Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Virtual Sailing after VolvoOceanRace.

It was in 2009 the Leg of that VORG from Gothenburg to Stockholm, that I started with Virtual Sailing. 
After that VORG, I did some trials and test and ultimately decided that LiveSkipper was the best virtual Sailing Player for me.
After that time, now some 6 years back, I still sail in LiveSkipper with a lot of pleasure, but hate to say that sailing this years VORG was terrible, as if the time was turned back to the old days. 

LiveSkipper Virtual Sailing Player

In 2009, the LiveSkipper Virtual Sailing Player was already better than the VORG player , but the progress that LiveSkipper made over the last years , did not show in the VORG players. The 2012 VORG player from United Games, was indeed better than the previous one, but this years VORG from VR is worse again, not better even than the 2008 VORG player.

To name just a couple of Advantages of LiveSkipper(LS):
- the LS player uses the complete screen, to offer a very wide and clear view on the sailing routes.
- LS maps show the shorelines clearly in yellow , zooming in upto  pixel accuracy
- LS is free to play, with all options like auto-pilot, auto-sail, Waypoints, scheduler with 4 Marks (for optimal sailing while you sleep)
- LS offers a clear and easy to use polar diagram , see pop-up window in the game.
- LS offers upto 24hrs polar projections, (see the red lines ahead of my boat), that show the distance you can sail with the present sail choice in 3, 6, 9  upto 24 hours in each direction, dynamic taking the wind forecast for the future projection lines. This allows a good view on wind forecast and with the marks  and scheduler a good tool for route optimization.
- LS offers a ruler, that allows you  to set a course, measure distances, check on heading to a  target, indicates sailing time to a target point, show loxodromic and orthodromic shortest distances to a target. 
- the Windforecast goes in steps upto 7 days.
- LS has a very good detailed manual, in the form of LiveSkipper wiki, in 3 languages, French, Spanish and English
- LS has a very active Forum again in the 3 languages, where questions are answered quickly
- LS has a chatroom, which you can even turn into a private chatroom.
- LS has less players, than the previous VORG's, which contributes to better and more enjoyable sailing.

If you have touched on virtual sailing and like to continue it, or you look to start with Virtual Sailing, or when you like to enjoy your Virtual Sailing even more, now is the time to connect to LiveSkipper.
You may contact me here, or in Liveskipper forum or send a PM in LiveSkipper and I will answer your questions and help you to get started.

Fair  Winds. 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

The VolvoOcearnRace 2014-2015 is over, see you ......

Was the last In-Port Race of the VolvoOceanRace 2014-15 nice to see, NO; was it exciting to see , YES.

Brunel leading the VOR fleet in Gothenburg In-Port Race

It was Vestas Wind that made the best start, shortly followed by SCA. It was Brunel that made the worst start of them all (even of all their starts in the VOR 2014-15). Still Brunel won this last In-Port race and Vestas Wind came in last.

Still, I think, that an In-Port race in a narrow water, with shifty and almost no wind, is un-worthy for an Ocean Race event as the VolvoOceanRace. It is not so much the skill of the skippers that decide on winning or loosing in such an event , but more the sudden effects of the winds and the restrictions of the narrow waters where the boats are at that moment. 

Anyway, the Overall classification, was partly decided by this floating show for Mapfre and Alvimedica. Mapfre, was equal on points with Alvimedica and the classification in the In-Port would decide.

Mapfre, made a strategical battle of it, by holding Alvidmedica in control, and allowing Dongfeng to come in between;this was just enough to give the advantage to Mapfre.

Brunel made a bad start, as said, but was at the right time at the right spot and got some wind, that pushed them ahead of all the boats; a shortening of the race course helped in getting over the finish line and take Victory. Brunel did all they could do to pass AbuDhabi in the In-Port classsification, but it was not enough. AbuDhabi managed to end as 6th leaving just Vestas Wind behind them, which brought them the required point difference with Brunel.

So AbuDhabi winner in Overall Legs and in the In-Port races of the VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015. See you in 4 years at the next edition of VOR.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace 2014-15 comes to its last Port: Gothenburg.

The VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015 has finished with the Offshore Legs. However, there is still one In-Port Race to be sailed on Saturday 27 June in the harbour of Gothenburg. The Overall ranking is also finished, apart from those Boats that have equal points, as for those the last In-Port Race is important as the best Boat in the In-Port Race Scoreboard will win from the other. 

Winner in Leg 9

Leg 9 was a split one, as there was a 24+hrs pitstop in The Hague. Alvimedica started first from their pitstop and could maintain their lead, be it that it had shrunk dramatically. Behind the winner were 3 Boats, Brunel, Dongfeng and Maphre, who sailed almost the whole distance from The Hague close together. Maphre who started 2nd sailed first along the Dutch coast, only to change heading and follow Dongfeng into the North sea. This allowed Brunel to close in and even pass Maphre, for sure a move that held. Later on Brunel manage to gain a small lead over Dongfeng and this is how these 3 Boats chasing Alvimedica approaching Gothenburg archipelago with many small islands. Wind calms and patches of winds, made it all very tricky. Dongfeng and Maphre both lost some time on Brunel to round the first buoy, but managed later to close in again as Brunel sailed into a windhole. Later Dongfeng got the same problem which allowed Brunel to escape and finish Leg 9 in 2nd place and Maphre could also pass Dongfeng; Maphre 3 and Dongfeng ultimately 4th . 
Abu Dhabi already sure of enough points for the Overall Win had only to finish; they sailed an easy race mostly alone without dangers. The last pair of boats, Vestas wind and SCA were close together but Vestas Wind cold hold on to their small lead and finish in 6th place with SCA closing the Leg 9 in 7th place. 

