#123 Tales II passes Statue of Liberty by Billy Black/Atlantic Cup

#123 Tales II passes Statue of Liberty by Billy Black/Atlantic Cup

 

Fleet to dock in Brooklyn Bridge Park until Pro-Am on June 2, followed by final leg to Portland, Maine on June 4 and In-shore Series, June 10-11
BROOKLYN, N.Y. (May 31, 2016) – With a fleet of nine Class 40s competing in The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing #123 – Tales II skippered by Gonzalo Botín and Pablo Santurde, crossed the finish line first at 12:53:03 p.m. ET on Tuesday, May 31, with an elapsed time of 72:48:03, to complete the 648 nautical mile first off-shore leg of the Atlantic Cup from Charleston, S.C. to Brooklyn, N.Y. The race, the most sustainable sailing event in the United States, saw Spain’s #123 Tales II  finish 1 hour 33 minutes and 30 seconds ahead of #145 Eärendil (74:21:43), followed by the team of  #118 Oakcliff Racing (74:52:05).

The race began at 12:05 p.m. on Saturday, May 28 from the Charleston Maritime Center, which saw teams representing six different countries battle over the just under three day leg. The teams left Charleston harbor just ahead of Tropical Storm Bonnie which set up a difficult first 24-hours. Top wind speeds reported in the first night were 35 knots with a very confused sea state.

Tales II moved into the lead just before exiting the jetties in Charleston and they held their first place position throughout the race, going on to set a new course record for the first leg.

Gonzalo Botín, Tales II Skipper
“The first night was quite tough…but the worst part was today getting from Sandy Hook [NJ] up here. Our top speed was 25 knots over the ground, we had four knots of current, but when we saw the numbers we said wow, we have like Volvo speeds. It’s a marvelous leg, I think it takes you from, well you are very lucky in the states, because you have the full North Atlantic so you have Hatteras, then the Gulf Stream, well you have everything, it’s incredible the change, because you get the Labrador current here and it starts getting cold and foggy, you know two days ago I was in shorts and then it gets cold. It’s a very interesting place. The course is great, I think the waters in which we sailed were magnificent from navigation to weather, I think it rates very high compared to other events.”

Catherine Pourre, Eärendil Skipper
“Yes, we are happy with our second place finish, but I think we could have done better so we will try next time. We did have some problems with our autopilot where we gybed and it broke the mainsail halyard. We were under speed of 16-19 knots then this happened and then we took half an hour to an hour for Antoine to go up [the mast] to replace the line and during this time were under solent so we were going 6-9 knots. So it took about 10 miles for this operation, it was a long operation and it cost us miles. It’s a nice course. The finish is a good place, except that when we got near there was a deep fog and we thought ‘Ah my God, it’s going to be like that up to New York so we’re not going to see anything!’ But a few miles before the entrance it all cleared and it was a great view”

Libby Greenhalgh, Oakcliff Racing
“It was pretty interesting starting the race having not sailed together or set any form of A-sail or kite. It was pretty windy we saw 25-30 knots most of the time. We toughed it out on our full main and our solent, but when we went to change it became very apparent to us we haven’t done this before and it takes us a stack load of time and very quickly we lost miles. I think that’s the biggest thing with double-handed sailing, it’s just tough and your just physically knackered.

It’s amazing actually for a 40-foot yacht under that sail configuration, which once it picks up it really gets going, it doesn’t even feel like anything [top speed was 24.3 knots]. I think the course is fantastic, lot of opportunity, you’ve got the Gulf Stream to play with and sometimes that kicks up all sorts of weather. And we really had everything, so there were lots of opportunities to take, it wasn’t a go out follow race.”

Leg 1, Talanta - Mikael Ryking and Nathan Fulcher (Photo by Billy Black / Atlantic Cup)

Leg 1, Talanta – Mikael Ryking and Nathan Fulcher (Photo by Billy Black / Atlantic Cup)

Current Standings

Finish Time Elapsed Time Time Leg Leg
Team Start Time Date Finished H M S H:M:S Difference Position Points
Tales II 12:05:00 5/31/16 12 : 53 : 3 72:48:03 0:00:00 1 18
Earendil 12:05:00 5/31/16 14 : 26 : 43 74:21:43 1:33:40 2 16
Oakcliff 12:05:00 5/31/16 14 : 57 : 5 74:52:05 2:04:02 3 14
Amhas 12:05:00 5/31/16 16 : 59 : 34 76:54:34 4:06:31 4 12
Dragon 12:05:00 5/31/16 18 : 42 : 15 78:37:15 5:49:12 5 10
Talanta 12:05:00 5/31/16 19 : 3 : 57 78:58:57 6:10:54 6 8
Pleiad 12:05:00 5/31/16 : : 7 6
Privateer 12:05:00 5/31/16 : : 8 4

