Clipper Race fleet leaves New York in 2013-14 edition (Photo © OnEdition)

Clipper Race fleet leaves New York in 2013-14 edition (Photo © OnEdition)


Hundreds of amateur sailors assembled in Portsmouth Guildhall today to discover which team and professional skipper they will be sailing with later this year in the world’s longest ocean race. They will be competing in the tenth edition of the biennial Clipper Round the World Yacht Race which departs from London on 30 August.

Clipper Race crew, who will spend up to eleven months traversing the world’s most challenging oceans, came to Portsmouth from all over the world, including North America, China, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico and across Europe, together with a strong contingent from across the UK.

The twelve teams were addressed by legendary yachtsman, Clipper Race founder and Chairman, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, with encouraging words about the challenge and adventure that lies ahead.  He commented afterwards: “This is where final preparations for the race of their lives begins. Most of the crew have almost completed their training but now they can start to develop their strategies and dynamics as a team.”

The global appeal of the Clipper Race continues to grow, with crew joining the 2015-16 edition from Lebanon, Latvia and Colombia for the first time.  Lebanese crew member Moussa Tawil flew into the UK via Doha and Istanbul to find out who he would be sharing his round-the-world adventure with:  “I’m super excited about the whole thing.  Today is quite significant as I’m sharing thoughts on tactics and finding out more about what role I’d like to play on board.

“I see this as an opportunity to test myself and think I’ll manage well.  I’d like to be part of a really fun crew.  When I first signed up I didn’t think much about winning, but the training has made me think more about what needs to be done to win this race.”

The Clipper Race is a unique event; it is the only ocean race to give amateur sailors the opportunity to sail around the world and at 40,000 miles it’s the longest around the planet. Many are complete novices before embarking on their extensive training and over 600 international crew will sail one or more of eight legs around the world, with around a quarter achieving the ultimate sailing experience of a full circumnavigation.

Sir Robin added: “It is important to remember that Mother Nature does not make allowances and the more the crew learn about seamanship, the safer they will be and the more they will enjoy the adventure. Over the next year they will all gain more experience and mileage in their log books than the average sailor gets in years. It will be fantastic at times, frustrating at others, but overall it will be a life fulfilling experience they will never forget.”

For the first time there will be two female skippers in the race, Wendy Tuck from Australia and Diane Reid from Canada.  There will also be the first French skipper, Olivier Cardin and the first Ukrainian-German skipper, Igor Gotlibovych. At 27 years old, Igor is the youngest of this edition’s skippers and his team will represent the Chinese Olympic sailing city of Qingdao.

Igor says: “I feel very proud to be representing Qingdao.  I was born in Ukraine, grew up in Germany and have lived in England for the last eight years, so there are many places that I can call home and now I can add Qingdao to that list.

“I am thrilled to finally be allocated my crew.  I have met some of them during their Clipper Race training but of course we did not know we would be racing around the world together in the same team. We are a cosmopolitan bunch with people from all over the world who are very excited to get to know each other and to building on Qingdao’s legacy in competitive sailing.”

The crew come from vastly different backgrounds and professions but all have a thirst for adventure. The Clipper Race is regarded as one of the hardest endurance challenges on the ocean and races between six continents over eleven months. The organisers provide twelve identically matched 70-foot yachts, that made their debut to the race in 2013, and each team is allocated to avoid any one crew having an unfair advantage. It is ultimately down to how each team develops and how well they sail that will ultimately determine the winner of the Clipper Race Trophy with maximum points at the end of the race. Each team will represent a destination, organisation or brand.

Followers of the Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race can look forward to some exciting and exhilarating racing. The departure ceremony takes place in London on Sunday 30 August.

There is still room on board some boats.   For more information on the Clipper Round the World Yacht race see HERE

The Clipper 15 - 16 Crew Announcement.  (Photo © OnEdition)

The Clipper 15 – 16 Crew Announcement. (Photo © OnEdition)

February 8, 2015. Leg 4 Start; MAPFRE, Team Alvimedica and Team Brunel  (Photo © Marc Bow/Volvo Ocean Race)

February 8, 2015. Leg 4 Start; MAPFRE, Team Alvimedica and Team Brunel (Photo © Marc Bow/Volvo Ocean Race)

.– Race to Itajaí delayed to Tuesday at earliest
– All skippers supported decision to wait
– Organisers still line up packed race weekend

.

