Sunday, 31 December 2017

VolvoOceanRace starts a route through Cyclone Alley.

VolvoOceanRace Teams enjoy a welcome Christmas Holiday in Melbourne. However soon the rest is over and a New Leg 4, from Melbourne to Hong Kong, will start on Tuesday 2nd January in the NewYear at 03:00 UTC or 1400 local. 

VOR Leg 4 Melbourne - Hong Kong
 This is a new route in the VOR, so there is no previous history as to which route is the fastest. The navigators will have a major role in establishing that fastest route for themselves. 

Different from Leg 3 with steady Lows pushing the Boats from West to East in cold conditions, this Leg 4 will have a lot and I mean a lot of surprises but for sure will bring higher Temperatures!

Starting from Melbourne they will most likely sail along the SE coast of Australia towards the Coral sea. This region can bring wind calms, but also depressions and on top of that the Coral sea has some shallows from the coral islands.

Cyclones might be the biggest surprises and this season those Cyclones are very active as the Philippines is suffering a lot . Escaping this and sailing pass and alongside many land masses on the Solomon islands the Trade winds will be welcomed . Than the Doldrum will be waiting for them, around the Equator. These Doldrums could be a lot nastier than the easy ones, the fleet encountered in the Atlantic.
Once through the Doldrums the Easterly Trade winds will bring a welcome nice fast sailing towards the NE monsoon. That monsoon is feared by the fleet, as some versions have seen many boat damages in heavy wind and sea conditions. But, these NE winds are predicted to have a fast approach to HongKong in NW direction.

As  normal, I expect a life broadcasting of the starters circuit. I have not seen the map for the circuit yet, but that will be shown here asap it is available.

Here is a map for the start parcours in Melbourne


Monday, 25 December 2017

Mapfre is Winner in VolvoOceanRace Leg 3.

Mapfre is the big Winner in the VolvoOceanRace (VOR) Leg 3 starting in Cape Town and finishing on 24 December in Melbourne.

Mapfre wins VOR Leg 3

Leg 3 was an intense route with overall good winds, but mostly governed by a rather far Northerly Ice exclusion zone, that during the race even got extended further North, around the Kerguelen islands. 

As expected, sailing far South paid off and some nice low pressure systems with sometimes heavy winds, allowed boats to hook on and ride the storm to bring them to the West. The first storm was too fast and overtook the fleet, that had to jump on the next weather systme. 
Mapfre, managed to stay close to the leader Dongfeng for 80% of the distance, only to pass them later on, using a less optimale route choice of Dongfeng. Once in front Mapfre had only one target , Victory in Melbourne. Congrats.

Dongfeng as said, sailed in the lead for most of the Leg, but got passed in the latter phase. Ultimately, Dongfeng got some scary moment, looking over their shoulders to the chasers Vestas and Brunel, as the Keel ram on Dongfeng brought problems. However, they managed to secure the keel and take the 2nd Place in Melbourne.

Vestas and Brunel fought side by side for most of the Leg, missing out on the finesses of sailing to Mapfre and Dongfeng. They had a kind of battle, but Vestas was mostly in the lead. Vestas indeed is the first Boat that has benefitted from their period in stealth mode, to continue a decent lead on Brunel to finish 3rd with Brunel in 4th place.

The other 3 Boats are still battle for the 5th place in Melbourne.

 Melbourne will be a short stop over, with only limited options for repairs on the Boats and no In-Port Race. 

Leg 4 from Melbourne to HongKong will start on 2nd January 2018 at 3:00 UTC. 


Sunday, 10 December 2017

A stormy start of VolvoOceanRace Leg 3

A strong SE wind is expected for the Start of the VolvoOceanRace (VOR) Leg 3 from Cape Town to Melbourne. This is called The Cape Doctor, a wind that strikes over the Table Mountain and is strong as it accelerate between the different mountains particularly for this wind direction. [it is called the doctor, as it cleans the city of the bad air pollution]

Cape Town Start circuit Leg 3
The Start circuit looks rather short, so the Boats will in no time have left Cape Town to look for the best routes through the Southern Ocean. The Boats will be eager to win this one, as the winner will most likely be the first to turn East around Cape of Good Hope towards the Finish, where for this Leg the Winner gets double points.

The Start will be broadcasted live on the VOR Website, from about 11:50 UTC onwards. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Dongfeng wins Cape Town In-Port Race with confidence

The wind for the In-Port Race in Cape Town was good for delivering an outstanding race. The winds were strong, and  not too shifty as feared, just a little that brought the icing on the cake.

close battles in Cape Town In-Port race.

 The Boats started well , except for Mapfre that made a terrible bad start with even a tack ahead of the start line before crossing it as last Boat.
Vestas was leading after the start, shortly followed by Dongfeng, Akzo and Brunel. 
However Vestas did not get a proper furl halfway the race ,which bite them later as their A3 sail did not open properly on the last leg. This caused them to loose 2 positions in the End.

Dongfeng made a steady gain by clean strategic optimal sailing and took the lead halfway, not to let it slip till Victory was theirs.

Mapfre gained also  steady and in the end could climb to the 2nd place , closely followed by AkzoNobel. 

Clean Seas sailed a solid race, starting well but falling back a little, but could just stay ahead of Brunel, that had a strong last leg. 
Brunel started well, but got in a battle situation with HunSungKai,  which led to a penalty for the last Boat, but maybe also disadvantaged Brunel.