 

For more on the Atlantic Cup, visit AtlanticCup.org

About 11th Hour Racing
11th Hour Racing, a program of The Schmidt Family Foundation, establishes strategic partnerships with the sailing community to promote collaborative systemic change for the health of the marine environment. 11th Hour Racing believes that fostering environmentally sustainable practices on and off the water is critical to the preservation of the oceans and its vital resources. 11th Hour Racing works to advance solutions and sustainable practices, while integrating ocean stewardship into the values of every sailing team, class, and series, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.11thhourracing.org

About Brooklyn Bridge Park
Brooklyn Bridge Park is the not-for-profit entity responsible for the planning, construction, maintenance and operation of Brooklyn Bridge Park, an 85-acre sustainable waterfront park spanning 1.3 miles along Brooklyn’s East River shoreline. As steward of the park, BBP has transformed this previously deteriorated stretch of waterfront into a world-class park where the public can gather, play, relax and enjoy sweeping views of New York Harbor. The Park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and features expansive lawns, rolling hills, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities and the popular Jane’s Carousel. BBP serves thousands of people on any given seasonal day, who come to picnic, walk their dog, play soccer, jog, bike or roller skate. Brooklyn Bridge Park is a signature public investment for the 21st Century and will be an enduring legacy for the communities, elected officials and public servants who made it happen. For more information, please visit www.brooklynbridgepark.org/.

(Photo by Sam Greenfield/Dongfeng Race Team)

Team Dongfeng headed to Newport (Photo by Sam Greenfield/Dongfeng Race Team)

 

Leg 6: Itajai – Newport (5,000nm theoretical, close to 5,500nm sailed)

Days at sea: 17
Distance to finish: 
115nm
Position in fleet: First. 2nm ahead of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Weather: Transition from westerly winds to light easterlies (“Dong Feng” translated)
Boat speed: 12 knots
ETA Newport: Tonight.

America…the land of hopes and dreams and, right now, all of Dongfeng’s hopes and dreams are resting on the Chinese team trying to stay ahead of their main adversary, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, to arrive first in Newport. But like all hopes and dreams, they don’t come easy: “The last 24 hours of this leg are going to be a nightmare,” says Charles. “It’s going to be very difficult to stay ahead of the other boats”

Just over a hundred excruciating miles to go, the fleet are expected in tonight at some point. Over the last 24 hours, Dongfeng has had a whole mix of conditions – from light downwind sailing, to some strong gusty conditions of up to 30 knots whilst crossing the Gulf Stream. But now the brakes are on, and the leaders are tackling the final wind transition – from the strong westerly flow that has propelled them overnight towards Newport ahead of the predictions, in to a weak easterly flow. Dong Feng we should remind you means “a wind from the east bringing freshness and energy” – lets hope it blows in our favour!

“Everyone’s getting nervous,” said Horace (Chen Jin Hao). “Plus the wind is getting lighter now. The boat we couldn’t see before are now close to us, we can see them with our eyes. These days are like torture for us.”

For Horace his American dream is simple: “For a lot of people America is a place full of dreams and hopes. Lots of people would like to study in the US and start a business there. But for me, I’ve only got one American dream – get a good result for this leg. But of course I’ve got my little ‘classic’ American dream – I want to go to New York to see the Statue of Liberty.” Lets just hope Dongfeng Race Team are the first ones to see the Newport finish line…

Read Sam’s blog: The Gulf Stream – this one resembles a hot elevator shooting us towards Newport with an extra 2 knots over the ground. The past 48 hours have been nothing but ups and downs, hots and colds, so I challenge the guys to give me a few quotes with that theme in mind. “Arriving in the US our hearts are getting warm as the water is getting colder,” says Kevin. Read more hereImage cr​edit: Sa​m Greenf​ield/Don​gfeng Ra​ce Team The next​ 115nm i​s going ​to be a ​nervous ​one for ​our navi​gator, P​ascal.

