Monday, 16 October 2017

MAPFRE takes first Victory in Alicante In-Port race.

MAPFRE have shown in the preparation time, the Zero Leg and the Prologue already that they are a strong sailing team and now with a Victory in the Alicante In-Port Race, they have given a warning to the other Boats. 

MAPFRE rounding the 1st buoy as leader.

Allicante offered a nice Easterly breeze of about 8 Knts, a good condition for nice sailing. Mapfre had not such a good start, crossing the start line as penultimate Boat, but they had a different strategy, sailing on Port tack on the 1st leg. It paid off as they were first at the top buoy and even could make an extra tack, which costed them some boat-lengths but that played into their strategy to continue. They sailed away and had no danger from the other boats anymore; GREAT strategy, maybe due to their local knowledge.

The fight for the other Podium places was fierce with many changes in positions.
Vestas and Clean Seas had a good start.  On 1st leg, Sun Hung Kai followed Mapfre and Dongfeng was 3rd, Vestas lost some ground, Clean the Tide was last as they make some more tacks.
On the 1st downwind leg, Dongfeng sailed fast but looked to sail too far to the coast, allowing Brunel to take 2nd place from 6th , Vestas 3rd. 
Vestas tacked on the 2nd rounding of the top mark but got a problem in the tack, causing Brunel to slow down, with Dongfeng on their stern.
Dongfeng again sailed fast on the 2nd downwind leg passing Vestas and crossed just ahead of Brunel this time.
Brunel sailed well on the last upwind leg, and crossed ahead of Vestas now though the difference on rounding the mark was negligible. Such that Vestas could pass Brunel on the final donwwind leg and take the Podium.

The scorecard for In-Port Races looks like below after the 1st race. This scorecard will only help Boats in the ultimate VOR results as a tie-breaker when the score between Boats in the Legs scorecard resulted in a tie. 
Scorecard after Alicante In=Port

Next main event is the Start of Leg 1 Alicante to Lisbon on 22 October 2017 at 12:00 UTC.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Breaking News: AkzoNobel kicks Simeon Tienpont skipper out.


From a Dutch sailing magazine I learned that  Team AkzoNobel has removed their skipper Simeon Tienpont from their VOR-team, just one day ahead of the start of the VolvoOceanRace (VOR) 2017-2018 competition that starts with the Alicante In-Port race, today in Alicante at 12:00 UTC

Simeon Tienpont in better days.

The reason given is a contractual dispute, but no further details have been announced. I read this statement of AkzoNobel Race Team.
Whaaw this is something,  AkzoNoble's first participation on the VOR and starting without a Captain. Who will be the captian for this team in this heavy Round the World Sailing Race?

Friday, 13 October 2017

VolvoOceanRace starts for real with Alicante In-Port Race tomorrow

Preparation time comes to an end as the real Sailing for results starts tomorrow with the Alicante In-Port Sailing Race , Saturday 14 October at 1200 UTC.

Till now, the Boats and crews in the upcoming VolvoOceanRace (VOR) have done some sailing, also in competitive races, but none of them were counting for the overall results. That is about to be changed, by the start of real race, like the Alicante In-Port race, followed a week later with the start of Leg 1 Alicante to Lisbon on 22 October. 

The Leg Zero , which actually consisted of 4 independent races , was  a nice opportunity for the boats to compare with the other boats, to learn and to adjust to sail closer to the performance of the other Boats. The Prologue, a race from Lisbon to the Alicante start, was a disaster , sailing crews will have learned from the light wind conditions and patchy windshits as well though. The disappointment comes mainly from the VOR cy, changes to the motoring of the boats from Lisbon in stead of the sailing and the shortening of the route, by relocating the finish from Alicante to the South coast of Spain. I really do hope that this kind of "adjustments" of route will not occur during the real VOR races. 

Alicante VOR Race Village

A Map for the In-Port race, has just been shown and for easy reference I copied it below.
Course Alicante In-Port race

Also normally there would be a live-internet coverage, but that I have not seen any information on. 
Edit 14 Oct.: there will be live coverage on internet, just before 1200 GMT check it out on website VolvoOceanRace

On the right side I have a weather wind forecast for the Winds in Alicante, trust the forecast of Easterly wind10 kts is plenty to make the event interesting to watch.

I would suggest to keep an eye on the VOR website and the VOR channel on Youtube as most likely that will show the In-Port race.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Prologue VolvoOceanRace 2017-2018 - Final Training

Sunday 8th October 2017, all 7 Boats in the VolvoOceanRace(VOR) 2017-2018 will start from Lisbon for a final training and qualifying Leg to Alicante, the Start of the VOR 2017-2018.