AbuDhabi celebrates its Victory in VOR 2014-15

Overall Winner of the VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015 is 
1. AbuDhabi
2. Team Brunel
3. Dongfeng team.  

It is thus a very important In-Port race for Alvimedica and Maphre, who are 2 points apart in the I-P score, 32 resp 34 points. So if Alvimedica stays ahead of Maphre or when behind does not have more than one boat in between, Alvimedica will take 4th place, and Maphre 5th. 

Saturday, 20 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace, pitstop has refreshed the teams for a prolongued End-Sprint to Gothenburg.

The Pitstop in The Hague, did not allow others than the sailing crew to make any repairs or stocking up on the Boas, so they are nicely lined up for the public to have a close look.

VOR Boats lined up in Scheveningen during Pitstop.

This Saturday starting with Alvimedica, the 1st boats to the pits area, will allow the Boats to sail on to the finish in Gothenburg and end the VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015 version, apart from the In-Port race on Saturday next week. 

The other boats will be released in sequence and with intervals matching the arrival in the pitstop area. We will have to see which boats suffered and which benefitted from the pitstop; not in time of re-start of course , but with different winds suddenly a huge advantage in Miles might have halved only.

Also to the North-West of the Netherelands, are a number of exclusion zones, some very long almost reaching to Jutland, Denmark. The navigators will also be very busy to sort out with the windsforecast, which slot between exclusion zones to choose. It could become a short, intense sprint to Gotherburg of about 450 Nm.

Friday, 19 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace 2014-2015 ONE & ONLY Pitstop.

It is a first in this VolvoOceanRace, a Pitstop. During the last Leg from Lorient to Gothenburg a 24+hrs Pitstop has to be made in The Hague, either to give some rest to the tired skippers and sailors or to honor the interest of Volvo in the Netherlands.

Alvimedica, first to make a Pitstop in The Hague
After a tricky first half of Leg 9, there was a large exclusion zone in the Channel, closing about 80% of the water and leaving only small stretches of water on either side close the White British cliffs and the French beaches  Alvimedica won the pitstop.
They will get out as first Boat starting Saturday 20 June from 1000 UTC , following in sequence by the other Boats, with a time interval for starting according to the arrival in the piistop.

Thus Alvimedica gets a nice 2hrs advance for the short stretch left till Gotherburg, and have a fair chance for Victory in this last Leg 9.

If there are no further changes in the order, it will be a very close call for the 2nd Overall postition.

Now, if the standings in Gothenburg are as in the pitstop:
1. AbuDhabi        -19 points with 5  brings 24 points  - winner Overall
2. Brunel            -27 points with 4 brings 31 points   - (depend on In-Port )
3. Dongfeng        -29 pionts with 2 brings 31 points   -(Brunel<>Dongfeng)
4. Maphre           -31 points with 3 brings 34 points   - (depend on In-Port)
5. Alvimedica       -33 points with 1 brings 34 points  - (Maphre<>Alvimedica)
6. SCA                -44 points with 7 brings 51 points   - 6th
7. Vestas             -54 points with 6 brings 60 points  - 7th

Now in the In-Port races , Brunel is 5 points ahead of Dongfeng, so a finish for Brunel as 5th will put Brunel on the 2nd place Overall.

Between the other two, Alvimedica is 2 points ahead of Maphre, so has to stay ahead of Maphre or allow Maphre just be in front of them, to secure the 4th place Overall.

The final Gothenburg In-Port race will be sailed on Saturday 27 June. 

See how important the results from the In-Port race can become.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace final LEG 9 well on its way to Gothenburg.

The final LEG 9 in the VolvoOceanRace started with a fierce battle in the waters of Lorient. Boats were clearly fighting for the starting positions once entering the Open Waters, as wind forecast was promising some difficulties in passing other boats.
Team Brunel sailed a master race and was clearly the winner to start the race in the big waters. Indeed they could hold the lead till the entrance to the Channel.
There Alvimedica, sailed a slightly different course, cutting right to the French coast and gaining the lead.  After that they could only extend their lead and Brunel was falling to forth place, enough to loose their potential 2nd Podium place.
VOR fleet split on the Channel exclusion zone going into the North Sea

This Leg has put too many exclusion zones in, such that the narrow waters of the Strait of Dover, has been forbidden for aobut 80% and only a 10% strip of water on either side is available for the VOR fleet.
However, this brings some challenges to the teams, as the channel exclusion zone, stretches from Caen to Rotterdam and allows no crossing once a side has been choosen and entered. 
In the image above , you can see 3 boats north and 4 boats south in the Channel. So I guess that the differences are not felt too big and some might expect the best of the Northern approach and some the Southern .

We will have to wait till the Boats reach the pit lane in front of The Hague, as the fleet will come together there again for a day rest in this short leg.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace , starts today Tuesday the last Leg 9.

The VolvoOceanRace is starting Today, Tuesday 16th June 2015 it last Leg 9 from Lorient, France to Gothenburg, Sweden;with a pitstop at the coast of The Hague, Netherlands. The starters gun will sound at 1500 UTC.

The 7 Boats will first sail the parcours shown in the image below before selecting the best heading and sail to go fastest to Gotherburg.

Lorient Starters parcours for Leg 9.
The starter parcour sailing will be broadcasted on the Internet, so for each Globe trotter to see. Youtube will have a recorder to see it later.

The Boats will have a pitstop at a location just outside the coast of The Hague. Each boat will stop at the pit lane, the arrival times will be recorded and at Saturday 20th June from 10:00 UTC onwards, the boats will start in sequence of arrival in the pit with a delay that is equal to the difference in arrival time; navigators just take care that wind patterns will be changed in those 24+ hrs. I will see this for the first time and wonder what impact it will have on the standings.