You can follow our story and interact with the team on all social media channels and our official website:

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Official website: Click here

 

May 3, 2015. Leg 6 to Newport onboard Dongfeng Race Team. Day 14. This boat gets so damn steep (Photo by Sam Greenfield/Team Dongfeng/Volvo Ocean Race).

May 3, 2015. Leg 6 to Newport onboard Dongfeng Race Team. Day 14. This boat gets so damn steep (Photo by Sam Greenfield/Team Dongfeng/Volvo Ocean Race).

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet found fair winds rather then the ill fortune of repute as they raced through the Bermuda Triangle in the thrilling Leg 6 race towards Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Monday .

 

Leg 6
DTL

(NM)

GAIN/LOSS

(NM)

DTF

(NM)

Speed

(kt)

DFRT
DFRT 0.0 0.0 844 16.3
TBRU
TBRU 7.4 0.3 851 16.3
ADOR
ADOR 10.7 2.1 854 16.9
MAPF
MAPF 27.8 2.2 871 17.3
ALVI
ALVI 29.6 1.8 873 17
SCA1
SCA1 82.9 4.5 926 16.1
VEST
VEST Did Not Start

Latest positions may be downloaded
from the race dashboard here º MAPFRE given two-point penalty – read more

– Sailors admit fatigue in relentless ‘grinding of nerves’
– The Bermuda Triangle – a menace or a myth?
– Check out the run-in to Newport on our App

ALICANTE, Spain, May 4 – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet found fair winds rather then the ill fortune of repute as they raced through the Bermuda Triangle in the thrilling Leg 6 race towards Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Monday. They all have under 1,000 nautical miles (nm) to go.

The six boats had feared a slow-down and fleet compression through an area of low pressure mid-Atlantic in the geographic triangle that separates Bermuda, Costa Rica and Miami, but instead the crews continued virtually unhindered.

Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), so determined to close the seven-point gap on overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), continued to hold a slight 7.4nm advantage in the latest position report on Monday (0940 UTC).

Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) led the chasing pack with Azzam hot on their heels 3.3nm astern of them (see panel above). The three had opened up a small gap over MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP), who were having their own dogfight with Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), some 17nm behind Ian Walker’s crew.

MAPFRE suffered a brief scare when the boat was knocked down to crash flat on its side, before it swifly righted itself courtesy of swift teamwork among the crew.

Team SCA, to the east of those two packs, were still struggling to keep pace, some 82.9nm behind Dongfeng.

The six boats are expected to escape the Bermuda Triangle later in the day and then face one last major gybe on Tuesday evening before the final sprint for the finish line after an absorbing 5,010nm leg.

Many of the sailors have been admitting that the relentless close quarter sailing of six well-matched crews on identical Volvo Ocean 65 boats is beginning to take its toll on nerves and body alike after seven months at sea.

Charles Caudrelier, skipper of the stage leaders Dongfeng Race Team, summed up: “According to the clouds and narrow corridors of wind, we have good and bad phases. It grinds down the nerves. The one-design (boat) has totally changed the regatta on the water.”

At the other end of the fleet, Sam Davies, of Team SCA, is equally feeling the pace. “I feel like the last seven months of racing is taking its toll on my body and I am trying to play catch-up in order to be able to do my job properly,” she wrote. “This racing is a crazy life.”

The boats are forecasted to arrive in Newport on May 7 after 17 days of sailing from Itajaí, Brazil. They will then have 10 days in dock for maintenance before setting off for the final transatlantic crossing to Lisbon, Portugal.

There are then two more legs taking in France (Lorient), The Netherlands (The Hague) and Sweden, with the race concluding on June 27 in Gothenburg after nine months of racing.

April 24, 2015. Leg 6 Newport onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Day 5.  Ian Walker looks at the nav computer to check positioning on the rest of the fleet as a front approaches in the sky. (Photo by Matt Knighton / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / Volvo Ocean Race)

April 24, 2015. Leg 6 Newport onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Day 5. Ian Walker looks at the nav computer to check positioning on the rest of the fleet as a front approaches in the sky. (Photo by Matt Knighton / Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / Volvo Ocean Race)

 

The Volvo Ocean Race finally headed for the ‘homeward’ stretch after crossing the Equator for the fourth and final time on Tuesday – but there was no room to celebrate with a major decision facing all the boats in the next 24 hours (full story below).