Leg 4 total
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 2 8
Dongfeng Race Team 3 8
Team Brunel 5 14
Team Alvimedica 4 16
MAPFRE 1 16
Team SCA 6 24
Team Vestas Wind 8* 28
* Did Not Start | ** Did Not Finish | *** Retired | **** Disqualified
| ***** Given Redress | ****** Provisional

 

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, March 13 – Cyclone Pam caused another postponement for the Leg 5 departure of the Volvo Ocean Race as organisers announced on Friday that the fleet would not now leave Auckland for Itajaí, Brazil, until Tuesday at the earliest.

The cyclone has already racked up winds of 200km/hr causing a delay in the departure in the six-strong fleet which was originally due to embark on the 6,776-nautical mile (nm) journey on Sunday (March 15).

It was on a collision course with the fleet shortly after they were due to leave the New Zealand city.

March 12, 2015. Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad  and Race Director Jack Lloyd analyse the weather forecast situation for the start of Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí on Sunday March 15. (Photo  © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

March 12, 2015. Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad and Race Director Jack Lloyd analyse the weather forecast situation for the start of Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí on Sunday March 15. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Race CEO Knut Frostad told a press conference in Auckland on Friday that there was no choice but to hold up the start of a leg, which was already likely to be the toughest in the nine-month, 38,739nm marathon event.

He had previously announced on Thursday that it would not leave until Monday at the earliest.

“This weather is very rare for the race, and for New Zealand. We will not start the leg until Tuesday and will probably look at an afternoon start or in the evening. That’s our current plan,” he said before adding that organisers would give a final decision by 1800 local time on Sunday.

The fleet’s skippers in the press conference backed the decision to keep the fleet in port for at least an extra two days.

“It’s obvious,” said Team Brunel’s Dutch skipper, Bouwe Bekking. “All the skippers in our meeting said straight away, ‘you’ve got to delay it’. A very good decision.”

March 12, 2015. Practice Race in Auckland. (Photo  © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

March 12, 2015. Practice Race in Auckland. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

The race emphasised that the New Zealand Herald In-Port Race was still scheduled to go ahead on Saturday (March 14) at 1400 and they hoped that a sizeable audience of Auckland’s sailing-loving residents would attend.

The In-Port series is a tie-breaker for the overall trophy and is currently splitting first and second Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) and Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), and fourth and fifth (Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) and MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP). See panel above.

Additionally, they plan a similar length, in-port race for charity on Sunday at 1400 local time, when the winners will be awarded NZ$10,000 by the event, which they can donate to a cause of their choice.

Frostad emphasised that with Cyclone Pam bearing down on Auckland, that event was subject to cancellation, but was an attempt to give the city’s sailing fans and sponsors an extra dose of action. A final decision will be made no later than 1800 on Saturday.

“It’s on the borderline of what we think is safe and prudent to do but we’ll continue to monitor the situation.”

The skippers, meanwhile, are relishing finally taking on the most challenging stage of the race, which will take them through the Southern Ocean, past Cape Horn and then the Atlantic to Itajaí in the southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina.

 

“It’s the best sailing we can get – the waves, the nature. They will be moments when you hate to your guts being out there but it’s the highlight for most of the sailors in the race,” said Bekking.

Enright of Team Alvimedica added: “The race itself is a personal proving ground and this is what the Southern Ocean represents.”

Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew could be forgiven for feeling more trepidation than most after finding themselves one of several boats in the leg in the last edition in 2011-12 to enquire about emergency assistance.

“We got a message back saying that the nearest ship was 1,000 miles away. That kind of focuses the mind. If you run into trouble in the Southern Ocean, the chances are that help would come from one of the other boats in the race,” he said.

He is one of several skippers who have been forced into changes for the leg. The race’s only Emirati sailor, Adil Khalid, has been advised by race doctors that he is not fit to sail with the overall race leaders after suffering from a virus.

Antiguan newcomer, Louis Sinclair, 24, will take his place.

Bekking has lost his experienced bowman Laurent Pagès (FRA) for the leg after he tripped over some steps and broke two ribs on a trip home. “He wasn’t going to tell us but he could hardly walk,” said the Team Brunel skipper.

Team Alvimedica are using one of their experienced pre-race mentors, Stu Bannatyne (NZ), who has six Volvo Ocean Races under his belt, while Dongfeng Race Team’s Caudrelier has called upon the services of Irishman Damian Foxall.