AbuDhabi, has already the points in hand to win, but I understand they have to finish and of course not collect any penalty points. The 2nd--5th placed on the Scoreboard are just 6 points apart, to a fierce battle is expected between Brunel, Dongfeng, Maphre, Alvimedica, as each still has a chance for the 2 and 3rd Podium places.

Friday, 12 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace , the penultimate Lorient In-Port Race

The penultimate In-Port Race in the VolvoOceanRace will be on Sunday 14 June at 1200 UTC. While the points do not count this year in the Overall VOR classification, the standing will be important for those Boats that scored equal points in the Overall VOR races.

Parcours Lorient In-Port Race
And before Leg 8, there were 2 boat-pairs on equal point. We may expect thus a fierce battle in the waters just off the Lorient coast. The parcour is like the image above shows.

Don't miss, it and if you can't be in Lorient, you can watch it live on the internet, via the VOR website or in Youtube.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

SCA glorious Victory in VolvoOceanRace Leg 8

The boys were chasing the girls for the last couple of days, but the Girls were too fast for them all. SCA took Victory in Lorient on Leg 8 in the VolvoOceanRace with a comfortable lead.

SCA's last Miles before taking the win.

SCA took the lead already in the first night of this Leg. In front of the Portuguese coast with weak  variable winds, they found the best winds and run away never to be approached again.The 2nd day , SCA could extend their lead and in the stormy Gulf of Bisque, they sailed a perfect strategy, with never gave any change to close in , let alone pass the girls. A well deserved win.

Second came Vestas Wind, after a 6 months rest, where their boat, which they wrecked on some coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. They must be happy, that their new navigator could avoid the corals reefs, there are  not too many around Portugal though. 

Third AbuDhabi and very important with a boat between them and their nearest rivals. The points in the Overall ranking are beyond reach for the other boats, so they just have to sail and finish the last Leg 9.

Brunel, made a good last day of sailing, with passages of first Dongfeng and later Alvimedica in the final miles in a tight battle.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

VolvoOceanRace Leg 8 is on its way.

Saturday, 6th June, started the activities towards Leg 8 , Lisbon to Lorient, France, with a Lisbon In-Port Race with the full number of Boat; Vestas Wind is ready after a repair and able to sail again. [Vesta wind, made a small navigational error and landed on some reefs just North of Mauritius, the boat damaged that much that a 6 month repair campaign was required].

The Lisbon In-Port race was held in reasonable winds, be it that there were some un-expected shifts that either helped some of the Boats or pulled them back in the ranking. Maphre made a good start and actually was not in danger anymore, be it that they had to make some crucial moves to stay ahead of AbuDhabi and Alvimedica; it is thought that the extensive training of Alvimedica in Lisbon waters will have helped them with some local knowledge on winds, wind-shift and the currents from tide and the river.  
It was a very, lets say too close, finish between SCA and Vestas Wind. The later being in un-favorable position, tried to force themselves in between the buoy and SCA, which was not possible. Vestas Wind touched the buoy and came close to SCA, but got a penalty for unsafe sailing and had to to around; this lost them 2 places and on the last place. 

Ranking Lisbon In-Port 
1 Maphre
2 AbuDhabi
3 Alvimedica
5 Brunel 
6 Dongfeng
7 Vesta Wind

On Sunday, Leg 8 started with a Lisbon parcours under the bridge. Again Maphre made a good start and was leading the fleet till the turning point, landinwards of the bridge.By this time the wind collapsed and the currents came in. Maphre was taken by the currents and at a time got further and further away from the mark.  The fleet compressed to set sail to open waters. Midway a sudden windshift, forced all boats to make some heading changes.
Team Brunel, 1st Boat to leave Lisbon for Leg 8 to Lorient

 Brunel resolved this the best and they were the winners of the Leg 8 starting parcour race , setting sail as first into the open waters.  

Friday, 5 June 2015

Lisbon In-Port Race in VolvoOceanRace, will there be good wind?

Last version of the VolvoOceanRace had weak winds during the Lisbon In-Port Race, will tomorrow be any different? Lets hope that winds are good and that a fierce battle can be fought on the Tagus river. 

The Start is at  13:00 UTC Saturday 6th June 2015.

If you are not in Lisbon, you still can enjoy the live spectacle via internet, either on Youtube or the VOR website. 

A day later, the VOR fleet, complete this time with Boats Vestas wind back in the race, at the time Leg 8 to Lorient will start.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Tricky wind conditions bring some surprises on the Lisbon Podium.

In the early hours today, Wednesday 27th May, the VolvoOceanRace fleet finished in Lisbon on Leg 7 from Newport. 

Team Brunel takes Victory in Leg 7 in the early in Lisbon

The Finish is in the mouth of the river Tajo and is known for its wind holes and currents. Well this time it is hardly any better as last VOR version. 

Well the first boats arriving came at the moment of tide change with a new tide coming in, helping the boats to the finish; that of course is welcome.
Team Brunel , the 1st Boat to enter the river, sailed into weaker winds and saw Maphre closing in. Bouwe must have been sweating, such a good sailing over the last days, and a comfortable lead coming into the Portuguese waters, would it then still be possible to loose.
Shortly after Maphre was also struck by light winds and distance of 1.5 Nm was hardly changing. 
Luckily the wind picked up some 2 Nm before the finish and ultimately Team Brunel could take Victory with a comfortable lead. 
Maphre took 2nd place. 
Dongfeng, earlier was sailing further of shore and somewhere got stuck in a wind hold for a very long time, even to the extend that Alvimedica could pass them. A very tight battle evolved with boats making tacks in boat-lengths of each other. Dongfeng pushing Alvimedica into tacks and disaster struck. Alvimedica made a wrong tack, it took a long time and Dongfeng was about to pass. But luck came back to Alvimedica, as Dongfeng made a similar mistake in a tack, but took far more time to correct it. Alvimedica, took 3rd with ease and Dongfeng renegated to 4th arrival.
AbuDhabi, entered the bay just ahead of Alvimedica, but choose also more of-shore route. This brought them in bad winds and they could only manage to stay ahead of SCA, who closed in rapidly but were too far out for a passage of Abu Dhabi.