– Fleet crosses the Equator for final time
– Big routing decision facing navigators
– Follow what they opt to do on our great App

ALICANTE, Spain, April 28 – The Volvo Ocean Race finally headed for the ‘homeward’ stretch after crossing the Equator for the fourth and final time on Tuesday – but there was no room to celebrate with a major decision facing all the boats in the next 24 hours.

The fleet still has a long way to go before the race reaches its climax in the final week of June in Gothenburg, Sweden, having set out on the 38,739-nautical mile (nm), nine-month marathon back in Alicante, Spain, on October 11.

But it has made its farewells to the Southern Hemisphere for the final time in this edition, with all six boats tightly bunched as they entered the north Atlantic with just under 3,000nm still to race in Leg 6 before arriving in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, around May 7.

Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) held a narrow lead of 4.1nm from Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) with overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) and Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) still very much in contention (see panel above).

The fleet is heading for an area of light winds before entering what official race meteorologist, Gonzalo Infante (ESP), described as a ‘cone of possibilities and decisions’.

Each skipper and his navigator will need to decide whether east or west – or something in between – is the best direction and stick to that course. “It’s like arriving at a junction and having a variety of decisions about which road to take,” Infante explained.

“After they take an option, that route will not intersect with the others until they reach Newport. Mind you, it could be that they all take the same route.”

Meanwhile, several sailors were taking stock of passing the Equator and, effectively, completing a navigation of the globe – although this round-the-world race still has to take in its only North American stop in Newport before re-crossing the Atlantic and taking on its European ‘tour’ of Portugal (Lisbon), France (Lorient), The Netherlands (The Hague) and, finally, Sweden (Gothenburg).

“This is not a race to the Equator, but crossing the Equator for the last time is a part of our trip around the world,” said Team SCA skipper, Sam Davies, who is enjoying probably her best leg to date.

“My objective is to do really well in this race and particularly this leg. Having crossed the Atlantic more times than I remember, when we crossed last night I couldn’t help but feel a bit more at ease. I’m back in my territory, the north Atlantic.

“For the race, it’s not a big milestone, but for me personally, I’m happy to be back here.”

Abu Dhabi Ocean Race skipper, Ian Walker, felt similarly.

“To circumnavigate the world by ocean puts you in an exclusive group of seafarers and one which the whole crew is proud to be a part of,” the twice-Olympic silver medallist from Britain said.

“Returning to the north marks a change of pace for the race. From now on the legs become rapid-fire; they get shorter and quicker and there’s a lot at stake before the race ends in Sweden. Forty five per cent of the points are ahead of us.”

MAPFRE, however, were still cursing their luck after running under clouds over the past 24 hours, which sucked away wind pressure and slowed the boat.

“There’s some separation in the fleet and it depends on if you have luck or not with the cloud you catch, whether you gain or lose ground,” said navigator, Jean-Luc Nélias (FRA), on Tuesday.

“From yesterday, for us it’s been more loss than gain, but we will see further down the line whether the others also catch the wrong kind of cloud.”

April 19, 2015. The start of Leg 6 in Itaja’; The fleet have passed the start line (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race)

April 19, 2015. The start of Leg 6 in Itaja’; The fleet have passed the start line (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez / Volvo Ocean Race)

 

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet bid a lingering farewell after a successful stopover in Itajaí with an almost total lack of wind ensuring a go-slow departure for Leg 6 to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Sunday

Leg 6
DTL

(NM)

GAIN/LOSS

(NM)

DTF

(NM)

Speed

(kt)

ALVI
ALVI 0 0 5018.1 2
MAPF
MAPF 0.1 0 5018.2 2
ADOR
ADOR 0.3 0 5018.4 2
SCA1
SCA1 0.5 0 5018.6 2
TBRU
TBRU 0.6 0 5018.7 2
DFRT
DFRT 0.6 0 5018.7 2
VEST
VEST DID NOT START

Latest positions may be downloaded
from the race dashboard hereº MAPFRE given two-point penalty – read more

– Team Alvimedica head the long haul

Latest positions may be downloaded
from the race dashboard hereº MAPFRE given two-point penalty – read more

– Team Alvimedica head the long haul to Newport
– Start line setback for race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
– Follow all the Leg 6 action as it happens on our App

ITAJAÍ, Brazil, April 19 – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet bid a lingering farewell after a successful stopover in Itajaí with an almost total lack of wind ensuring a go-slow departure for Leg 6 to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Sunday.

