Saturday, 31 March 2012

Rounding CAPE HORN in Volvo Ocean Race.

GROUPAMA pass CAPE HORN in the 1st place, with PUMA about 1 hour later.
Groupama rounding Cape Horn. 

This point marks a change in sailing from the Pacific into the Atlantic, for the last 2000 Nm to the Itajai Finish.

Azzam - repair inside the Hull

Azzam also suffered structural damage to their boat; that is 4 out of 6 boats with structural damage.
But they followed a inventive repair at sea to safe time and try to make some progress on other boats in the harbours for repairs.

Azzam - repair outside the Hull.

Some strengthening of the Hull that had deliminated, with stiffening materials and some 30 bolts thru the hull.

I must say I like the outside view better.

Telefonica, most likely fearing the on-water repair of Azzam, have change their repair plan and now are looking for a calm bay in one of the islands on Cape Horn to perform the repair also at sea. As they will get some outsiders help, the stop has to be for minimum of 12 hrs.
With this plan, Telefonica most likely will stay ahead of Azzam, who is sailing again but not that fast considering the local winds.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Another casualty from the Pacific Ocean conditions

Telefonica reported already some damage and for sure they were carrying out repair works. They did not reveal the seriousness of the damage as to leave the competition question what it was. But the reduced speed, actually indicated already some serious damage.

Now only Telefonica have admitted they have structural damage to the bow and if not repaired will have a risk of loosing their boat upto Itajai.

So now only 2 out of 6 boats are still sailing without any serious damage that needed outside assistance with repairs for this Leg. This put some questions on the table!

When I would have been running my plant with this reliability record, I would have been sacked long time back; and right the company directors would be.

Some serious reliability talks and design changes are needed to make this Volvo Ocean Race a worthy Adventurers Sailing event again. Now it resembles the story of sending the old limping boat to the seas with the intention to collect the insurance money. It is a shame to put the lives of the seamen at such a high risk.

Monday, 26 March 2012

This is the REAL South Pacific Sailing

Yesterday the leading 4 boats were really enjoying (or frightened?) by the ferocious winds and waves in the Southern Pacific that has made 2 more casualties. 

That leaves only 2 boats on this Leg 5 without serious damage. 
-Groupama is leading the South Pacific race and seems still to be unscaved , apart from some bruises for the crew. Also Groupama reported that they have reduced speed, in order to be able to safeguard the boat to reach Cape Horn safely. 
-Puma is trailing on short 50Nm and seems also still to have been spared serious damage. They are sailing about  same speed as Groupama, but now the wind has reduced to the high 20's , I guess that Puma will try to find a way passed. 
-Azzam, with early damage on a bulkhead have finished the repair alreay and now sailing as a healthy boat. However the repair, made them miss the stormy weather front and they are now trailing the leaders with some 1000 Nm. But with Camper going for repair and some ? on Telefonica, maybe Azzam still has a chance to join the Podium. 

Camper, had earlier some structural damage inside their bow. They slowed down for a repair and started sailing again. However the repair broke also and not the plan is to sail slowly and towards a Chile harbor on the West coast for repairs; estimated for maybe 3 days. 

Telefonica showed a short video, how she was hit by two successive big waves that tossed the crew members around on deck. The boat is pushed far over, but is erecting itself reasonably fast again. 

Telefonica reported some damage on the bow, but without details. Fact is that they have lowered the boatspeed and now trailing Puma with about 100Nm. 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Valhalla of Sailing

Wind conditions at the moment are such that it is the Valhalla for Sailing a Volvo Ocean racing Yacht in the Southern Pacific.

However the dramatic damage to Sanya Lan , has made the other Boats a little more careful. It is not sailing the  fastest, it is most and for all keeping the Boat in one piece. The location of the 4 front runners is almost the most remote place on the Pacific and  in any disaster it would  be very  difficult to get assistance.

So while conditions would allow a 30kts boats speed , the boat has slowed down to around the 20-22 kts and try to maintain a healthy boat and crew and being  able to finish  this leg.

Sanya Lan, has suspended this leg, but will need a major repair and transporting to Itajai, but rather (as their  statement said) Boston to join the fleet for racing again.
A day back the ruder broke, at a location within the hull and also damaging the hull leaving a hole that filled up the aft compartment with 3-4 Mcub of water. Now they are with an emergency steering, on their way back to New Zealand.

A Brazilain friend of mine, mentioned an interesting blog on VORG,  with his last article pointing to the many Friendships that have evolved in the group of Virtual Sailors all over the World; and he is  right.

It is in Portuguese language but a real sailor needs only half a word to understand ; so a Google translate will be able to get the story to you.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Volvo Ocean Race Sailing again

The Beach in  Itajai, Brazil the Finish of Leg 5. 
This is the destination for the Volvo Ocean Fleet in Leg 5. However before the crews can enjoy a relaxing beach holiday, there is a risky and challenging sailing route to overcome. 

The Fleet started Sunday in Auckland and made a nice start circuit in Auckland harbor. Sanya Lan made a flashing start and was ultimately leading the fleet out of the harbor into the Open waters. 