The latter pair helped Groupama win the last edition in 2011-12.

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), meanwhile, are able to recall their talented bowman/driver Sophie Ciszek (AUS) who returns after missing the last two legs following a Christmas Day operation on a back injury.

MAPFRE may well be the team to beat. They won the last leg from Sanya, China to Auckland, without their usual skipper Martínez who has been preparing his bid for a second Olympic gold in Rio next year.

Their stand-in, Xabi Fernández, delivered a fourth place and a win in his absence, but Martínez assured the press conference that he was fully focused and raring to go on his return.

“I was still working very hard for the boat even when I wasn’t sailing,” he said. Missing the two legs had, he said, given him a useful perspective for reviewing his crewmates’ performance from afar.

Davies said her all-female crew had a particular incentive for reaching Itajaí in one piece and as quickly as possible.

“Several of the crew are looking for husbands and feel that Brazil is a good opportunity for them,” she smiled. “We’ll be going as fast as we can.”

Volvo Ocean Race Fleet round mark before heading out of Cape Town starting Leg 2  (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Volvo Ocean Race Fleet round mark before heading out of Cape Town starting Leg 2 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

– Gusts of up to 35 knots send fleet off to flyer

– Follow the race all the way on our app

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 19 – Skippers of the seven boats in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, which set out for the 6,125 nautical mile (nm) Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, left with warnings of possible cyclone activity and tropical storms ringing in their ears.

Race organisers took late measures to keep the 66 sailors away from the very worst of the weather on the Indian Ocean with a new exclusion zone leading to the Seychelles.

There were already zones in place to avoid icebergs in the Southern Ocean and the more unlikely menace of pirate attack further down the route on the east coast of the Indian Ocean.

The latter zone was being kept secret from the public to avoid the possibility of the fleet being intercepted.

From the very start on Wednesday (1800 local/1600 UTC), the sailors were given a taste of things to come with gusts of up to 35 knots kicking up a procession of white-capped waves.

It was a question of ‘don’t break your boat’ as most opted for conservative sail choices, while they wrestled to keep them under control and intact.

For the second leg start in a row, Team Brunel led the fleet out of port after wrestling the lead, first from MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), and then Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) who were well in the hunt.

Brunel and Mapfre leave Cape Town, South Africa at start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo © Chris Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

Brunel and Mapfre leave Cape Town, South Africa at start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo © Chris Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

 

The fleet will continue to sail in these gale-force conditions, which Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright (USA) described before the start as ‘heinous’.

“I think we’re all going to have to be pretty conservative,” he told the skippers’ press conference, just over 24 hours earlier. “This could be the worst sea state these boats have ever seen.”

Favourites for the leg are Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), who have barely made a false move since setting out from Alicante on October 11.

They followed their 12-minute win over Dongfeng Race Team in Leg 1 on November 5, by securing victory on Saturday in the Cape Town in-port race.

When asked if there were such a thing as ‘home advantage’ in sailing, Walker, 44, was determined to keep his crew’s feet on the ground – as well as his own.

“First we have to get there,” he smiled. “I’ll be happy just to get within range and then arrive in Abu Dhabi. There’s a fantastic welcome for everybody in store once we get there, that’s for sure.”

Team Vestas Wind surprised onlookers when a choir on board their support boat burst into song just prior to the start. Their message was loud and clear: ‘There’s an even more important race we must win – to save the environment’.

Leg 2 is expected to take between 22 to 28 days to complete, depending on conditions. The boats will remain in Abu Dhabi over Christmas and the New Year before setting sail again on January 3 for Sanya, China.

 

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leaving Cape Town, South Africa at start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo © Chris Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leaving Cape Town, South Africa at start of Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo © Chris Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

 

 

 

 

Abu Dhabi Racing Team, skippered by Ian Walker, win the In-Port acing Series in Cape Town, South Africa racking up more points (Photo © Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Racing Team, skippered by Ian Walker, win the In-Port acing Series in Cape Town, South Africa racking up more points (Photo © Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race

In-Port CAPE TOWN total
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 1 3
Team Brunel 2 6
Team Alvimedica 6 7
Team SCA 3 9
Dongfeng Race Team 4 9
MAPFRE 7 10
Team Vestas Wind 5 12

* Did Not Finish | ** Retired | *** Disqualified | **** Did Not Start

– Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing top of In-Port series

– Follow the race all the way on our app

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 15 – Ian Walker (GBR) and his Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew became the confirmed kings of Cape Town on Saturday, clinching the in-port race less than a week after arriving here as Leg 1 winners.