After watching the six boats drift in frustratingly super-light conditions in the south-east Brazilian port for nearly an hour, the Race Committee cut its losses and ruled that the fleet could sail into the open seas by drastically shortening the opening in-port lap.

Some 270,000 spectators have visited the Itajaí race village since the Leg 5 winners, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), arrived here on April 5.

There were approaching 50,000 more for the departure of Leg 6, a 5,010-nautical mile stage, and the sailors appeared to be in no hurry to leave an electric atmosphere.

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) are the team with arguably the biggest desire to win the leg into their home port and they duly had the honour of leading the fleet out of Itajaí with barely three to five knots of boat speed.

MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) were their closest pursuers followed by overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) in that order.

Walker and his crew, who head the leaderboard by seven points after Dongfeng failed to complete Leg 5 because of a broken mast, had a miserable start as they found themselves on the wrong side of the starting line and had to turn around in slow motion before setting off.

Once the fleet escapes the immediate shortage of breeze in almost Doldrums conditions, the fleet should find appreciably more wind up the Brazilian coast through the Atlantic.

The leg is unlikely to match the previous stage’s treacherous conditions through the Southern Ocean and south Atlantic, but there are still plenty of challenges to test the fleet to the full.

Light winds, however, could still hamper them along the way.

The boats are expected to take around 17-20 days to reach Newport, the seventh port to host the race.

Bernard Bonneau (FRA) jury Chairman (Photo by Carmen Hidalgo / Volvo Ocean Race)

Bernard Bonneau (FRA) jury Chairman (Photo by Carmen Hidalgo / Volvo Ocean Race)

.– MAPFRE protest hearing – ISAF jury decision here
– Dongfeng Race Team permitted to use replacement sail in Leg 6
– Team SCA and Team Vestas Wind refused permission to change their sails

Leg 5 total
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 1 9
Dongfeng Race Team 8*** 16
Team Brunel 4 18
Team Alvimedica 3 19
MAPFRE 2 20º
Team SCA 5 29
Team Vestas Wind 8* 36

* Did Not Start | ** Did Not Finish | *** Retired | **** Disqualified | ***** Given Redress | ****** Provisional º

 

ITAJAÍ, Brazil, April 17 – The Spanish team MAPFRE were given a two-point penalty on Thursday by the ISAF-appointed independent jury for rules breaches during Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race. In separate decisions, the jury made key rulings about the use of replacement sails for three teams.

ISAF Jury (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez  Volvo Ocean Race )

ISAF Jury (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez Volvo Ocean Race )

 

After hearing evidence from Race Management and the team on Wednesday, the jury, headed by Bernard Bonneau, ruled that the Spanish team had applied repairs and alterations on the hull and on an outrigger without informing the Volvo Ocean 65 Class Authority (VCA) and therefore broke the Volvo Ocean 65 class rules as well as the race rules.

The Volvo Ocean 65 class rules require that if a team considers that a repair is necessary, it shall inform the VCA immediately.

Bonneau added that the five-strong jury had decided that the work was not done with the purpose of improving the performance of the Spanish team during Leg 5 and their second place in the stage stands.

The ruling, however, means that their overall points total is now 20 after five legs and they thus drop from fourth to fifth in the standings (see panel above).

The team had earlier argued in the hearing through their rules advisor, Luis Sáenz Mariscal, that in both cases with their bow and outrigger, skipper Iker Martínez had made the reinforcements because of fears that both were damaged.

Sáenz Mariscal added that the outrigger had broken on previous occasions in the race and the crew had heard a bang from the bow and feared it was delaminating.

He said that in Southern Ocean conditions, Martínez feared that the boat and crew were in danger if the measures were not taken. He said the crew had not informed the VCA, but had openly shared video content showing repairs to Race Control in Alicante, Spain.

Martínez was also a skipper in the last edition in 2011-12, when his boat’s bow delaminated and he was forced to nurse the boat to Argentina for repairs.

In a separate decision by the ISAF Jury, Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) was given permission to replace their damaged race mainsail with their pre-race mainsail for the forthcoming Team Vestas Wnd Itajaí In-Port Race as well as Leg 6, which starts on Sunday (April 19).

Dongfeng Race Team had nursed their boat to safety in Argentina after the top of the mast fractured, 200 nautical miles from Cape Horn, during Leg 5. Caudrelier explained they had no option but to cut the mainsail to prevent further damage, potentially endangering the crew.

