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)

 

 

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 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)

Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2013 Ambiance (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

2013 marks the first edition of the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean, held at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s new clubhouse in the sailing paradise of the British Virgin Islands. The event is organized by Rolex, Nautor’s Swan and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, who have established close ties through organizing the Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia since the early 1980s.

A full fleet of Swan yachts, an alluring playground and four days of intense racing: all hallmarks of the upcoming Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean. Commencing today, Monday 11 March, the event will be held over the next 5 days at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda’s recently launched base on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

Swan yachts ranging from 12.98 metres (42 foot) to 30.20m (100 ft) and representing countries including Belgium, Italy, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States make up the entry list. Competing Swans will be divided into two groups: Class A (Maxi), measuring upwards of 18.29m/60-ft; and, Class B, reserved for yachts measuring less than 18.29m.

Registration took place today, followed by the opening reception on the spectacular terrace of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Competition on the water starts tomorrow, Tuesday 12 March, and the round Virgin Gorda race is scheduled for Wednesday 13 March. Ideal sailing conditions are forecast.

A range of Swans will grace the event: from historic Sparkman & Stephens models including Hokusai (FIN), Lianda (BEL) and Swan Lake (USA) through to more modern designs from German Frers including the Swan 90 Freya (USA) which is also taking part and was the 2,000th yacht to be built by Nautor in Finland.

Other Class A entries include Varsovie, the largest competing yacht, the Swan 80 Selene and Stark Raving Mad a Swan 601, whose crew has enjoyed a successful last twelve months. In Class B, the week’s smallest entrant – the Club Swan 42 Arethusa (USA) – is using the waters of the Caribbean to continue preparations for September’s New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.

Crews will need to marry sharp tactics and cohesive teamwork to prevail in a fleet renowned for sportsmanship and graceful sailing. The week’s standout performers will be rewarded at the final prizegiving, on Friday 15 March, where the Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean Trophy will be presented.

Rolex Swan Cup Caribbean 2013 Dockside (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi)

The eagerly anticipated event marks a continuation of the long-standing relationship between Nautor’s Swan, Rolex and the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, which commenced in 1984 with the first edition of the now biennial Rolex Swan Cup in Porto Cervo, Sardinia.

James Blakeman’s Music day one (Photo by Rolex / Carlo Borlenghi Borlenghi)

ENTRIES 2013

 
Boat Name L.O.A. Country Designer Builder Model
Arethusa 12,98mt USA   Nautor s Swan 42
Catch 22 14,85mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 48
Creuza de ma 19,80mt USA S & S Nautor s Swan 65
Eclipse 14,36mt FIN Frers Nautor s Swan 46
Fenix 18,85mt GBR Frers Nautor s Swan 60
Freya 25,90mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 90
Glisse 19,82mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 62
High Yield 13,83mt GER Frers Nautor s Swan 45
Hokusai 13,48mt FIN S & S Nautor s Swan 44
Island Water World 13,83mt NL Frers Nautor s Swan 45
Lianda 17,50mt BEL S & S Nautor s Swan 57
Music 16,48mt GBR Frers Nautor s Swan 53
Nai a 16,51mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 53
Northern Child 15,54mt GBR Frers Nautor s Swan 51
Olivia Lee 17,06mt   Frers Nautor s Swan 56
Selene 24,37mt BVI Frers Nautor s Swan 80
Stark Raving Mad 18,28mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 601
Swan Lake 18,00mt USA S & S Nautor s Swan 57
Tenacity 17,06mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 56
Varsovie 30,20mt CAY Frers Nautor s Swan 100
White Rhino 17,06mt USA Frers Nautor s Swan 56
 
 
Majan On Her Maiden Voyage (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Oman Sail)

Majan On Her Maiden Voyage (Photo by Mark Lloyd / Oman Sail)

In breathtaking style the giant A100 Trimaran ‘Majan’ shot across the Cape Town start line of the third leg of the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race just off Table Bay harbour’s breakwater at exactly midday (12:00 Local time) today to track a course down south to the treacherous seas of the Southern Ocean for her next stop in Fremantle, Australia.

