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Thread: 2017 - 2018 Volvo Ocean Race

  1. #161
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    Major Work Schedule Looms For AkzoNobel

    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].
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  2. #162
    A mad rush for Super Glue at Melbourne hardware stores?

  3. #163
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    Melbourne Within Grasp

    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.


    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
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  4. #164
    Looks like they are going the long way?

  5. #165
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    Dongfeng Attempts To Capture Lead Back

    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.”


    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
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  6. #166
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    Dongfeng Deals With Keel Issues, Christmas Arrival For Leaders

    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.


    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
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  7. #167
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    Satnat Brings MAPFRE A Christmas Win!

    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)
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  8. #168
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    Uphill Slog For AkzoNobel

    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.
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  9. #169
    6 days to haul out and get things sorted and back on the road.

    Gonna be some tired pups on that team!

  10. #170
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    Lush Moves To Injured Reserve, Barkow Gets A Call Up

    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
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