs Mark Towill, who admits feeling “a bit mentally drained.” Having suspended racing for 9.5 hours to provide assistance to the blue boat, the Alvimedica guys can now apply for redress. “And we’ve just been bleeding miles to MAPFRE these past days,” adds Mark. “Yes, a little down, but excited to wrap this up and prepare for the next leg.”


    Charlie and his eight teammates are now looking forward to debriefing properly in Abu Dhabi. Some are heading home; others are staying in the Emirates before the next leg. “Part of us want to start Leg 3 tomorrow,” concludes the 30-year old skipper, “but it will be good to have some time to rest and reflect. We’re excited about where we are. It’s just a matter of refining some small things.”



    photo © Francois Nel/Volvo Ocean Race



    Team Alvimedica finish time: 13 29 23 UTC / Elapsed time: 024d 21h 29m 23s



    photo © Francois Nel/Volvo Ocean Race


    It wasn’t the arrival they wanted and the frustration of a maddening, 25-day leg was etched on every one of the faces of Team SCA as they finally reached Abu Dhabi in the middle of the night.

    They may be the first female team to take part in offshore sailing’s toughest event since 2001-02 but that stat alone was never going to satisfy these driven, skilled women sailors. Make no mistake, they are competitors to the core and to end sixth and last of the teams to make it to the UAE still hurts. Badly.

    As they crossed the finish line, there were no high fives, no whoops or hollers from the 11 sailors at 2223 UTC, 0123 local time in Abu Dhabi. They looked like a crew who just wanted to bring the boat to shore with the minimum of fuss and get some much needed rest and recuperation before the next leg sets off for Sanya on January 3.


    Onboard reporter Corinna Halloran spoke for them all in her last blog from the boat on the final day before they completed the leg in 25 days 6 hours and 23 minutes.
    “We are here to race, not to watch,” she wrote, the defiance reflected in every word. “We are here to lead, not to follow. Yes, we are paving a road for the future of everyday women who dare to dream big. But we are also competitive athletes and coming in last, regardless, is always tough.”

    By the time they had crossed the finish line not long after midnight in barely a breath of wind, they had mustered some grim smiles to greet their welcoming shore crew, decked out in blue and magenta and holding aloft Team SCA battle flags.

    The maddening point for them is that this crew just knows that they can keep up with guys on boat speed as they have proved in two legs now. But a navigational error or two on a leg of 25 days have been magnified cruelly with the weather gods refusing to give them a break.


    By three-quarters of the way through the 5,200 nautical mile leg, it was a game of catch-up with the five other boats still in the stage after Team Vestas Wind’s grounding – and they always looked unlikely to make up the gap.

    The Volvo Ocean Race sure takes some beating as sailing's school of hard knocks.
    “It’s still a learning process. We’re all learning together, applying what we learned from Leg 1 and putting that into practice for Leg 2,” said skipper Sam Davies (GBR).
    “Every condition is a good opportunity to keep learning and keep making the boat go a bit faster. We made a navigational mistake which put us behind and then it became a procession. That was hard.

    “We’re focusing on everything. It’s all new to us. Our debriefs are packed with everything you can think of. “The hard bits (as a skipper) are the communications, maybe that’s because I come from single-handed sailing. There are a lot of things I’m trying to learn and trying to do better.”

    Nobody said offshore sailing was easy and certainly not the Volvo Ocean Race. But these women will never give up. They will be back, wiser, tougher and more determined than ever.





    photo © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race

    Abby Ehler (GBR)

    "It was a race of two parts, we were sailing really well at the beginning of the leg and a slight navigational error with the routing set us on the back foot and then from there we were never really given a chance to catch up. Again, a huge learning curve, but we are all still loving what we are doing, sailing the boat really well, and we just have to keep pushing.

    It is hard to keep the motivation up when you are not anywhere near the other boats, I guess you could use the analogy of driving a car around a race track and if you have got a fleet of cars around you, you know how to gauge yourself, you know how fast you are going to take a corner or where you are going to brake. It is the same with sailing, if you have no one nearby to judge your speed against, then you never know how hard to push the boat, when to pull back – it is the same thing."





    Team SCA finish time: 22 23 34 UTC / Elapsed time: 025d 06h 23m 34s


    photos © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race


    Sophie Ciszek (AUS)

    "I'm doing OK, Dee has me on some pretty intense painkillers but I have had a bad back now for about 10 days so it has been super frustrating for me. We were just doing a sail change and I was bringing a sail back from off the bow and I bent down and just tweaked my back – not really sure what is wrong but we will see. I got Dee to do some dry needling just sort of trying anything we could but the boat is not a good place to have a bad back so we have tried everything we can onboard. I really want to get back onboard for Leg 3 so hopefully I can get fixed and be ready to go and on the crew for the next leg."


