Friday, 17 November 2017

VolvoOceanRace steps up its Media reporting

What is the largest change this edition to former editions of VolvoOceanRace?

Not so much the Boats. The VO65 One-Design boat was already used last time and intended for 3 VOR editions.
Not so much Ladies sailing the VOR. Last edition there was a ladies Boat, SCA and this time indeed not a full ladies boat but all Boats have a mixed gender crew albeit in different percentages.
Not so much the route, as the VOR fleet , still sails East wards around the Globe, be it that this version spend some more miles in the Southern Ocean.

It is, in my view, the Media coverage of the VOR.
The positive aspects from this is dramatic more information on the race, analyses of weather etc. 

VOR race status

Where last VOR edition, there was a lack on decent race information, and many people complaining, me included. The VOR did not have a daily progress show, did not have weather forecasts let alone leg reviews, to explain a little the chosen strategies of boats and how the winner made there Victory. Luckily there was Mark Chisnell on the B&G website with a regular review and preview of the Leg.
This edition , however, is full of information. The In-Port race are fully live broadcasted on Internet and still available in the Video library  or on Youtube; links available under the above Tab "Video" in my blog.
Also commentary with some sailing details to explain, choices from skippers and explanation on favorable tracks. 
Same applies for the Leg Start circuit. For the Leg's there are details previews of weather systems and probable best routes as well as detailed reviews of a Leg. Fantastic information that helps us skippers at the wall, or armchair virtual sailors understand the finesses of Ocean Sailing. 

Daily there is a Daily Live show at 1300UTC, with status of the race, preview of wind systems, explanation by specialists of issues that have an impact on the sailing speed, e.g. the effects of a rain shower on the wind, and some reports from the crews on board the Boat. And a short Quick Fix at 800 UTC
On Twitter there are regular , race status updates by the "race experts" with each 6 hrs a fresh location and tracking update. 
On top of that, some very good Leg previews and reviews made by Mark Chisnell with very detailed and good explained information on how and why the Boats sailed as they did, and explaining the reasons for a Leg Victory.

Also the VOR website has improved on the information on the race; last edition I wrote  to them already to improve on that as the VOR in the end is a Sailing Race. The Dashboard gives with a tracker a good view on boats positions , tracks sailed and since some days even a router to tell which is the best route for the Boats to the Finish. Also  detailed tables with ranking, DTL, distance to Leader, gain/losses, course , speed , VMG and other real wind info. Very Good. 

The Boats themselves also make a lot of video and audio reports. All in all a lot to view and read and for interested people to get clued to the performances till the Finish.

A minor negative aspect from this extra media attention, was the extension during Leg 1, in order to delay the arrival in Lisbon to come closer to the original publish arrival time. Only now I hope that VOR management does not do this every or most coming Leg Finishes.  

There is one thing that I would like to improve, still. 
Nowhere is the information given on the location of the Boats, I mean the Longitude and Latitude during the regular status reports; this could easily be added to the windows that open while clicking on a Boat. Ok, you can make a kind of work around, by looking in the tracker with the grid engaged, but still.

VOR go on, this will make the armchair sailors happy.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Donfeng enjoys a good Start in VOR Leg 2

It was a flying Start from our Flying Dutchman, on Brunel, in the Lisbon Leg 2 start, where Mapfre, Clean Seas and AkzoNobel were slow over the line.

Brunel changed shortly later to a larger sail, only to see Dongfeng and Vestas passing them; so again a sail change to combat them.

Donfeng already leading under the bridge

On the rounding it was Dongfeng 1st, Vestas 2nd and Brunel 3rd. 
In the downwind leg, it showed that now Vestas had hoisted a sail too large to develop the necessary speed; they dropped to the end of the Fleet.

The winds were strong, a little patchy here and there though. Dongfeng was the 1st to sail into the Atlantic followed closely by Brunel, starting their 7000 Nm to Cape Town. Some highlights of Helicopter views.

The forecast is strong northerly breeze for the next days, making big progress towards Canary Islands.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Start VolvoOceanRace Leg 2: Lisbon to Cape Town

Today Sunday 5 November 2017 at 1400 UTC will be the Start of VolvoOceanRace Leg 2.

The wind forecast is strong winds possibly upto 20 kts.

The Leg will start with the Boats having to sail a start circuit close to Lisbon, which looking at the wind conditions and the perfect show in the In-Port Race yesterday, will be an exciting and challenging event. The starter circuit is said to be an upward stretch on the river Tagus till the Lisbon city, before heading out to the Atlantic. 