After some hours of sailing, disaster struck Azzam as a huge wave damaged their bulkhead. Being still close to Auckland, with good repair facilities and a long and dangerous route ahead, the crew decided to  suspend racing, and turn around for the  repair. I just read that the repair is finished, 18march 23GMT and Azzam is going to start sailing again. 

The Virtual sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race Game, has started alongside the real boats.Very interesting as now the virtual sailors can battle it out in the same weather patterns , on the same route with about the same sail polars. Let see who will be the first in Itajai. 

Saturday, 17 March 2012

In-Port Race Auckland in Volvo Ocean Race

CAMPER winner of In-Port Race in Home town Auckland 
It was again an exciting and close fought battle between the boats in the narrow harbour of Auckland. Camper, though not the first over the start line, made a quick tack and gained quickly leaders place and did not let it go. 
Behind them Puma and Groupama has a good battle with some positions changes over the race. 
Azzam came in too fast as 4th at end of 2nd leg, the late release of spinnaker gave a lot of problems allowing Sanya Lan and Telefonica to pass. Sanya Lan sailed a nice race and had no problems holding on the 4th place. 

A replay of the live report on Auckland In-Port Race is available. 

SUNDAY 18TH MARCH 2012 01:00 GMT 

START of the LEG 5.  

The circuit for the start of Leg 5; inner harbour and outer harbourTo follow it live be at your screen some 15 minutes before the start, or else pick up the link to a replay in my list of Video's; see TAB above this post. 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Volvo Ocean Race - Auckland In-Port Race

Auckland NZ must enjoy the presence of the Volvo Ocean Race circus!

Today a Sailing Race in Pro-Am style was sailed. Only 5 boats participated as Azzam was doing some inspections and adjustment to the rigging. 

Sanya Lan, the oldest lady in the fleet, had the honor to win this event; pity for her that it does not count for the Overall results. The wind was calm and that may have contributed to Sanya's victory. A video of this Pro-Am Auckland.

Tomorrow, Saturday at 1400 local which is 01:00 in GMT hours, 

The Auckland In-Port race will be sailed. 

 This event can be followed live on the internet, see the links at the Volvo Ocean Race site. The wind forecast promise stronger winds that may make this In-Port as exciting as the one in Sanya. Study the In-Port course map as this is a different course as we have seen before. 

For Virtual Sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race, there is some rest as the player is out "in the dry-docks". It will come back maybe today or tomorrow and then you can start studying the route briefing for Leg 5 and set your heading and sail in anticipation for the Start on Sunday, 01:00 GMT or 14:00 local. 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Volvo Ocean Race Finished in Auckland

Groupama is the proud Winner of this challenging Leg 4 in the Volvo Ocean Race. This Leg 4 started in Sanya, China, where due to a fierce storm there was a short starting circuit before the real staggered start on the next morning in almost windless conditions. 
Groupama finished as Winner VOR Leg 4 in Auckland. 
The  wind returned quickly after the wind-shade of Sanya island was left behind and  a couple of days sailing head on in  strong winds and high  waves was the  result. The route, strangely, did bring the  boats to the NorthEast rather than the SouthEast where the Finish was. Puma sailed the furthest North but it was Groupama that followed quickly and benefited ultimately the most of this northerly-easterly route. 
The Solomon islands, caused a split in the fleet, 3 boats sailed East while the other 3 sails west and in between. The boats converged towards the North Cape Reinga of New Zealand. Groupama has a  nice lead and though a hole in the bow did scare the crew, claimed their first victory in a leg, holding Telefonica form a 4th consecutive leg win. 
Puma could keep a small advantage over Telefonica and finish as runner-up, pushing Telefonica to the 3rd podium place.  
Camper has a good end-sprint but came ultimately 2 mins short on claiming a podium. 
Azzam had some worries but could hold Sanya Lan off to claim the 5th place, while Sanya Lan came in last, be it that she recovered some 250 Nm on the leaders in the last couple of days. 

OK next event will be the In-Port race in Auckland on Saturday 17 March 2012. The Pro-Am race will  be a day before and a day after on 18th March will be the  Start of the Leg 5 to Itajaí.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Volvo Ocean Race Boats are converging

The route followed by the different boats in Leg 4, Sanya to Auckland, has been hardly similar for the different boats in the Volvo Ocean Race. 

In the first part of the Race it was Puma that set off to a Northerly course, that made viewers believe they were heading to Japan, rather than New Zealand. Groupama followed Puma up to a certain extent only to favor the most of the Northerly-Easterly route. 

Half way on approach of the Equator some un-expected windshift occured and made 3 boats decide to sail West or in between the Solomon islands, while the 3 Eastern boats would sail East of the Solomon. This worked out good for Telefonica and Camper on the West but bad for Azzam in the East; the  former two  could cut the distance while winds were reasonable but Azzam had a bad angle to the Solomon SE cliffs, while the decreasing wind strength caught them out. 

Now in the final part of the Leg, south of the Solomon, all boast converge on a route west of New Caledonia. Where the advance of the Eastern boats is dwindling compared to the 2 front Western boats. 

It will be a close battle for the  Podium places till Auckland. Finish is now predicted as on the 10th of March. 

And I just read that the VOR race tracker is changing to a 1 min. update for the last 2 days of the Leg 4, to bring the   excitement of the End-Sprint into Auckland also to your screens.