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.