The victory, by just over a minute, leaves them on top of the In-port Race Series too, and bursting with confidence for Leg 2 which starts on Wednesday (November 19).

Only in the sprint to the finish line from the final mark on the eight-mile course on Saturday, did Walker’s men look under threat with Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) breathing down their necks.

The fleet was split from the start in challenging conditions in Table Bay, under the famous Table Mountain, with winds jumping dramatically between 12 and 20 knots and rain clouds threatening throughout.

Walker’s team from the Emirates have already shown that they can make the right decisions under the toughest of pressure, by edging out Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) by just 12 minutes in a thrilling Leg 1 climax last week after 25 days of sailing from Alicante to Cape Town.

November 15, 2014. The fleet during the  In-Port race in Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 15, 2014. The fleet during November 15, 2014. The fleet at the start of the In-Port race in Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

After some 20 minutes of racing on Saturday, they looked to have victory in the bag, especially after one of their rivals for the in-port series prize, Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), suffered a tear in their headsail.

The battle for second place soon grabbed the attention of most with Team SCA and Team Brunel in a thrilling showdown after the Dutch found a burst of pressure midway round.

Bekking had earlier told a press conference that the in-port series was not a big priority for him.

But he and his crew were plainly giving it 100 percent as they scrambled with Team SCA for the second rung of the poldium.

A problem with a gennaker failing to unfurl cleanly finally scuppered the efforts of the women’s crew to keep Bekking and co at bay and Team Brunel made one final effort to catch Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Once again, Walker was ready for the challenge and by the finish line had a winning margin of a couple of hundred metres from Team Brunel with Team SCA in third.

Results Cape town In-Port Race:
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 15:06:57 -1pt
2. Team Brunel (NED) 15:08:00 – 2pts
3. Team SCA (SWE) 15:09:04 – 3pts
4. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) 15:09:22 – 4pts
5. Team Vestas Wind (DEN) 15:11:25 – 5pts
6. Team Alvimedica (USA/TUR) 15:16:14 – 6pts
7. MAPFRE (ESP) 15:18:32 – 7pts

November 15, 2014. The fleet at the start of the In-Port race in Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 15, 2014. The fleet at the start of the In-Port race in Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

 

November 5, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing celebrate on stage after crossing the finish line in Cape Town as the winners of Leg 1. (Photo © Ian Roman/Volvo OCean Race)

November 5, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing celebrate on stage after crossing the finish line in Cape Town as the winners of Leg 1. (Photo © Ian Roman/Volvo OCean Race)

Leg 1 – Alicante to Cape Town

26 days at sea.


Times

In order of finish: Finish date Finish Time Elapsed Time
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 11/05/14  15:10:44 UTC  25d 3h 10m 44s
Dongfeng Race Team 11/05/14  15:22:48 UTC  25d 3h 22m 48s
Team Brunel  11/05/14  19:33:25 UTC  25d 7h 33m 25s
Team Vestas Wind  11/06/14  12:48:47 UTC  26d 00h 48m 47s
Team Alvimedica  11/07/14  01:07:38 UTC 26d 13h 07m 38s
Team SCA  11/07/14  11:37:49 UTC  26d 23h 37m 49s
MAPFRE   11/07/14  12:47:32 UTC  27d 00h 47m 32s

Stats

In order of finish: Sailed
distance (nm)
Max 24hr
distance (nm)
Max 1hr avg
speed (Knots)
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 8772,444 539,269 26,5
Dongfeng Race Team 8363,906 541,655 24,5
Team Brunel 8788,946 533,5 26,5
Team Vestas Wind 8531,5 522,7 23,8
Team Alvimedica  8405,5 489,5  27,9
Team SCA  8499,9  501,6  23,8
 MAPFRE  8525,9  477,5  21,7
November 05, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crosses the finish line winning Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town after 25 days of sailing.  (Photo copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

November 05, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crosses the finish line winning Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town after 25 days of sailing. (Photo copyright Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race )

Leg 1
DTL

(NM)

GAIN/LOSS

(NM)

DTF

(NM)

Speed

(kt)

ADOR
ADOR FIN – 025d 03h 10m 44s
DFRT
DFRT FIN – 025d 03h 22m 48s
TBRU
TBRU 0 61 45.9 15
VEST
VEST 172.9 52 218.7 7
ALVI
ALVI 306 59 351.8 15
MAPF
MAPF 395 62 440.9 20
SCA1
SCA1 424.4 60 470.2 19

–  Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing win by just 12 minutes

– Dongfeng Race Team chase Azzam to the finish

– Follow the race all the way on our app 

ALICANTE, Spain, Nov 5 – Ian Walker (GBR) and his Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing crew have barely snatched a wink of sleep for nearly 48 hours, but they will surely be celebrating deep into the night after an epic first leg victory in the Volvo Ocean Race on Wednesday.

