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.