Now the Boats have a day to prepare for the long Leg 3 to Melbourne, through the Southern Oceans, with traditional strong, stormy winds and huge waves. 

Start for Leg 3 in Cape Town on Sunday 10 December , 1200 UTC.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

VOR continues with Cape Town In-Port Race

Friday 8th December at 1200 UTC, the VolvoOceanRace (VOR) will continue with a short In-Port race in Cape Town. 
The wind forecast indicates a South--South-East wind of about 10Kts, which would allow for a nice challenging race. However it might be a little flaky as the wind will approach from over the city and the Table mountain. Strategy might thus be important for taking advantages , where it can be done.

Cape Town In-Port race parcours

As normal, the race is expected to be shown live on the internet , just keep an eye on the VOR website.

The Boats, that had arrived without major damage in Cape Town, have all been out of the water for a thorough inspection before starting the adventure of Leg 3 through the Southern Ocean towards Melbourne. Expect the Boats in top condition, whereas the sailors have had a nice rest to be as fit as possible, to battle it out again.

Prepare yourselves for the Leg 3 start on Sunday  10 December at 1200 UTC.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Mapfre wins VolvoOceanRace Leg 2 in Cape Town

Mapfre wins the VOR Leg 2 Lisbon to Cape Town!

Mapfre sailing the last miles into Cape Town
Mapfre sailed strong during the whole Leg 2 , but it was till Dongfeng made an error sailing to close to the St. Helene High, that Mapfre could take the lead and did not look back. Well actually they did look back a lot, as wind systems were stable but not that stable to be sure of the Victory already. However none of the other Boats could find a faster route to Cape Town. 
With this win, it is also Mapfre that takes the lead in the Overall Ranking, see the details in Tab Scorecard above.

For more detailed information, daily reviews, video's , preview and review of Leg 2 see the Tabs above. 

The weather was friendly during Leg 2, making this a fast Leg 2. Leaving Lisbon, a strong northerly wind helped the Boats sailing fast south , where tradewinds were nice to push them into the Doldrums. The Doldrums were very friendly, this time,as if they did not exist the Boats could easily reach into the southerly tradewinds. The St. Helene High, kept hidden a little behind a strong depression that took the Boats across the southern Atlantic, the southerly Boats the most. After which the High still was there to assist for a good sail into Cape Town.

Last days , I hear a lot comment on the good chance for the Overall Win for the Boat that finishes first in Cape Town. If that holds , than Mapfre is in for a good result in this edition of VOR 2017-2018.

Stealth mode, you may have missed some Boats at times on the daily reports; each Boat could go into Stealth mode, not visible for other Boats and the public, for max. 24 hours and only one time in a Leg. Purpose is to make an un-expected route change to surprise the other Boats and win miles on them. This time however , stealth did not work out that way: Clean Seas in stealth did not gain, Brunel in stealth, lost from 2nd to  the 4th place, SunHungKai lost from 5th to 7th, while close to the end Vestas and Dongfeng got there stealth without any advances. Maybe the weather this time did not allow for alternative strategies, but at least the Boats have felt what it is to be in Stealth mode.

Later AkzoNobel made it to the 5th place while keeping ahead of the 2 battling Boats. 
SunHungKai manager to  make a last millage jump on Clean Seas and took 6th place with a minute to spare on Clean Seas.

Next events will be the Cape Town In-Port race on 8th December and the Start of Leg 3 Cape Town to Melbourne on 10th December. 

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.

Monday, 23 October 2017

VolvoOceanRace has Started

Sunday 22 October , the VolvoOceanRace (VOR) started in Alicante with the race on the Starters circuit. 
It was a fierce battle, with many lead changes, sharp sailing and strategic moves to benefit your Boat and push your competitors to the back.   
This video shows the whole Start circuit race , for you to enjoy, if you missed it.

Mapfre made a good start and got the lead in the beginning. Donfeng, did start reasonably well, but on the 1st downwind leg could pass Mapfre on pure boat speed. 
Towards the end, Dongfeng with a Starboard, pushed both Brunel and Mapfre into a late gybe for which both Boats were penalized. Thus giving Dongfeng a good begin of the VOR.
Brunel, got a problem with their spinnaker, while making the penalty 360, and lost a huge amount of time,and distance. 
Vestas and Turn the Tide benefitted from this and were both quick in the Open Waters. 

The worst situation caused, I guess , by the VOR organisation, was the dangerous passage of the VOR Boats through the anchored visitor Boats. Terrible, VOR org. should have known the potential courses for the VOR fleet and made the visitor to anchor in a safe place. This could have ended the race for a VOR boat already had it collided with a bigger visitors boat. 

Upto Gibraltar.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

VolvoOceanRace starts Tomorrow 22 October 2017

After 3 years waiting (or actually some 10 month shorter for the duration of the former VOR) the time for preparation is over.

The Real Race for the VolvoOceanRace Boats will start tomorrow Sunday 22 October 2017 at 12:00 UTC.

The Leg 1 will start in Alicante with a short circuit race in front of Alicante harbour before setting sail towards Lisbon, via the Straits of Gibraltar and the Portuguese Island of Porto Santo.

Leg 1 Start circuit Alicante

The start will be broadcasted live on the Internet, check on VOR Website

For the armchair sailors, do not forget that the VOR Virtual Sailing Game will start at the same time.

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 leads on the 1st top buoy

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.