As normal, the Starter circuit sailing will be live on internet via the VolvoOceanRace website and starting around 13:45 UTC

The Leg 2 course has no further Marks to sail around. The Navigators have all freedom to choose the best route to Cape Town. Will this make it easier or not?
With all the freedom, I hope that we see some split in the strategies to make it a real race of opponents, rather than a long line of Boats one after the other.

A preview of conditions on route can be read here: Leg 2 Preview

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Mirpuri Lisbon In-Port Race with epic win for Brunel

It was a relatively short race course in Lisbon for these big VO65 sailing boats with a strong wind, enhanced by some rain showers and squalls, as icing on the cake to make this an exciting In-Port Race. 

Start Mirpuri Lisbon In-Port Race

The Start was delayed somewhat, to observe the variations of the windshift. But then, all Boats started, most on Starboard tack but Clean Sea and Akzo Nobel on Port tack. Brunel was not the fastest but pushed Maphre and tacked as first, and was the leader on the top mark rounding, followed nicely by Clean Seas.
Clean Seas came back strong and taken the lead on rounding the bottom Mark. Later however Clean Seas fell back.

Vestas had the slow start and later on received a starboard-port penalty, causing her to end up in the back of the fleet. 
Maphre was also a slow starter, squeezed between Brunel and Vestas sailing some legs in 5-6 place, but recovered in later legs.

Brunel pushing Mapfre on last Mark

Brunel was strong all race, with a leading roll in all but one Mark rounding. In the last 2 Legs Maphre came up strong, but using a wind sqall just before the last Mark , Brunel rounded this just on Maphre's bow. Brunel than pushing Mapfre as leeward boat into the wind causing her to stall and allow Brunel to spear away to the finish. 

Brunel wins just ahead of Mapfre


Mapfre came still close but Brunel kept a cool head and took the Victory. 

A link to videos of this In-Port Race, Full and Highlights, and other VOR Leg races is available in my Video Tab

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Lisbon VOR In-Port Race

The VolvoOceanRace VOR 2017-2018 continues on Friday 3 November with the Lisbon In-Port Race. 

It is thus a short Stop in Lisbon, as tomorrow all Boats battle it out again in an In-Port race. 

START for Lisbon In-Port Race is: 14:00 UTC (which is now also local time)

The course for The Mirpuri Foundation Lisbon In-Port Race is here

Course The Mirpuri Foundation Lisbon In-Port Race

The wind forecast is good, winds South_West with a 15 kts windspeed. That will be a fierce battle with high boatspeeds. 

Normally a live video is shown of the race and can be found on the VOR website , starting some minutes before the start.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Vestas wins Leg 1 in VOR 2017-2018

Vestas wins in Lisbon the VOR 2017-2018 edition first Leg from Alicante to Lisbon. Vestas continues with this Victory the win in the last Leg of the previous VOR. 

Would this be a first sign for the final Victory for this VOR? I heard some stories the last days, that told that a Boat that wins a first Leg , wins the Overall; seems indeed better chances than statistical stated.

Vestas, did earn their Victory in honor. Vestas had the courage to choose a different strategy and divert from the heard , that courage has been  rewarded with a fine win in Lisbon

See the Highlights of Leg 1 Alicante - Lisbon

The scoreboard for the VOR 2017-2018 looks as follows.

The count in this VOR is a max. score, so boats with the mosts points win. The winner of a Leg gets a bonus point so motivate more for a sharp sailing competition. (see some other deviating scoring rules in the Tab Scorecard above)

Friday, 27 October 2017

Vestas adventure in Leg 1 pays off so far.

With Leg 1 the VolvoOceanRace 2017-2018 has started and though it is a short Leg to get the hang of it, it for sure is not easy sailing.

As the VO65 are One-Design boats, it does not pay off if you keep sailing in the same winds as your opponents. Vestas and Mapfre have understood this and diverted on their separate course from the main fleet.

Now Vestas has a nice lead on Mapfre, who has a nice lead on the rest of the fleet battling it out close together in the tail of the fleet. 

Leg 1 Vestas leading

A big surprise in this Leg (though announced timely) is that that has been added an extra Mark, north of the existing mark at Porto Santo. This is mainly done for commercial reasons but not for the racing events, ( there is no public at the extra Mark to see the passage of the Boats). The VOR cy. are aiming for an arrival in Lisbon at Saturday  , I guess only to get more publicity. I really do not hope that commerce will influence the VOR more than this, and the other Legs will be sailed as the course is given at the Start. 

Vestas go for it, you Adventurous strategy till now is paying off and leaves the settled and experienced VOR crews behind.