November 5, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing celebrate after crossing the finish line in Cape Town as the winners of  Leg 1 (Photo copyright Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 5, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing celebrate after crossing the finish line in Cape Town as the winners of Leg 1 (Photo © Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race)

There have been many close finishes in the 41-year history of the event, but few will have been quite so tense for the victors, who have been feeling the hot breath of Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) down their necks for the best part of a week in the 6,487-nautical mile (nm) stage.

Even with the finish under Table Mountain in Cape Town in sight 2nm away, Walker could not relax, with wind in perilously short supply and the Chinese boat able to close again before Azzam finally claimed the hardest fought of victories.

The crossed the line at 1510 UTC, just 12 minutes before Dongfeng, after 25 days, three hours and 10 minutes of sailing.

The win is a personal triumph for 44-year-old Walker. The Briton was forced to motor miserably back into Alicante on the first night of the opening leg in 2011-12 after a Mediterranean storm dismasted his boat.

This time, he and the crew have barely made an error since setting out with the rest of the fleet on October 11 from Alicante, and their Volvo Ocean 65 has withstood everything that the Med and the Atlantic could throw at them.

But they still could not shake off Caudrelier’s crew, who tried all manner of manoeuvres, some under the cover of darkness, to get the better of the front-runners.

Walker, red-eyed after sleep deprivation for so long, was finally able to celebrate surely one of the sweetest wins of a career, which also includes two Olympic silver medals.

November 05, 2014. Skipper Ian Walker, Adil Khalid and Luke Parkinson on stage for the prize giving. Abu Dhabi was first of Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town.  ( Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 05, 2014. Skipper Ian Walker, Adil Khalid and Luke Parkinson on stage for the prize giving. Abu Dhabi was first of Leg 1 from Alicante to Cape Town. (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

“It’s quite emotional actually,” Walker told Race HQ, minutes after crossing the line.

“I didn’t think I would be – but that last couple of hours, they threw everything at us,” he smiled, “We’ve had people ride on our heels for the last 10 days or so. I must congratulate Dongfeng, an absolutely fantastic performance.”

Ian Walker greets Charles Caudrelier as Team Dongfeng docks and takes 2nd place just minutes after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing grabs first place in Leg 1 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Ian Walker greets Charles Caudrelier as Team Dongfeng docks and takes 2nd place just minutes after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing grabs first place in Leg 1 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

In contrast, Caudrelier looked like he had thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the chase and the opportunity to prove a point to those who doubted that his crew, that included two Chinese rookies, could seriously compete at the front of the fleet.

Dongfeng Race Team’s second place was all the more remarkable since twice their progress was slowed through damage to the boat; first through a smashed rudder and then through a shattered padeye, which caused a domino-effect of damage including a broken wheel.

Charles Caudrelier and Team Dongfeng  takes 2nd place just minutes after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing grabs first place in Leg 1 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Charles Caudrelier and Team Dongfeng takes 2nd place just minutes after Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing grabs first place in Leg 1 (Photo © Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Repeatedly over the past week, they have nibbled away at Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s lead, closing to within three nm shortly after daybreak on Wednesday.

But Walker and his team had sailed too well for too long to give victory away after such a struggle, and the crowd packing Cape Town’s famous V&A Waterfront gave them a reception they surely will never forget.

1st Place finish podium with Abu Dhabi Ocean  Racing Team led by Ian Walker (Photo by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing)

1st Place finish podium with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Team led by Ian Walker (Photo by Ian Roman/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing)

For the rest of the fleet, it’s now a battle for the minor places and equally hard-won points. Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) should take third spot later on Wednesday with Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) looking good for fourth.

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) are expected to be too far ahead to be caught in fifth, but MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) could yet have a big tussle for sixth and seventh spots before their expected arrival in Cape Town on Friday.