However, similar applications from Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), to replace their fractional code zero sail, and Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) to replace their J3 when they return to the race following their grounding on a reef in Leg 2, were denied.

Team SCA’s sail was unusable during the stage after it was badly damaged during a Chinese gybe. It has since been repaired but according to skipper Sam Davies, may tear again once the boat returns to sea on Leg 6 from Sunday.

The race rules specify that if a boat damages beyond repair or loses a sail and does not have a spare race sail of the same code, it may apply in writing to the VCA and to the international jury for permission to use her pre-race sail of the same code.

The international jury’s full decisions can be found here: http://noticeboard.volvooceanrace.com

 

March 22, 2015. Leg 5 to Itajai onboard MAPFRE. Day 04. Skipper Iker Martinez glues on of the battens to stick to the hull (Francisco Vignale / MAPFRE / Volvo Ocean Race)

March 22, 2015. Leg 5 to Itajai onboard MAPFRE. Day 04. Skipper Iker Martinez glues on of the battens to stick to the hull (Francisco Vignale / MAPFRE / Volvo Ocean Race)

April 05, 2015. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, winner of Leg 5 arriving to Itajaí. (Photo by Buda Mendes / Volvo Ocean Race )

April 05, 2015. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, winner of Leg 5 arriving to Itajaí. (Photo by Buda Mendes / Volvo Ocean Race )

A monster of a leg’ ends in glory

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) buried the miserable memories of three years ago to win an epic Southern Ocean/south Atlantic crossing in Leg 5 and claim their second stage victory in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

April 05, 2015. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing approaching Itaja’ (BRA)

 

Latest positions may be downloaded
from the race dashboard here
– Walker celebrates epic Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing win
– Emirati boat moves seven points clear at top
– MAPFRE, Team Alvimedica and Team Brunel chase them home
– Team SCA rocked by another setback as rudder breaks

ITAJAÍ, Brazil, April 5 – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) buried the miserable memories of three years ago to win an epic Southern Ocean/south Atlantic crossing in Leg 5 and claim their second stage victory in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.

In 2012, Walker’s crew were forced to return to Auckland with hull damage and eventually retired from the leg to Itajaí, Brazil.

They must have feared more of the same when Cyclone Pam delayed the departure from New Zealand for three days, but despite taking the worst that the Southern Ocean and then the south Atlantic could throw at them, the Emirati team emerged triumphant after nearly 19 days of ultra-challenging, super-tight sailing.

Amazingly, skipper Ian Walker reported that they had reached Itajaí with the least amount of work for their shore crew to do of any leg so far in this edition.

To add the icing to their cake, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing set the new best mark in the chase for IWC prize for the most nautical miles (nm) sailed in 24 hours with 551nm leading up to Cape Horn.

“Awesome. It’s been such a monster of a leg, we were so, so stoked with the 24-hour record,” said a jubilant Walker, 45, straight after crossing the line in front of a waterfront packed by thousands of spectators.

“That (IWC record) was actually what got us back up with the leaders. Since then we have sailed very, very well. It’s a very tight finish.”

He credited his team’s versatility for much of their success (elapsed time for Leg 5: 18 days 23 hours 30 minutes 10 seconds).

“Seven out of eight of our guys drive, so nobody has to drive for too long. We rotate everybody and I can’t speak highly enough of everybody in our team.”

He added that he dropped the keel on two occasions in the heaviest of the weather with 50-knot winds (92.6 kilometres an hour) buffeting the fleet, losing some ground, but keeping his boat intact.

“In hindsight, that looks a pretty shrewd decision,” Walker said.

The stage victory leaves Walker’s team seven points clear at the top of the standings with five of the nine legs now completed.

That gap was opened up following the misfortune of a broken mast, which struck Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) early last Monday and led to their retirement from the leg two days later.

The Chinese boat is now being sailed, partly under motor, to Itajaí where its shore crew face a race against time to have the new mast refitted in time for the start of the next leg to Newport, Rhode Island, on April 19.

They will pick up eight points (low points wins) after failing to finish the stage and now stand on 16, still in second place, but only two ahead of MAPFRE and Team Brunel. Team Alvimedica are one further behind with Team SCA expected to finish on 29.