Next event is the In-Port race in Lisbon, which could show similar wind situations. This is on Saturday 6th June and can be followed live on internet, via the VOR website or Youtube.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

VolvoOceanRace well on its way to Europe.

After an interesting starting circuit, sailed in a nice breeze in Newport waters, the Boats in the VolvoOceanRace are well on their way to Europe, with Lisbon as the Finish location.

VOR Boats in Leg 7 approaching the ice exclusion zone.
Normally the route would be an orthodromic circle from Newport to Lisbon, but so far the Boats are restricted in their route choice by exclusion zones and a rather far southwards stretching ice exclusion zone; see the blueish lines and dot in the image.
This to prevent collisions with possible ice bergs.

After this the route is open, and will have to take account of the Azoren High, that will dominate the eastern Atlantic route.

At this moment, Team Brunel has a nice lead, and approaching as most southerly boat in a South-West wind will  give them a good lead at the passage of the ice-exclusion zone; the differences are still small though with separation of 18Nm. Whether they will be able to hold their lead to Lisbon, is another matter of course.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

In-Port Race winners as many as the Boats in the VolvoOceanRace.

The Newport In-Port Race was won by Maphre, their 1st win. By now each of the Boats, (except Vestas who has a damaged boat) have won at least one In-Port race; for sure a signal how close the Boats are matching and the teams are not that far apart as well. 

Maphre wins Newport In-Port Race
Maphre was reigning this In-Port race with no real contenders for Victory. This is far better than some earlier I-P's where Maphre was struggling and showed a need for extra training of the crew in sail/boat handling. Proven now is that the crew has improved dramatically and this could help Maphre also to jump on the Podium for the Overall. 

Sunday 17th May will be the start of the Leg 7 Newport to Lisbon, the last Ocean crossing in this version of the VolvoOceanRace. I have read the preview of Mark Chisnell on the expected weather systems. It looks like the weather is not following the normal pattern, of a East moving depression taking the Boats with it to Europe. So this Leg could be the Leg of surprises, or not.

Friday, 15 May 2015

VolvoOceanRace continues with Newport In-Port Race

After a relatively short stop in Newport the VolvoOceanRace continues with the Newport In-Port race on Saturday 16 May at 1800 UTC.

Parcours Newport In-Port race
As normal, this In-Port race can be viewed live via the Internet on Youtube and the VOR website.

Lets hope that there will be better winds as in Itajai, where it was more a flotilla than a sailing race. 

A day later Sunday the VOR fleet will start Leg 7 towards Lisbon, Portugal for a final crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Dongfeng recovers with a Victory in Leg 6 Newport.

In the dark hours of Wednesday evening, Dongfeng won the 6th Leg of the VolvoOceanRace with some 3 mins over AbuDhabi. 

Dongfeng winner Leg 6 m just before Newport

Dongfeng sailed cleverly to a victorious end of this leg, taking the lead some days back around Bermuda and keeping good control on all Boats in the fleet, even during the many wind-shifts and calms. Great work and  Dongfeng have proven, after loosing their mast in the previous Leg, that they are a Great Sailing team.

The results for Leg 6 are: 

1. Dongfeng Race Team, 17d,9hrs,3min,0sec
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 17d,9hrs,6min,25sec
3. Team Brunel, 17d,9hrs,56min,40sec
4. MAPFRE, 17d,10hrs,34min,25sec
5. Team Alvimedica, 17d,14hrs,24min,1secsh
6. Team SCA, 17d,20hrs,59min,8sec.

In the Overall Ranking, it is still AbuDhabi that holds a comfortable lead, but still has not won it all. 

Next event will be the Newport In-Port race on Saturday 16th May and the Start of Leg 7 to Lisbon on Sunday 17th May.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Itajai, Brazilian Sailing City without wind.

Though Itajai, is a famous City in Brazil, known for its sailing interest, this Volvooceanrace version, was left without proper wind for sailing.

Floating during Itajai In-Port race

The In-Port Race was sailed, though it was more a floating event , than a sailing event. Ultimately Team Brunel drifted as first over the finish  line of a shortened parcours. This brought Brunel, its 1e I-P victory.

The start of Leg6, Itajai to Newport, was almost worse, with little or no wind, especially close to shore. It was therefore good that the 1e buoy, was also declared to last buoy and the Boats let loose on the Atlantic.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

VolvoOceanRace Boats struggling to stay ahead of the LiveSkipper Boats.

A group of enthusiast virtual sailors is sailing in LiveSkipper the Leg 6 route alongside, (or maybe ahead off ? ) the VolvoOceanRace Boats.
Have a look at the video below, also on Youtube.

The blue Boats and tracks are the LiveSkipper Boats and the red Boats and tracks are the VO65 Boats.
Initially is seems the new VO65 Boats are faster, but then the LiveSkipper skippers, sailing the Imoca 60 boat, prefer the Brazilian coastal route and till now are keeping up their good progress.