 

Majan

With skipper Paul Standbridge, one of the world’s top sailors and the former manager of South Africa’s America’s Cup Team Shosholoza, at the helm, and the start perfectly timed to coincide with the daily firing of the noon day gun from Cape Town’s landmark Signal Hill, the magnificent speed machine, which has utterly captivated Capetonians during her brief stay in the city, quickly built pace of over 23 knots in a brisk 14 knot south westerly breeze and dark rain threatening skies.

On the crew is world famous French round the world sailor Sidney Gavignet,crack French America’s Cup sailor Thierry Douillard, former Team Shosholoza sailor Michael Giles from Port Elizabeth, Omani sailor Mohsin Al Busaidi who became the first Arab to sail non-stop around the world last year, Mohammed Al Ghailani a young Omani trainee sailorand Olympic sailor Mark Covell who is the media crew on board.

Earlier the crew of Majan were given a rousing dockside farewell from family, newly made local friends and young sailors from the Izivunguvungu Foundation for Youth in Simonstown who were thrilled to tour the yacht and meet the crew just minutes before they cast off.

Cape Town is a designated as the first stopover for the race which is planned in 2012. Conceived by OC Events and campaigned by Oman Sail, the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race will be the first ever yacht race to link the Middle East, Africa, Australia and Asia and the first ever race of its kind in the Indian Ocean.

It will feature “city start lines” in Muscat, Cape Town, Fremantle (Australia) and Singapore and five “Cape” finish lines – Cape Ras Al Hadd off Oman, Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point of Africa, Cape Leeuwin on South West Australia, Cape Piai, the southernmost point of Mainland Asia, just west of Singapore and Cape Comorin on the southern tip of India. This next leg to Fremantle which will involve racing across the frozen and treacherous Southern Ocean will be one of the most exhilarating and dangerous of the course, before reaching the warmth of Cape Leeuwin and Australia’s west coast.

Majan

For sailors, the Southern Ocean is the vague term for the Southern Seas and the underworld where no land separates the oceans.

Below 40 degrees of latitude, a series of low pressure systems continuously ‘roar’ and move towards the east without being blocked by any land mass. Down there, the crew of Majan will find themselves in the Grey World – one of the most remote and dangerous parts of the planet.

Flag

Writing on his blog while at sea soon after the start Mohsin Al Busaidi said: “As we waved goodbye to the new friends we made in Cape Town, it was time to mentally prepare ourselves for the toughest leg yet to Fremantle, Australia. It’s an overcast, warm day. The wind is light, around 8 knots. We’re heading south out of Table Bay. The mood onboard is a mixture of excitement to be back on Majan and anticipation about entering the Southern Ocean – we have a great team and a great boat, it’s going to be an amazing adventure.”

The A100 trimaran ‘Majan’left Muscat, Oman, last month on 6th February and stopped briefly in the Maldives while en route to Cape Town to traces out this new course via 5 great Capes. She crossed the proposed new race finish line at Cape Agulhas – the second cape on the course – at 16:02:57 GMT, 13 days, 6 hours and 57 seconds after leaving the Maldives.

Majan and Musandam in The Maldives Skippers Paul Standbridge and Loik Gallon (Photo courtesy of Oman Sail)

Majan and Musandam in The Maldives Skippers Paul Standbridge and Loik Gallon (Photo courtesy of Lloyd Images/Oman Sail)

 

One of the best things about the Indian Ocean 5 Capes Race route is that each individual leg provides its own unique challenges whether it be extreme temperatures, strong currents or gale force winds.

Either way you can guarantee that Musandam and the crew on board are going to tackle these challenges head on and with a bit of old fashioned grit and determination and come out the other side as better people and sailors for it. The first leg from Muscat to the Maldives certainly did this. With an unpleasant first night at sea to the unpredictable high pressure dominating the northern stretches of the Indian Ocean we certainly had our fair share of varying challenges. “The first challenge for me was allowing my mind and body to adapt the routine at sea”, Haitham tells me, “Once I had got used to the three hours sleeping followed by three hours on deck it became a lot smoother for me”.