November 05, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leads at the end of Leg 1 on the approach of Cape Town finish line.  (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

November 05, 2014. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing leads at the end of Leg 1 on the approach of Cape Town finish line. (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Brunel leadt the fleet out of Alicante at the Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

Brunel leadt the fleet out of Alicante at the Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

 

Team Brunel leads fleet out of Alicante

– Around 50,000 flock to dockside to wish sailors fair winds

– Opening night 20-knot winds and rain to greet sailors

– Follow the race all the way with our new app

ALICANTE, Spain, October 11 – The seven-strong fleet of the 12th Volvo Ocean Race raced out of Alicante on Saturday for the punishing first leg to Cape Town with rains and strong winds forecast to greet them in the opening eight hours.

The Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo by Davis Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race )

The Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo by Davis Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race )

Team Brunel took the honours after the fleet bade farewell to a memorable Alicante nine-day stopover before heading out to the Mediterranean, through the Straits of Gibraltar and then into the Atlantic during the first week of a nine-month, 38,739-mile marathon.

Skippered by Bouwe Bekking, the Dutch boat headed the seven-strong fleet out of the Spanish coastal city which hosts the Race HQ and has given the 66 sailors competing in Leg 1 an incredible send-off with tens of thousands visiting the Race Village every day.

They were hotly pursued by both Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and MAPFRE.

Memories of the last “salida” (departure) from Alicante three years ago will still be fresh for many – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Sanya were forced to limp back to shore with crippling damage within 24 hours after an opening night storm in the Med wrought early havoc.

Goodbye hugs (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

Goodbye hugs (Photo by Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race)

There’s no such carnage predicted this time but Race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante suggested it will be “messy” from about 2200 local time (2000 UTC) on the first leg when rains are likely to drench the fleet and winds could pick up to around 20 knots.

Traditionally, boats who have won Leg 1 have gone on to win the entire race but Groupama bucked that trend in 2011-12 when they finished last of only three boats who managed to complete the 6,487 miles to Cape Town.

The French team, led by Franck Cammas, took time to get into their stride but eventually emerged as deserved winners by the time the fleet reached their home port of Lorient, the penultimate stopover.

Another close race is predicted again for 2014-15, especially with the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65 levelling the playing field, but for the 50,000 or so who packed the Alicante Race Village to wave the fleet on their way, the event has already proved a winner.

The Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo by Davis Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race )

Boats ready fpr the Start of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 (Photo by Davis Ramos/Volvo Ocean Race )

 Past New York Yacht Club Commodore Charles Townsend’s FIDELIO took first place in Classics Class 2 for Part I of Race Week FIDELIO, Sail Number: 351, Owner/Skipper: Charles Townsend, Class: Classic Rating Formula - Class 2, Yacht Type: S&S 39, Home Port: Middletown, RI, USA (Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)


Past New York Yacht Club Commodore Charles Townsend’s FIDELIO took first place in Classics Class 2 for Part I of Race Week
FIDELIO, Sail Number: 351, Owner/Skipper: Charles Townsend, Class: Classic Rating Formula – Class 2, Yacht Type: S&S 39, Home Port: Middletown, RI, USA
(Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)

After sailing in fresh breezes Saturday, 26 pristine classic yachts, divided into four classes, were faced with challenging 20-25 knot winds on Sunday that determined their overall positions in Part I of New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex. The biennial event, in its ninth edition, is known for its split format whereby IRC, PHRF and One-Design Racing sailors will get their shot at the action during Part II, scheduled for this Wednesday through Saturday (July 16-19).

Wrapping up Part I with impressive first-place finishes across the board were Gunther Buerman’s (Newport, R.I.) New Zealand (KZ-3) in 12 Metre Class and past New York Yacht Club Commodore Charles Townsend’s (Middletown, R.I.) Sparkman & Stephens 39 Fidelio in Classics Class 2 (Spinnaker).

“I think that this was the breeziest two-day regatta that we’ve participated in, at least in a long time, but Fidelio likes the heavier winds, so this was our weekend,” said Townsend, adding that all classes on both days raced north of Newport’s Pell Bridge on Narragansett Bay. “I think the lighter-air boats were struggling more during this regatta, and the heavier-air boats were struggling less; however, all of us struggle when it gets over 20 knots like it did today!  For the final race of the day, Fidelio was really on her ear; seldom does she heel over like that.”