If you like to follow up on how this ends up in the Finishing city of Newport, USA, you may visit my blog every now and then. You may also scroll through the TAB's above for some interesting information, some of which is regularly updated.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

VolvoOceanRace continues Saturday from Itajai, Brazil.

With a good numbers of days of rest in Itajai, the sailing starts again with the Itajai In-Port Race on Saturday 18th April 2015 starting at 17:00 UTC. So lets see how fit the sailors are after their restdays, or whether they were to much dancing the samba and drinking the fantastic caipirinha's  =:)

Itajai In-Port race Start 17:00 UTC             

 Will SCA again be able to go for Victory, like they did already 2 times? The parcours is quite simple and the length depends on the strength of the wind, whether they sail the short/medium/long route. 

You will be able to see it live, on the VOR website and Youtube, VOR channel.

Monday, 6 April 2015

AbuDhabi takes Victory in Itajai,Brazil.

Abu Dhabi Boat finished firsts in Leg 5 in Itajai,Brazil. This Leg5 through the Southern Ocean, is said to be the real VOR sailing route and of course AbuDhabi skipper and sailors are happy to have won this one.

AbuDhabi wins 2nd Leg in Itajai
It did not come automatic , though. Last version of VOR, the AbuDhabi boat was hit by serious structural damage, that needed extensive repairs. This time, they got through without real problems, not so for Dongfeng , who brokes their mast though. Also SCA, damaged their optimum sail for Southern Ocean sailing and therefore could only see the other boats disappear on the horizon.
This version , however, is not that damaging as former VOR Leg5, where 6 out of 7 boats had serious damage;I think we have to thank the VO65 boat builders for making a proper Ocean going yacht.

In the last part of this leg, the differences between the first 4 boats were very small, extreme small if you consider a 6000 Nm race over the Southern Ocean.

Abu Dhabi has extended her lead with this Victory and becomes a strong contender for the Overall Win.

Arrivals in Leg 5:
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
FinishedElapsed time: 018d 23h 30m 10s
FinishedElapsed time: 019d 00h 02m 56s
Team Alvimedica
FinishedElapsed time: 019d 00h 24m 32s
Team Brunel
FinishedElapsed time: 019d 00h 25m 48s

For the Scoreboard please see the TAB Scoreboard above.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Leaders VolvoOceanRace passed Cape Horn

Cape Horn is an isolated, empty rock far away from the where people live a comfortable live. Still this Cape indicates for most sailors a kind of releave from the normally harsh sailing conditions in the Southern Ocean, not that the Atlantic cannot be threatening , but still....

Yesterday in a period of 1.5 hrs, the 4 leading Boats , Alvimedica, AbuDhabi, Maphre and Brunel passed Cape Horn and now sailing in the Atlantic.
Dongfeng broke the top of their mast the night before and has to seek shelter via the Beagle channel in Ushuiai, and has to consider what to do next.
SCA has lost thier Fractional Code 0, FR0, the most important sail in the conditions they "enjoy" in the approach to Cape Horn and are loosing pace with the front runners, on top of that a storm front is approaching them that will bring heavy winds and large waves.

Still , this VOR 2014-15 shows far less damages to the Boats as the former VOR, where 5 out of 6 boats had heavy structural damage and needed some repairs before sailing on to Itajai. The VO65 Boat looks a lot better seaworthy than the fragile VO70 boats.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Dancing on the right side of the Ice-Gate

As expected, the real Sailing conditions for a VolvoOceanRace have come. In the Southern Pacific, strong winds from fast moving Easterly depressions with the accompanying state of waves are the elements that the VolvoOceanRace new VO65 Boats are sailing in.
Departing from Auckland some days delayed because of the strong Cyclone PAM, the Boats lost contact with Pam, but other depressions (weaker and without a name ) came and helped the Boats sail fast to the East. Some days back there were the Northerly and Southerly options open. All boats choose the southerly one, while me in my virtual boat in LiveSkipper, choose the northerly one. Over the last 3 days, I sailed the same easterly distance as the VOR boats in the last 4 days; only my problem will come if I can not find the winds that help me go South to round Cape Horn. See the daily progress in the TAB Progress Map above.

VOR route in Leg 5 forced by Ice-Gate
The Ice-Gate, a very long one this leg and in a very much Northerly latitude, is there to prevent collisions with Ice-bergs; it is no fun to collide with a Boatspeed of 20+ kts against a big Ice-berg. This has prevented the Boats to sail a most of the time favorite southerly route; west of the Ice-gate the Boats sailed also a higher altitude though.

image of fleet: 1 Brunel,2AbuDhabi,3Maphre,4Alvimedica,5Dongfeng,6SCA, just North of the Ice-Gate

Brunel had (again) build a nice lead, but with some gybes in between the depressions, lost that and now 3 Boats are  compressed within a distance of just 1.1 Nm.[26 March, 07:00 gmt]. Dongfeng has lost contact with the front 4 boats and SCA had some damage after their Chinese gybe, which might have contributed to their 100+ Nm backdrop.

Ahead is a tricky wind situation, and with the leaders that close several boats can be first to round Cape Horn. After Cape Horn, there again will wait a challenging route to Itajai, as the winds East of Argentina can be variable, strong or weak and depending on the St.Helena High come from the North or South.
So by no means, will be first boat to pass Cape Horn, be the boat to take the Leg 5 Victory!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Skippers in the VolvoOceanRace grow one day younger.

The Boats in the VolvoOceanRace have left the New Zealand waters and are now sailing in the Open Waters of the  Pacific. Not hindered by landmasses, apart from a tiny island here and there, they now can choose their own strategically fastest route to Cape Horn, the next target. 