Hooch, Nawaf, Haythem and Nobi In The Maldives (Photo courtesy of Oman Sail)

Hooch, Nawaf, Haythem and Nobi In The Maldives (Photo courtesy of Oman Sail)

For Haitham and Nawaf this is all new to them. Six months ago they both knew very little about the sailing world and as their team mate I can vouch for the excellent way they are improving and learning new things about maintaining and sailing of these powerful trimarans. Upon arrival to the Maldives, Musandam was met by an armada of support boats waving and shouting their support as the crossed the finish line off the island of Male. “Seeing all the boats welcome us here all waving the Omani flag was overwhelming and it struck home how significant our role is”. It is clear chatting with Haitham and Nawaf that the tone in their voice is one of excitement and its evident that they are thriving in the ambassadorial role that they are playing.
Since arriving in the Maldives the past few days have been spent preparing and restocking Musandam whilst also allowing some time for some rest before the next leg. Although we would all love to stay in this beautiful place, we are all itching to get back out on the water and take on the challenges that they next leg will throw at us. Next stop….Cape Town!
 

Blog entry by Nick Houchin aboard Musandam

velux-5-oceans-race-by-onedition

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston At Velux 5 Oceans Finish In 2007 (Photo by OnEdition)

VELUX 5 OCEANS’ The Ultimate Solo Challenge
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the oldest single-handed round the world yacht race. Run every 4 years since 1982, the race is the longest and toughest event for any individual in any sport. The VELUX 5 OCEANS is a series of five high-pressure ocean sprints within a marathon circumnavigation. In the course of the 30,000 mile race, the skippers cross five oceans alone.

Only nine months remain until the start of the VELUX 5 OCEANS and the various pieces of the jigsaw continue to come together. All the ingredients are being put in place for the eighth edition of the classic singlehanded round the world race, which should create one of the most successful events in the prestigious twenty eight year history of  The  Ultimate  Solo Challenge.  To date, Clipper Ventures, in close partnership with title sponsor VELUX, have announced a number of positive and innovative key elements of the race:

•5 ocean sprints within a 30,000 marathon around the planet, departing La Rochelle (France) on October 17th 2010 and bringing solo offshore racing directly to audiences in Cape Town (South Africa), Wellington (New Zealand), Salvador (Brazil) and Charleston (USA), before returning to La Rochelle in May 2011

•The start dates for each ocean sprint will be announced in the coming weeks, with world class services provided to skippers in each port

•The race prizegiving in La Rochelle will take place on June 6th 2011

•Nine confirmed international entries from seven different countries in the promising Eco 60 Class, with four already announced from Canada, USA, Belgium and Poland, and with more entries to come soon

•The Eco 60 Class is an exciting new class in the Open 60 range for boats built before 2003 to open the race to adventurers without big budgets and embracing sustainability

•Strong interest in the Open 60 Class, which remains open to all skippers with Open 60s built after January 2003

•€500,000 prizemoney for skippers, to be split across the fleets and 5 ocean sprints, including awards for media work, seamanship and sustainability actions

•€21,000 investment per team in accommodation for the stopovers around the world

•€15,000 minimum per team to be invested in onboard communications and logistics, with details to be announced in the coming months

•€2.6 million to be invested in media activities for skippers, including audio-visual production and distribution, photography, cutting edge digital activation and press relations in key territories around the world, with a target to deliver in excess of €80 million of media value for teams and partners

•The launch of TAKING ON THE ELEMENTS, the race sustainability agenda which will see stakeholders (organisers, partners, ports and skippers) making a commitment to promote sustainable living through the race platform (communication, race village, Eco 60 Class)

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Chairman of Clipper Ventures and the VELUX 5 OCEANS, concluded, “Our vision for the VELUX 5 OCEANS is to offer the most challenging single handed ocean racing format. The VELUX 5 OCEANS in 2010 aims to support new talent, encourage global participation and bring ocean racing to large audiences around the world, embracing and promoting the shared value of sustainability. We are offering outstanding support to skippers and teams, as well as sponsors, covering five continents and spanning nine months, with significant investments across team budgets and communications.”