Walker, in his third race, is far too experienced to take anything for granted yet, however, despite becoming the first team to clinch their second stage win of the 2014-15 edition.

The leg was incredibly closely fought throughout its 6,776nm with MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) chasing Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing all the way to Itajaí and finishing in that order.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing beat the Spanish team by a little over 32 minutes with less than an hour separating the leading four (see panel above).

As usual, Walker barely enjoyed a wink of sleep over the final 48 hours with his pursuers no more than 2-10nm behind him all that time.

Apart from the closeness of the racing – virtually unprecedented in the 41-year history of the race – the leg will be remembered for living up to its reputation as the most fearsome in the nine-month offshore marathon.

Along from Dongfeng’s broken mast, there were at least three cases of Chinese gybes when the boats crashed to their sides before righting, and there were numerous cases of other sail and equipment breakages.

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) had more than their share of problems, damaging three sails and then suffering a port rudder breakage on Sunday. They are expected to finish the leg on Tuesday.

In all, the fleet will cover 38,739nm and visit 11 ports and every continent. The race concludes in Gothenburg, Sweden, on June 27.

Leg 5 finishing times

1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 18 days 23 hours 30 minutes 10 seconds
2. MAFPRE – 19d 00h 02min 56s
3. Team Alvimedica – 19d 00h 24min 32s
4. Team Brunel – 19d 00h 25min 48s

 

 

 

 

Into the Southern Ocean for Team Dongfeng  (Photo by Ya​nn Riou/​ Dongfen​g Race T​eam)

Into the Southern Ocean for Team Dongfeng (Photo by Ya​nn Riou/​ Dongfen​g Race T​eam)

“For Wolf and Black its one hell of a baptism, and for our team, the big challenge of this Volvo Ocean Race” – Charles Caudrelier

Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier sent his first report from onboard Dongfeng on Leg 5 to Itajai, Brazil:

The first miles of this leg were truly magnificent.
Sailing along the New Zealand coast is exceptionally beautiful and interesting.
The start of this leg confirmed that the [performance] level of this race doesn’t stop increasing, and its more and more homogenous across the fleet.

There were at least 5 changes of leader in the first 24 hours and the smallest of errors were very expensive. A wrong sail choice when we were sailing down the coast cost us some precious miles, and pinned us back in an unfavourable position for the last 24 hours. But looking ahead at what is waiting for us before Cape Horn, this deficit is negligible and the next 10 days of racing will be full of traps and speed races where sail choices will be complicated, yet fundamental to the leaderboard. In certain conditions a sail change is sometimes impossible and we have to really slow down to do it. A bad sail choice can quickly cost a hundred miles.

For Dongfeng this leg will be tough, its in these difficult conditions and strong winds that we feel the lack of experience of our Chinese sailors. Even if they are showing remarkable bravery, its an extra pressure on all of us, and notably on me as skipper. I’m responsible for them in the bad weather and I have to judge all the time what we are capable of doing or not [in terms of safety]. In previous legs we had some margin for error, but in the south there are some errors we simply can’t commit. We have trained in some bad weather, but they have never experienced more than 24 hours of rough racing conditions. And in front of us are 4,500 miles of racing to Cape Horn in Southern Ocean storms, and we have to try to keep the same pace as the seasoned sailors and highly experienced teams for the next 10 days.

For Wolf and Black its one hell of a baptism, and for our team, the big challenge of this Volvo.

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Wet, noisy and violent as these images show from our onboard reporter, Yann Riou.

“The situation onboard is hard, I got seasick and it’s very bad. Eric is sick too. The wind speed is up to 30 knots, and the boat keeps crashing” – Black

Wet, noi​sy and v​iolent c​ondition​s onboar​d as Don​gfeng wi​th 30 kn​ots of b​reeze in​ 5–6 met​re waves​.
Charles ​Caudreli​er grind​ing onbo​ard Dong​feng as ​waves cr​ash over​ the dec​k.
Kevin Es​coffier ​cleaning​ the hal​yards af​ter a sa​il chang​e onboar​d Dongfe​ng.
Action o​n deck a​s Dongfe​ng try t​o fix th​eir lack​ of spee​d.
Pascal g​ives Cha​rles a q​uick upd​ate onbo​ard Dong​feng.
Cleaning​ the rop​es after​ a manoe​uvre onb​oard.
Dongfeng​ cross t​he Inter​national​ Datelin​e in wet​ conditi​ons.