    Dee Caffari (GBR)

    "The tough thing I think firstly was that the weather wasn't exactly what we thought it was going to be, we didn't actually have the forecasted, predicted weather that we thought we would have on this leg, it was a lot lighter which made it a lot more difficult. Strategically and tactically it was a lot different because we had to try and find passing lanes and opportunities, which were even more difficult once we lost touch with the pack and that initial bit was good, but once we lost touch with the last couple of boats we were basically just sailing on our own and the faster way we will learn in this race is to be sailing alongside another boat so we need to find the boat speed, stay with the pack and increase our learning as fast as possible that way."





    photo © Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race


    Sam Davies (GBR)

    "The leg was a lot of ups and downs for us, I think we had a really good start, we enjoyed the windy stuff in the southern ocean, and the transitions we went through while coming up the coast, did a lot of learning while sailing alongside the other boats. The impact of our silly navigational mistake doesn't really reflect how well we sailed the boat in terms of boat speed, maneuvers. We learnt a lot from Leg One and from this leg - it is just frustrating that it doesn't show in our results. I think if we hadn't made that mistake we would have been well in front of MAPFRE at the finish and we all know that but its not the same when you don't actually make it, thats the hard part, but sometimes learning things the hard way makes you stronger and this is only Leg 2 with another seven to go and the positive thing is that we are coming out of this stronger and we are going to be even better."

    Libby Greenhalgh (GBR)

    "I guess I went into this leg thinking it would be a pretty level playing field for everyone, so in some ways a little bit disappointing in that respect. It is a bit tricky, we had from 0 – 40 knots in the space of one hour at the start, and we showed everyone what we can do and sailed out of there (Cape Town) with a bit of a lead and that was fantastic because those conditions are so unpredictable. Then we had a cyclone which seemed to mess up the 'normal' or traditional aspect of the leg which left it more open, and I think despite our mistake we were doing pretty well at sneaking up through all that tricky stuff, but it is definitely about performance and making your boat sail fast and that's what it is all about, but you have to look at how easy is it to gain and lose miles, you can be right next to a boat and then all of a sudden be 50 miles behind.

    It is tricky and when you make a decision you still are never sure if it is going to be right even if you look at everything twice, and you just have to deal with the fact that sometimes it's not that you have missed something it is just that something didn't quite work out how you thought it should have. That's the way the weather rolls sadly but there are definitely higher risk and lower risk situations. For us at the moment we are less likely to make risky decisions because it is about getting in touch and staying in touch with the fleet, we are perfectly capable of leading them out we just have to stay in touch now!"
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  2. #202
    Hang in there girls, there will be better times!

  3. #203
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    Awash No More






    ALICANTE, Spain, December 22 – Team Vestas Wind’s stranded Volvo Ocean 65 boat has been retrieved from a remote reef in the Indian Ocean and on Monday was heading on a round-trip via Mauritius and Malaysia back to Europe.

    After three days’ planning, the Volvo Ocean Race boat was gingerly floated clear of the reef in St Brandon on Sunday evening, where it had laid since November 29, and on to a nearby lagoon.

    From there it was lifted on to a waiting Maersk Line ship to complete the delicate first stage of an operation, which could yet see the boat being reconstructed.

    The shore manager of Team Vestas Wind, Neil Cox, and the boat’s skipper, Chris Nicholson (AUS), oversaw the complicated process of extracting it from the rock where it was trapped.

    Nicholson had led his crew to safety just over three weeks ago after the boat ran aground on the reef, 430 kilometres from Mauritius, at around 19 knots (35 kph), in the middle of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

    Volvo Ocean Race COO Tom Touber explained that the retrieval was achieved thanks to meticulous planning beforehand in which several scenarios were explored with a detailed plan of action for each.

    'Preferred plan'

    “Our preferred plan – to rescue the boat as intact as possible – worked out,” he said.

    He paid tribute to the race’s shipping partners, Maersk Line, and their retrieval company, Svitzer, which had played a large role in the operation. “We have had awesome co-operation,” he said. “They were a dream to work with.”

    Touber continued: “For both ourselves and the sponsors of the boat – Vestas and (sub-sponsors) Powerhouse – it was also completely key that we made sure that the environment in this beautiful part of the world was looked after too.”

    Team Vestas Wind CEO and Vestas Chief Marketing Officer, Morten Albćk, added his voice to the praise for Maersk and the residents of the island who assisted with the retrieval.

    “We have been in contact with the shore manager of Team Vestas Wind, Neil Cox, throughout and were so relieved to hear that the operation to lift the boat intact on to the ship was a complete success thanks to great teamwork involving Maersk, our team, Volvo Ocean Race and the local people.

    “For us, the environmental side of this project was a key objective. It’s mission accomplished.