“The VELUX 5 OCEANS has a unique heritage and a special place in the solo ocean racing calendar. Only 90 people have so far completed the challenge and it has always attracted an internationally diverse group of skippers, many of whom have become star names in sailing, including Philippe Jeantot, Bernard Stamm, Giovanni Soldini and Kojiro Shiraishi. The promising Eco 60 Class has brought a new dimension to the race and the interest in the Open 60 Class for the latest generation of racing yachts remains strong. Clipper Ventures and VELUX look forward to welcoming everyone to La Rochelle in October to celebrate the spirit of singlehanded offshore racing”

Groupama 3 On The Way To Lorient (Photo courtesy of Team Groupama)

Groupama 3 On The Way To Lorient (Photo courtesy of Team Groupama)

 

Expected to make landfall in Lorient early yesterday evening, in the end it took Groupama 3 until 2330 hours to tie up in her home port in an absolute downpour. Soaked to the skin but happy, the crew of the maxi trimaran took 16 and a half days to make it back from Cape Town, South Africa. Welcomed home by Franck Cammas and his team, the ten crew will now be able to enjoy a much deserved break as the technicians take over to prepare Groupama 3 for a fresh attempt to conquer the Jules Verne Trophy the minute the weather conditions are favourable at the start of 2010. 

Wearing a beard, the features slightly drawn despite a big, telling smile of pleasure on making landfall, Fred Le Peutrec is a fulfilled skipper: “The delivery trip went very smoothly with a crew made up of some excellent sailors, half of which were on Groupama 3 for the first time. We’ve sailed well and I really appreciated the role of skipper, which requires you to shoulder a large amount of responsibility and to make decisions in view of what were difficult weather forecasts at times, particularly over recent days”. However, Fred is also a happy man: “We’re all delighted about making it home and seeing our families and children again to celebrate Christmas, which will certainly be joyful albeit a little late”.

Seated at the table despite the late hour (thank you to the team at La Base restaurant), the sailors and landlubbers didn’t waste any time exchanging their impressions of the voyage, giving their opinion about Groupama 3 and about the work which will ensue: “It really is a superb boat, that is very pleasant to helm. She never stops but she does require a great deal of attention” says Ludovic Aglaor, the current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy, who came along especially to see his friends Jacques Caraës and Ronan Le Goff.

Alongside him, Clément Surtel continues: “Each time it was my turn at the helm, the first ten minutes were stressful as I was only just finding my feet on Groupama 3, which is very sensitive. The following fifty minutes were a pure delight, to the extent that I found it hard to give up my position to the next person. I really appreciated the atmosphere onboard too. It was fantastic”.

As for Eric Lamy, a full-time member of the Groupama team for a number of years, he will shoulder the role of Boat Captain at the end of the Jules Verne Trophy. The pleasure he experienced when sailing was only equalled by seeing his two daughters and his wife again: “The climb up the Atlantic was really great and I now know my way around Groupama 3 really well. She goes very quickly. When you’re helming and you see the number 37 indicating the boat speed, you tell yourself how lucky you are to be where you are. It’s magical” concludes the very talented sailor and cook.

Passing from group to group, Franck Cammas thanks the crew which have returned Groupama 3 safely back to port. Already the list of work to be carried out over the next few days is taking shape in the skipper’s mind: “We’re going to change the standing rigging as it’s already covered over half a circumnavigation of the globe and it would be risky to keep it. We’re also going to reinforce the centreline on the aft edge of the floats where the engineers have identified a weak point. The rest of the work will now focus on the smaller details due to the normal wear and tear after 16,000 miles on the water”.

Happy to see his men and his trimaran again, Cammas hasn’t lost sight of his objective, the Jules Verne Trophy: “We’re closely monitoring the evolution in the weather with Sylvain Mondon from Météo France. For the time being there is no weather window. As such Fred (Le Peutrec), Ronan (Le Goff) and Jacco (Caraës), who all made the delivery trip aboard Groupama 3, will be able to get some rest before setting off around the world with the same crew as during our last attempt”.

With the lateness of the hour, the crew gradually leave La Base to get home to a dry, motionless bed. On the pontoon, it’s now over to the technicians to be on watch. 

 

The crew of Groupama 3 for this delivery trip were:
1. Fred Le Peutrec
2. Ronan Le Goff
3. Jacques Caraës
4. Eric Lamy
5. François Salabert
6. Clément Surtel
7. Ludovic Aglaor
8. Thierry Duprés du Vorsent
9. Mayeul Riflet
10. Nick Legatt