Today all VOR Skippers will grow 1 day younger, as they pass the date-line on longitude 180, where the East coordinates switch to the West coordinates and the date is decreased by one. Read on this phenomena in the book: Around the World in Eighty Days (Jules Verne), and the adventures of Phileas Fogg.

Normally the best is to sail as far South as possible, as the distance to the Cape Horn will be less; check it out by the orthodromic circle: the shortest distance between 2 points on our globe.

However, it will depend also on the ice-gate, put by the VOR organisation to prevent accidents with growlers and ice-bergs and of course some depressions. Normally depressions with high winds move from West to East and if you can hook one  a fast tow will bring you some advantage.

Do follow the progress of the fleet in my daily updates progress chart, see also TAB above.

For some insight in the strategics do read the blog from Mark Chisnell. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Ladies take the Victory in Auckland, NZ.

SCA, the all Ladies Sailing Team, have won the In-Port Sailing Race in Auckland. CONGRATULATIONS!
This was already their 2nd win in an In-Port Race, the most of all Teams.

SCA wins Auckland In-Port Race
SCA has a good start, but Maphre as well, only SCA choose a better route in the 1st leg, such they were leading the fleet at the first turning mark. From there it was a run race for SCA as none of the competition came close enough for a passage. Only Team Brunel, came close to them under the bridge, but were never a real threat for the 2nd Victory of SCA in an In-Port race.

Lets  hope this will give some boost to the ladies that helps to improve on the results in the next Legs as well.

Big Q. now is: When will Leg 5, from Auckland to Itajai, actually start?

The original start date, 15th March, is postponed because of the cat. 5 Cylone PAM that has devastated the Vanuatu islands and now on its way to close east of Auckland. The present thoughts are that a start could be possible between earliest Tuesday evening till Wednesday midday , local time.

Keep an eye on my blog, as I will try to stay alert to warn you, or check out the VOR website.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

VolvoOceanRace to Start Auckland In-Port Race on Saturday

After some days of rest for the crew and no doubt some maintenance for the Sailing Boats, this Saturday 14th March at 01:00 UTC (14:00 local) the Auckland In-Port race will start.

Parcours for Auckland In-Port Race
As before, You can watch the I-P race live on the internet, via the VOR website or Youtube, VOR channel.

If the timing is not convenient for you, than later you can watch it as well, see the link in my Video page (TAB above)

A day later, [due to a cyclone developing the start of Leg 5 is postponed, possible to Monday 1th 01:00 UTC or even later] the VOR fleet will start the Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil. A new post will give you some more information on that one.

Please be aware that you can apart from following the VO65 Boats, also actively participate in the VOR race in several Virtual Sailing site, e.g. LiveSkipper, VR 

Saturday, 28 February 2015

VolvoOceanRace Finish in Auckland nearing

With some 6 hrs of Sailing to reach the Finish, there are some 3 serious contenders, Mapfre, AbuDhabi and Dongfeng in this order with some 2.3 Nm spread only. Some small islands in the route to the Finish and maybe some wind-shifts, or wind shadows, it will be a nail biting approach where each of the 3 Boats have a chance for Victory.

snapshot with bird eye at 28Feb 06:45 UTC

Team Alvimedica is a little too far behind to make a jump on the Podium maybe, but you never know>

The Big looser in the Leg4 from Sanya to Auckland is Team Brunel. Having made (with SCA) a heroic diversion in the begin that brought them a lead of about 100Nm at one time, they lost it in the end; maybe because of a wrong rain-cloud as we will hear on the de-briefing.

To see the finish around 0830 UTC or a little earlier or later, you may check the VOR website for a live video broadcast.

Fair winds and Safe Sailing

Friday, 20 February 2015

VolvoOceanRace in slow down

By now the Boats of the VolvoOceanRace sailing in Leg 4 from Sanya to Auckland, will have reached the Doldrums; an area normally just North of the Equator with weak,and most of all variable winds with squalls generated by thunderstorms and rain clouds.

Team Brunel is leading the fleet with about 25 Nm this morning , but in the dangerous area for sailing races one wrong judgement can reverse the lead quick to the next boat.
Further on the route to Auckland, there will be more challenging wind systems to overcome. Next important point is to pass East from the Solomon islands.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

VolvoOceanRace gets very interesting

After the Start of Leg 4 in Sanya it was a little monotonous considering that all Boats sailed almost straight East to the Phillipines to the Luzon straits mark.
Some boats a little faster to the south and some stayed a little more windward at the cost of speed.

Some interesting startegies
Just before the Phillipines, however, SCA and Brunel, suddenly headed almost dead North while the other boats continued straight to the East.

Suddenly , I remembered the bold strategy from Puma in the last edition of the VOR 2011-12: explaining on video, "We have to sail to Auckland, pointing South, but we are sailing North, pointing the opposite direction ? "

Brunel and SCA apparently have seen some favorable winds , coming from the North that will give the northerly boat a speed boost , maybe large enough to let them sail the extra miles at higher speeds to pass the Luzon strait boats.

Risky move, but last time Puma, got 2nd, only to have Groupama got the vicotry in Auckland at the cost of their bow; sailed their boat over the limits and damaged their bow to the extend that they almost got shipwrecked before the finish.

A day later, now, I see that the other boats have followed and now it will be a question as to have Brunel and SCA gained already enough to be able to pass the other boats, who made a clever defending turn.

Lets see in a couple of days what will develop as the winds may also have some unforeseen tricks.

Monday, 9 February 2015

VolvoOceanRace, Leg 4..........Auckland here we come.

Yesterday the six Boats in the VolvoOceanRace started Leg 4 from Sanya to Auckland with sailing along a starters circuit.
Guan Lin wishing the Sailor "Fair Winds"
The last buoy to round, was very close to the huge statue named Guan Lin. With a smile on her face, she wished the sailors "fair winds" and "safe sailing".