    "We'll make an announcement on the outlook regarding a potential return to the 2014-15 race before the start of Leg 3 (January 3).”

    'Very careful'

    Cox added: “We had to bounce slightly and re-invent the wheel, we just needed to be very careful and just make sure that we finished the job swiftly.”

    It was a job which was always going to be fraught with difficulty – but even more so after three days of working around the clock to clear the area and ensure the structural integrity of the boat.

    “We've been really lucky that from the minute the incident happened, we've developed a relationship with the guys who actually live on the island here,” he said.

    “We've employed the workforce that already exists out here, and without it we couldn’t have done the job, full stop. There's probably a work force of 10 guys.

    “They've been standing knee deep in water with waves hitting them all day, they've been carrying oxygen bottles for us to be able to cut the keel off, they've been helping us re-anchor the boat otherwise things would start moving across the reef.”

    Cox was cautious about over-promising on next steps – the boat will be checked out more fully in Malaysia before heading to Europe, possibly Italy, for a rebuild.

    “A week ago the light at the end of the tunnel was getting smaller and smaller, but what we’ve been able to retrieve off the reef is substantial.”

    He added: “I'm not going to say it's great by any means, but it's the first stepping stone, and it's enough to shine a light and to work hard to put things back into place. “
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  4. #204
    Possibly ready for leg 5?

  5. #205
    despondent correspondent Photoboy's Avatar
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    These images just released via Volvo Ocean Race show much more damage than the earlier ones....



    all images © Shane Smart / Volvo Ocean Race




    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  6. #206
    If I were an insurance adjuster, I would stamp this "totaled"

  7. #207
    That's an understatement. Dont think I would be comfortable sailing around the globe in something that has been so compromised.

  8. #208
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    24 days after Team Vestas Wind ran aground, the boat was successfully removed from the Cargados Carajos Shoals. Vestas shore manager Neil Cox led the team that performed a complex and difficult operation with the utmost professionalism and diligence.



    This week Team Vestas Wind are left fighting the odds: after being shipwrecked in the Indian Ocean, they need to organise their lives. The gods of the sea are back to collect their tribute as some of the sailors cross the equator for the first time. And some tough little invaders are taking control of Team Alvimedica's rig overnight.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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  9. #209
    Those guys have mad skills!

    I wonder if they have time to help install my sink before Christmas...?

  10. #210
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    Salvors Detail the Recovery of Team Vestas Wind

    gCaptain.com have published some of the finite details
    of what it took to remove Vesta's Wind off the reef...






    Seldom does a salvage operation run as smoothly as that of the Volvo Ocean Racing yacht, “Vestas Wind”.

    In a joint venture between Subtech and Svitzer, a team consisting of Neil Scott-Williams, Morgan Castle and Morne Uys of Subtech and Mike Smith and Rob Hare, veteran salvors from Svitzer was mobilized from South Africa under a Bimco Wreckhire to refloat and recover, intact, the remains of the “Vestas Wind” from the Cargados Carajos Shoal, 250nm North of Mauritius. The main objective being to salvage the deck intact to install in a new boat to be built, as that was the one item that would not be ready in time to make re-entry into the race possible.

    Through the efforts of major sponsor, Maersk, arrangements were made for a container vessel, the “Jula S” to divert course and rendezvous with the salvage team during a very small window of time, on Sunday afternoon, off the Cargados Carajos Shoal. This gave the salvage team 2,5 days to inspect the vessel, confirm the method of salvage and then execute on the plan to be floating and ready for the “Jula S” or risk missing the opportunity and scuttling any chance of Team Vestas Wind re-entering the race.

    In Mauritius, the Subtech/Svitzer team joined forces with Team Vestas Wind in the form of team manager, Neil Cox, “Vestas Wind” Skipper, Chris Nicolson and shore skipper Tom Kif. Local Support in the form of Raphael Fishing, concession holders for the Cargados Carajos Shoals, through general manager Alain Langlois and his very capable righthand man, Julien Merven closed the loop on the most competent team for the job one could possibly wish for.

    Due to the extremely remote position of the casualty, a plan combining the salvage experience of Subtech/Svitzer, vessel knowledge and understanding of Team Vestas together with the local knowledge of Raphael Fishing was formulated. The plan catered for almost any eventuality and outcome ranging from refloat and rendezvous with the “Jula S” through to cutting her up on site for disposal in Mauritius and a few others in between.







    images © Subtech


    The three primary challenges identified were cutting of the keel (650 x 150mm forged tool steel), removing the rigging (due to the instability and risk factor it introduced) and re-establishment of sufficient ballast and buoyancy to refloat in a minimum of 40cm of water. Confirmation of the planned methodology for each process could only be made on day 1, during the first visual inspection. Planning the equipment for this operation offered some challenges, nothing could be left to chance, once we were out there we only had one shot at it. To re-mobilize for any revised solution would almost certainly result in a wreck removal and no chance of re-entry to the race.