After the earlier common training races, Zero Leg races, this will be the final option to fine tune and test the One-Design VO65 Boats with the sail settings amongst each other before the real VOR-race will start. No doubt the skippers and sailors will observe each other on this Prologue to gain the last insights as to how to sail a little faster than the other participants.

The qualifier for the VOR 2017-18 was the Leg Zero, a combination of 4 mini-races: 

  • a race around the isle of Wight, during the Cowes week
  • The Rolex Fastnet Rock race, 
  • a race from Plymouth to Saint-Malo, 
  • a race from Saint-Malo to Lisbon, where all Boats will be inspected and where required repaired before the start of the VOR.

MAPFRE was the fastest around the Isle of Wight, which was sailed in stormy winds and tested crew, boat and sails extensively. The time differences were small, 1min.30sec to Team Brunel on 2nd place and the whole fleet finished in a 16 minutes window.

The Fastnet Race, the historic sailing race starting in the Solent, rounding the famous Fastnet Rock on the SE coast of Ireland and finishing in Plymouth, was sailed by All 7 VOR Boats as preparation and qualification race. It was a tight race, which promisse a lot of close finishes in the VOR as well. The winner was Dongfeng Race Team with just a 56 seconds lead on MAPFRE; on 6 minutes 3rd was Team Brunel followed by team AkzoNobel 7 minutes later. Vestas finish another 17 minutes later, followed by Sun Hung Kai after 4 minutes and last over the line came Turn the Tide on Plastic after 4 minutes.

The race from Plymouth to Saint-Malo accross the Channel, was won by MAPFRE , again. Differences were larger, in a low wind race where Maphre made a strategic choice that brought them Victory.

In very weak winds, the final mini-race to  Lisbon was sailed. Vestas 11th  Hour Racing won after a strategic best choice to come out of a region of weak winds to catch the North-Westerlies as a first.

The Overall ranking for the Leg Zero, which is not counting for the VOR 2017-2018, was won by MAPFRE. 
1. MAPFRE                                  29
2. Dongfeng Race Team               24
3. Team Brunel                            24
4. team AkzoNober                      22
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing          20
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic            12
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag    9

Could this be an insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the different Boats , or will there be a lot of learning from these mini-races to change rankings around during the coming 11 Legs of the real VolvoOceanRace (VOR) ?

The teams have formed(provided no changes will occur)  and you may have a look at the VOR site or look above in my blog under the Team tab.

See you in Alicante 

  • for the In-Port race on 14 October and 
  • on 22 October for the Start of the VOR 2017-2018 for the Leg1: Alicante to Lisbon.

Friday, 11 August 2017

VolvoOceanRace Boats tested on the Fastnet Rock race.

It was a 2nd test for the VolvoOceanRace(VOR) Boats as preparation for the VOR , starting 22 October in Alicante with a Leg 1 to Lisbon.  But is was a first test for VOR boats sailing competitive in an Ocean like environment. 

On Sunday 6th August, all 7 VOR Boats started in Cowes for the 600 odd NM Sailing race around the Fastnet Rock. Though this pre-race event does not count for the VOR score, the Teams were not taking it easy and did their utmost to win this race, or were trimming and testing their boat and sails to optimise their speed compared to the other boats. 

The start with many Boats in a small water.

It was a hard race, with many lead changes. Maphre had a good start not far behind followed by Dongfeng. The other Boats following aat short distance.

The famous Fastnet Rock rounding
It was Dongfeng that rounded the Fastnet Rock in the lead ,shortly followed by AkzoNobel, a new entry in the VOR.

Dongfeng wins Fastnet Rock race before Maphre
The return travel saw Dongfeng separate from the fleet to sail passed the Scilly islands, but wind shifts brought many changes in the lead. 
Ultimately it was Dongfeng that won Victory over Maphre with just a minute. For sure a close battle and this promises much good for the coming VOR. 

1. Dongfeng Race Team:     2d15h38m10s
2. MAPFRE:                       2d15h39m06s

3. Team Brunel:                 2d15h45m47s
4. team AkzoNobel:            2d15h52m40s
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing: 2d16h09m11s

6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag: 2d16h13m53s
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic:  2d16h17m32s

Thursday, 3 August 2017

The first battle of the VolvoOceanRace Teams

Yesterday 2nd August was the first battle of the VolvoOceanRace 2017-18 Boast with a first part of 'Leg Zero' ; a none counting but qualifying race for the fleet. 

It was a race Around the Isle of Wight.

see the Video impression

The Race benefited from a strong SW wind with gusts of 40 kts, so it was a fast race to start with and a good view on how the Boats and Teams will perform in the Southern Ocean waters. The first 4 Boats all broke the previous record for sailing around the Isle.

The results saw some Boats from the previous VOR on the top of the Podium.