Team Brunel managed after many lead changes to round the last buoy as leader and set sail to the first Mark in the Luzon straits , Phillipines. 
This will be an upwind stretch of water, where counter currents can cause chopping waves. After the Phillipines it is into the big open Pacific and avoiding later the many tiny islands. It is a long leg, and with the doldrums, risks of cyclones and tradewinds , it has all gradients for an exciting leg.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

VolvoOceanRace Leg 4 Start , Today.

Yesterday, Saturday, was the exciting Sanya In-Port Race and Today, Sunday 8th February will be the Start of the VolvoOceanRace Leg 4, from Sanya to Auckland, New-Zealand. Starting time will be 0600 UTC and we expect a live-report on VOR web-site and Youtube.

View on Sanya coast during the In-Port Race
A good wind , be it variable with sometimes some tricky shifts that made it all more interesting for viewers but maybe not for the sailors loosing advtanage.
SCA and Alvimedica made a flashing start, and while Alvimedica could benefit from this in rounding the firsts buoys in the lead, the ladies on SCA got going to the land side entangled in some weaker winds and saw some other boats passing. Maphre had a very poor start and never recovered. 
Dongfent made a surprising tack arond the 2nd buoy to stay on the sea side of the parcours and gained a lot on AbuDhabi and Brunel and this ,in my opinoin, was their crucial move to bring Victoriy in this Sanya In-Port home. AbuDhabi fought a steady race and got to the 2nd place but was not really a threat to Dongfeng. Brunel and Alvimedica fought it out for the last Podium place. Brunel on the 4th leg, went too far out to sea and lost grond to Alvimedica, who later could maintain there Podium. SCA sailed niceley to a 5th place.

Fair wind to the 6 Crews on the long Leg to Auckland, crossing the Doldrums and many tiny islands  on route, with chances on calm but also stormy winds. 
And lets not forget the many thousands of  virtual sailors in LiveSkipper and VR that will sail alongside their heroes and try to beat them.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Virtual Sailing with LiveSkipper

Virtual Sailing Simulators have become popular over the last years. Not without the help  of the VolvoOceanRace that offered long time already a Sailing Simulator that mirrored the course of the Real Boats. These virtual sailing simulators do use the real local wind data that is refreshed mostly each 6 hrs, to reflect as close as possible the real actual winds as the VO65 Boats. So if you manage to stay close to the real Boats, you feel almost the challenges, efforts and dangers of the sailors in the VOR, but from the comfort of your armchair and computer screen. 

During last VOR edition, I made a comparison of some virtual sailing players available; the link is also in the TAB "Virtual Sailing Game" above. And though it is old, the main conclusions still hold.

I do prefer by far LiveSkipper , which is a modern free Virtual Sailing Simulator, with a lot of tools, like scheduler, auto-sail, auto-pilot, polar projections and a very informative ruler to optimize your sailing plan. The player that is now used in the official VOR game is from VR, and is somewhat old-fashioned already; some judge its capabilities even below the former VOR game from United Games.

Any way , you may try it out yourself, it is a simple registration and all fro FREE. 

Below is a video of the Liveskipper 9Pack race that happens to finish as well in Sanya, =:)

Enoy while waiting for the Live video of the Sanya In-Port Race

Friday, 6 February 2015

VolvoOceanrace Prepares for Sanya In-Port Race.

Tomorrow, Saturday 7 February 2015 at 14:00 hrs Local time, that translate to 06:00 UTC, the Start shot will sound for the Sanya In-Port Race. 

Six VO65 Boats will start on a narrow circuit and taking the wind as it comes, try to win this sailing race. 
Last time, I remember, that it was very tricky on the water with variable winds , weak also and some windholes that stalled the leading boats, to give the chasing boats the chance to sail around that windhole. 
Could it again be such wind condition, well I guess you will have to watch, either on the quay or via the internet either the VOR website or Youtube.   

A view on the In-Port circuit, depending on wind strength the circuit will be sailed once or twice, 

Sanya In-Port race circuit.

On Sunday, the VOR fleet will continue with the Start of Leg4 to Auckland, New-Zealand.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

DONGFENG takes Victory in Hometown.

DONGFENG takes Victory in Sanya, China, for the Leg 3 in VolvoOceanRace. It is a well desireved Victory for this young team , who lead most of the Leg 3 route.

DONGFENG on her way to the Finish in Sanya.
By virtue of this Win, Dongfeng is now also Leader in the Overall Ranking for the VOR. It was a sweat home-coming and always is nicest to win in your hometown.

Dongfeng has sailed a superb Leg3, with taking the lead in the Indian Ocean and slowly but steady extending their lead. The route had some moments with the harmonica effect, inside the Strait of Malacca , which must have boosted the nerves of the Dongfeng sailors, but by not making major mistakes, they kept the lead and brought it home.

The complete ranking for the Leg 3 arrivals is here:

Dongfeng Race Team
, Sailing time23d 13h 31m 38s

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
,sailing time23d 16h 50m 30s
Team Alvimedica,               SAiling time23d 17h 51m 15s

MAPFRE,                            SAiling time23d 18h 23m 20s

Team Brunel,                     SAiling time23d 18h 23m 20s

Team SCA,                        SAiling time24d 02h 41m 45s

 The TAB SCORECARD above will bring You to the scorecards.

Next event is the Sanya In-Port Race on Saturday 7th February.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Dongfeng now "out of reach" in Malacca Straits.

Dongfeng entered the Malacca straits with an 100+ Nm advantage , and I think they will leave the same strait will about the same advantage.