    Equipment and personnel were mobilized on board the Raphael Fishing charter yacht, “Gryphon,” a 90-foot liveaboard normally used for birding and fly fishing charters to the area.

    24 hours after sailing from Port Louis the team awakened to what any water loving tourist would term paradise – crystal clear water, white sand, coral reef, teeming sea life, birds so unaccustomed to man that you could walk right up to them on their nests with their chicks without them taking flight.

    On the horizon in the distance you could make out the tilted silhouette of the stranded “Vestas Wind”

    Shortly after arrival, the true might of Raphael Fishing became evident when a flotilla of 6m skiffs manned by a strong team of local fishermen, arrived alongside the Gryphon and it was a matter of minutes before the first team consisting of Neil Scott-Williams, Neil Cox, Chris Nicholson and MTD Surveyor, James Hammond were on their way to the casualty to make the tough decisions and sense test weeks of joint deliberation. Close behind them followed the balance of the team and first wave of equipment.

    At first inspection it was noted that the entire starboard quarter was missing from the transom through to the forward keel bulkhead but Plan A seemed very feasible and the teams kicked into immediate action with Subtech/Svitzer tackling the keel and re-establishment of watertight integrity of the hull, Team Vestas preparing deck equipment and rigging and Raphael Fishing supporting all activities through their team of able and willing mariners lead by the indomitable Julien Merven.






    Very quickly it became apparent that the operation would be very tidally dependent with the teams unable to work over the high tide. Equipment was nevertheless set up and the primary operation of cutting the keel tested. Due to the difficulty in cutting forged tool steel, Subtech/ Svitzer elected to use Broco thermic lances and from the first strike it was apparent that it was the right decision. Using the remainder of the tidal window, all systems were tested and proven functional before the team demobilized for the high tide.

    During the next 2 low tides the keel was cut 80%, a 4 point anchor spread established, cross hauls on the mast established to create stability during the cut, buoyancy introduced to the missing starboard quarter and internal bulkheads re-established to allow maximum buoyancy. We were doing well.

    On the next high tide, lunch was disturbed by a radio call to say the vessel was moving and that the scaffold work platforms were being threatened. Teams jumped into action and on arrival found the tide to be significantly higher that expected and that the vessel had indeed moved about 3m but that the 4 point mooring was holding strong and true. She was safe but it was clear that on the following low tide we had to refloat and that included completing the keel cut, lowering the mast and rigging and ensuring she was ballasted correctly and watertight, it was going to be a long shift working late into the night, not ideal.

    Once again, only exceptional effort and competence of all parties involved ensured that by the turn of the tide, all was ready for the refloat. Now as any salvor knows, when working to beat a tide it seems to come in like lighting, but when waiting for the tide, it seems not to move. With all tasks complete, the waiting started.

    We all expected some dramatic banging on the reef as the waves started to roll in, but nothing, just gentle movement. Morgan decided to come up on the stern line and pay out on the bow and all of a sudden we were moving. In the pitch black of a moonless night, all hands were required to navigate the yacht between the exposed coral heads all around. But within a couple of hours we were floating safely in calm water out of the reach of the breaking waves. Perfect trim and shallow draft… more good luck than good judgement but making for a very happy salvage team.

    Once again, a 4 point anchor system was established and the yacht secured for the remainder of the night with a caretaker team looking after her till morning.

    Morning found her floating beautifully where we left her and team mobilized to recover all remaining equipment from the reef including keel, mast and all equipment used for the salvage.

    With the incoming tide, “Vestas Wind was towed out and brought alongside the “Gryphon” out on her anchorage to stand by for the arrival of the “Jula S”

    Not having charts for the area, “Jula S” was concerned about the approach but fortunately the captain of the “Gryphon”, Roger Addisson, was an ex Mauritian Pilot of many years experience in Mauritius and the Cargados Carajos Shoal areas and was able to give reassurance regarding the approach and provide the vessel with the charts enabling them to approach within one mile of the “Gryphon” thereby making the job infinitely easier.

    Once “Jula S” was at anchor, the “Vestas Wind” was towed across by Gabby, Raphael Fishing’s senior man on the islands, and handed over to the vessel. Here, within the space of an hour, through the coordinated efforts of all parties, the “Vestas Wind” was securely lashed in place and the “Jula S” was able to sail, only 15 minutes later than scheduled.

    Not often does an operation run as smoothly as this and one needs to recognize the efforts of all parties mentioned above, meticulous planning and robust negotiation bringing a wide range of contributory skills into play was the main factor but one cannot ignore the one ingredient that so often makes such a big difference to any outcome, Teamwork.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"



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