1. Desafio Mapfre
2. Team Brunel 
3. Team AkzoNobel

4. Dongfeng Race Team
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic
6. Vestas 11th Hour Racing
7. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag

I hear the sailors enjoyed it, and the skippers have made good observations of things that can be improved.

Next test is the Rolex Fastnet Rock race starting on Sunday 6th August. 

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Rolex Fastnet Rock Race - a trial for VolvoOceanRace Teams

 There are now, August 2nd , 7 Boats registered for the coming VolvoOceanRace 2017-2018; VOR. Whether the 8th Boat, ready to sail, will be participating is still a big unknown. Whether a new Team can be formed and be ready in time to start the VOR becomes more and more doubtful.

What does the Fastnet Rock has to do with the VolvoOceanRace?. Well this race is put on the list as qualification events for the VOR teams also called 'Zero Leg'. It will be the first time that all participants for the VOR be battling it out in a real Ocean Sailing race and a first comparison between the strength and weaknesses for the Boats will occur, or maybe some teams will play the game of sandbagging?

Fastnet Race - Training for VolvoOceanRace 2017-18

Sunday 6 August some 600 Boats will start in phases from Cowes for the Rolex Fastnet Rock Race, finishing in Plymouth. The Boats will sail with a handicap, depending on their boat type, size, sails etc etc. The different categories will each start with other participants in their class. 

Details for Fastnet Rock race. 

Dongfeng, Brunel and Maphre have all sail in the previous VOR 2014-15 and do know each other, be it that all Boats have many changes in their crews. These teams ended last VOR edition resp. 3rd, 2nd and 4th, but all hope to beat the other Boats for improved results. 
Sun Hung Kai Scallyway is a new entry from HongKong with an all (7) men team, while another new entry Turn the Tide on Plastic will have a equal mixed team of 5 men and 5 women. 
AkzoNobel, is another new Team that is the lucky team to sail the newest last build OneDesign VO65 Boat. 
Vestas, was sailing also the last VOR but was stranded on some shallows in the Indian Ocean, crew luckily got not hurt and after a heavy repair sailed their Boats in the last Leg over the Finish.

Lets see what the coming Rolex Fastnet Rock Race will highlight for the excitement we can expect later in the VolvoOceanRace, proper. The VOR 2017-18 will start over  73 days with the In-Port race in Alicante and the Start of Leg 1 Alicante to Lisbon will be 22 October. more details later. 

If you are interested to follow the progress on the Fastnet Rock Race than you may view this tracker Fastnet Rock tracker 


Thursday, 29 June 2017

VolvoOceanRace with 7 Boats registered already.

The VolvoOceanRace (VOR) 2017-2018 has now already 7 Boats registered to battle it out in the historical Race around the World.

Who will register the 8th Boat?  I hope that all 8 Boats do participate in next VOR, starting October 2017 with an In-Port race in Allicante, Spain. I think it would be a good suggestion, after the successes in the 35th A.C. , that Emirates-Team NewZealand joins in the 8th Boat!

The 6th Boat was entered by the Mirpuri Foundations and is named: Turn the Tide on Plastic. 

Dee Caffari skipper of 'turn the tide on plastic'

Paulo Mirpuri  and the Mirpuri Foundation says 'We must act now' pointing at the dramatic pollution of Oceans and Seas with plastic waste. Their Boat-name indicates this fight against plastic pollution becomes critical and now is the time to stop further pollution and start the cleaning process.
Dee Caffari, will be the skipper, a First female skipper of a VOR Boat and she will lead a 50/50 male/female team.

Bouwe Bekking skipper of 'Team Brunel'

The 7th Boat is just announced as a return of Team Brunel with Bouwe Bekking as skipper. Bouwe sailed to the runner up place in last VOR and this will become his 8th VOR race, an experienced sailor for sure.

After a successful American Cup with Emirates-NewZealand taking the Victory, this looks to be the next major Sailing event.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

VOR OneDesgin VO65 Boats Upgraded

The OneDesign VO65 Boats were planned to be equal for all Teams to create an even playing field and it was thought to make the Boats for at least 2 successive VolvoOceanRaces (VOR). 

However the 7 Boats that sailed the VOR 2014-15 were all, meticulous inspected and where required repaired to make them suitable for another challenging VOR. As technical capabilities, of especially electronics and communication have expanded over the last years, some upgrades were also applied. The extra 8th Boat, to be sailed by AkzoNobel, is made exactly identical, of course.  

The Boatyards have been busy over the last 28 weeks and have completed the 7 original Boats already and now busy in finalizing the assembly of the AkzoNobel Boat.  

 Soon all Teams can start their training to learn to optimize the Boat in performance and thus increasing the chances on the Podium.