Dongfeng will lead the VOR fleet to Singapore.
The Malacca straits is known by sailors for its variable and weak winds, and other dangers as busy shipping lanes and fishing boats and more even fishing nets. 
Dongfeng, had their divers 2 times down, to remove rubbish from their keel, but managed it well, while never loosing their lead. 

The VOR fleet compacted in the middle of the strait, where Dongfeng's advantage reduced to just over 20Nm, skyrocketing their nerves. But while the other boats were approaching the region of calm winds, Dongfeng was about the leave it. Since then, their advantage has grown again till 80 Nm at this moment. With a narrow navigation channel due to exclusion zones and a steady NE breeze towards Singapore, I don't see any options for the other boats to catch let alone pass Dongfeng before Singapore. 

The battle for the 2nd --> 5th place is more interesting, as those 4 boats are separated by only 3Nm.
The Boats that passes Singapore in the lead , will have a very good chance to take the Victory to Sanya, China.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Dongfeng has escaped the VolvoOceanRace fleet.

An intermediate sprint in the Indian Ocean has given Dongfeng a comfortable lead of 65+Nm. 

Dongfeng in the Lead towards Banda Aceh mark, 15Jan 0900utc.
Last Day it looks like that Dongfeng had escaped from a region of weak winds, and closed the door behind them. Just before a major wind-shift, that forced all other boats to sail North, while Dongfeng was nicely sailing to the East where the next mark waits.  This gained them a large advance and with very weak winds, contrary to a strong NE monsoon wind, it is not likely that the following boats will pass them before the Banda Aceh mark that marks the often unsettled sailing through the Mallaca straits, contrary I foresee that Dongfeng will extend their lead in coming days. 

Dongfeng has now already for over a week the lead in the fleet that rounded the Southern tip of India where the fleet compacted.But as Dongfeng kept a lead, be it small, they benefitted as first of better winds and extended their lead again. This harmonica effect repeated itself at SriLanka mark, caused by the windshadow of the S.L. mountains and surprisingly repeated itself again in the middle between Sri Lanka and Sumatra; most likely the fleet will compact again in the Mallaca strait.

Dongfeng might initially not have been the favorite Boat, but with this strong sailing in Leg 3 (and lets not forget their good performance during the Leg 1 and Leg 2) , by now each sailor in or following the VolvoOceanRace is aware that Dongfeng is a strong contender in the race for the Victory in Stockholm.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

VolvoOceanRace Leg 3 has started

Where the wind was lacking during the In-Port race, the mist was hindering the sight during the Start of Leg 3 in AbuDhabi.
Ian Walker, whether he called for the mist, but for sure with his local knowledge, he benefited the most during the firsts Leg.  He rounded the buoy with a comfortable lead and stayed  ahead till the Boats sailed through the start-gate into the Gulf towards Sanya, China.

A compacted VOR Fleet through the Strait of Hormuz

During the night with calm reaching winds, AbuDhabi kept their lead, followed by Dongfeng and Brunel managed to sail into the 3rd place.
Going around the Musadam cliffs, however , the fleet compressed and Dongfeng took the lead shortly.

Now the Boats are sailing the Sea of Oman and have to round the southern tip of India before sailing East to the Finish.

Video's are available for both the AbuDhabi In-Port and Start races in Youtube or you can use the links in my page on Video's via the TAB in the top.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Ladies Boat won , ahead of the LEG 3 start Today.

For Sailing you need a well equipped Sailing Boat, a crew and some Wind. 

The wind failed in AbuDhabi at the starting time, causing a delayed start. But luckily the wind got just strong enough later to make sailing possible. 

The cruxial  tack

MAPHRE made a victorious start sailing away from the pack to the left. All boats followed on Starboard Tack, till Dongfeng first soon followed by SCA made a tack to the right. For SCA , this was there deciding moment as this brought them so much advantage that there first position after the first leg, was never in danger again. Brunel, tacked not too long after SCA and got a nice 2nd place behind the ladies , which they hold on, without really having to fight for it, till the finish.

A MAPHRE you may ask? Well after their fantastic start, they realised at the first buoys that they lost the race. Though they had a try to pass Alvimedica , that was not even possible and MAPHRE ended up last.

After the In-Port race , TODAY, SATURDAY 3rd January 2015 the Starting shot will allow at 10:00 UTC, the six VO65 Boats to start the LEG 3 from AbuDhabi to Sanya,China.

First the Boats will sail a starting circuit, see image before sailing into the Open Waters of the Gulf. You can follow this race-start live on VOR web or Youtube.

AbuDhabi Leg 3  start circuit

The route will sail them , South of Sri Lanka, through the Strait of Malacca , along Singapore and the Vietnamese coast to the Finish.

You can follow the Leg 3 race on the VOR website or you may even try to sail virtually alongside your hero's in a Virtual Sailing Player.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

VolvoOceanRace continues .......

After a End of Year Holiday in AbuDhabi, it is time to start thinking on the continuation of the VolvoOceanRace. 

Circuit for AbuDhabi In-Port race

Well, tomorrow, FRIDAY, 2nd January 2015 at 1000 GMT, indeed 1400 local, the In-Port Race in AbuDhabi will start.

Depending on the wind just before the Start, will decide how many legs will have to be sailed till the Finish, so be alert. 

The In-Port Race will be amongst 6 Boats only as Vestas Wind, boat is still not returned in healthy state able to sail.

For worldwide sailing enthousiasts, there is a possibility to watch live images of this AbuDhabi In-Port race on the VOR website or Youtube, VOR channel.

A day later the Leg 3 AbuDhabi to Sanya, China will start.