The S-Class, the oldest one-design class still actively racing and sailing in its original boats, certainly felt the power of the wind today, as five of the eight boats competing either did not finish or did not compete in the second and final race. “It was an interesting weekend with lots of ups and downs,” said Walter Bopp (Greenwich, Conn.) who luckily experienced more “ups.” His Mischief won the class overall, despite starting prematurely (and restarting) in two of the four series races.  “Today was quite rough in terms of wind, but we worked as a team and hung in there,” said Bopp. “This is a great event to compete in. The New York Yacht Club Race Committee really runs some first-class racing.”

Due to today’s brisk conditions, the Race Committee was able to make a seat-of-the-pants decision to send the Classics Class 1 (Non-Spinnaker) on an 18-mile course around Prudence Island. (The class had yesterday sailed two Navigator Courses, using government marks, while the others raced around-the-buoys.) Jed Pearsall’s (Newport, R.I.) 50-foot P Class Sloop Chips took first place in the race and claimed overall victory in the class, as well. “We have never raced around Prudence Island before, so I think it was good, because nobody had a home-court advantage,” said Pearsall, a Race Week veteran. “What was great was that our entire fleet was so close in distance throughout the entire race. It made the competition really exciting; we have had a fantastic day and a fantastic weekend.”

For results and photos, visit www.nyyc.org. Nightly videos produced by T2p.tv are available on the website and at http://bit.ly/1q8JEVD after each day of racing. For more information, contact NYYC Racing Director Brad Dellenbaugh at dellenbaugh@nyyc.org or (401) 845-9633. “Like” us on the NYYC Regattas Facebook page and use official event hashtag #NYYCRaceWeek when posting on social media platforms.
12 Metres LAURA, VICTORY and INTREPID during Part I of Race Week LAURA, Sail Number: KZ5, Owner/Skipper: Kip Curren, Class: Classics - One Design, Yacht Type: 12 Metre, Home Port: Warwick, RI, USA VICTORY 83, Sail Number: K 22, Owner/Skipper: Dennis Williams, Class: Classics - One Design, Yacht Type: 12 Metre, Home Port: Hobe Sound, FL, USA INTREPID, Sail Number: US 22, Owner/Skipper: Jack Curtin, Class: Classics - One Design, Yacht Type: 12 Metre, (Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)

12 Metres LAURA, VICTORY and INTREPID during Part I of Race Week
LAURA, Sail Number: KZ5, Owner/Skipper: Kip Curren, Class: Classics – One Design, Yacht Type: 12 Metre, Home Port: Warwick, RI, USA VICTORY 83, Sail Number: K 22, Owner/Skipper: Dennis Williams, Class: Classics – One Design, Yacht Type: 12 Metre, Home Port: Hobe Sound, FL, USA INTREPID, Sail Number: US 22, Owner/Skipper: Jack Curtin, Class: Classics – One Design, Yacht Type: 12 Metre, (Photo by Rolex/Daniel Forster)

(Top-three Results Follow)
Place, Yacht Name, Owner/Skipper, Hometown, Results, Total Points
Classics – Class 1 (non-spinnaker) (CRF – 5 Boats)
1. Chips, Jed Pearsall , USA – 1, 3, 1, ; 5
2. Angelita, Skelsey / Croll , USA – 2, 1, 2, ; 5
3. Black Watch, Trevor Fetter , USA – 3, 2, 6/DNF, ; 11
Classics – Class 2 (spinnaker) (CRF – 7 Boats)
1. Fidelio, Charles Townsend , USA – 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 4
2. Belle, Jonathan Loughborough , USA – 3, 2, 2, 3, ; 10
3. Vixen (spin), Andrew Norris , USA – 5, 5, 3, 2, ; 15
12 Metres (One Design – 5 Boats)
1. New Zealand (GP), Gunther Buerman , USA – 1, 1, 1, 1, ; 4
2. Victory 83, Dennis Williams , USA – 2, 2, 5, 4, ; 13
3. KZ5 Laura (GP), Kip Curren , USA – 6/OCS, 3, 4, 2, ; 15
Herreshoff S Class (One Design – 8 Boats)
1. Mischief, Walter Bopp , USA – 5, 2, 2, 2, ; 11
2. OSPREY, Michael McCaffrey , USA – 2, 3, 1, 9/DNF, ; 15
3. Aquila, Geoffrey Davis , USA – 3, 1, 3, 9/DNF, ; 16

Photos of the New York Yacht Club Race Week Classic Racing by Rolex/Daniel Forster

New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014 New York Yacht Club Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex 2014