Archive | December, 2011

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Report: Lorient unable to find sponsors for its Volvo Ocean Race stopover

Posted on 31 December 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Times are very difficult in the sport of sailing, even for the world’s premiere offshore race, even in the country where offshore racing is hugely popular, drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators, and offshore sailors are household names. While Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, was inaugurating the spectacular race village in Abu Dhabi, an article in Ouest-France, the biggest French newspaper, painted a much bleaker picture for the stopover in Lorient.

Lorient Grand Large, the stopover organizers, have been unable to find private sponsorship to cover a budget that the newspaper estimates at 3 million euros. As a result, the city council decided to loan Lorient Grand Large 1.5 million euros in order to pay “the first bills” of all the activities during the two weeks the stopover will last. Always according to the same article, it is indeed a loan the organizers will have to repay and not grant but its terms are not revealed.

So far, according to Ouest France, the only major partner is the Region of Brittany, to the tune of 360,000 euros. A number of smaller companies, such as Azimut (communication and computer services), Interpole (temp agency) and Lori Si (printing), are suppliers to the event but with value-in-kind deals. Finally, a number of business owners have bought hospitality tickets at different price levels, depending on the services provided but according to the newspaper, they still haven’t been quantified.

Even in the home city of legendary oceanic sailor Franck Cammas, the sport of sailing is, unfortunately, going through dire straits…

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Team Sanya aim to resume racing

Posted on 31 December 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Sanya] Mike Sanderson, Skipper and CEO of Team Sanya, issued an update this morning stating that Team Sanya is now aiming to resume racing as soon as the new rigging is in place and they hope to complete the first part of Leg Two of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race.

The team suffered from a rigging failure on 19th December when they were leading the fleet during Leg Two and had to suspend racing and make an emergency stop in Fort Dauphin, a port in the South East of Madagascar.

Since then the team have been working flat out to make the necessary repairs as, due to the state-of-the art rigging used by the team, the whole side rigging system has had to be changed and the replacement rigging has now been created by Future Fibres. This rigging equipment left with shore team members from Valencia on 30th December and is due to arrive into Fort Dauphin today for the final preparation and curing process to begin.

The sailing team will gather in Fort Dauphin over the next few days and, along with the shore crew, they will step the re-built rig, tune and then sea-trial, with the aim of being able to resume racing on or around the 6thJanuary. The team is aiming to complete the first section of Leg Two that will take them to the safe haven port. By completing this part of Leg Two they are then entitled, under the Notice of Race rules, to claim average points for the second short stage of Leg Two, the InPort race in Abu Dhabi and the first stage of Leg Three.

Team Sanya is then forced by race rules to await for the fleet to return to the safe haven port during Leg Three and will then re-join the race into their home part of Sanya.

Mike Sanderson, commented on this latest decision:

“The rigging failure was a massive disappointment to us as a team. We were having a great leg and felt that we were showing for the first time what this team has the potential to deliver given an opportunity opening up for us. It has taken quite some time to come to terms with this second blow to our campaign but that’s all part of what can happen during a Volvo Ocean Race and we are more determined than ever to get racing again.

We have spent considerable time assessing the options and weighing up what might be seen as a relatively short term gain of completing this leg against the need to ensure the boat and team are 100% ready and race fit for Leg Three and onwards. After discussion with our key sponsors, we made the decision to do everything we can to complete this part of Leg Two and maximize the points we can gain which could be of value to us later in the race. We are still very dependant on everything going right with the application of the new rigging down in Madagascar but very hopeful that we can resume racing as soon as possible”

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Day 38 onboard Banque Populaire V

Posted on 30 December 2011 by Valencia Sailing

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The Maxi Banque Populaire V shatters the Equator to Equator time

Posted on 30 December 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Banque Populaire] Since 12 :17 :30 (French time) this Friday, Loïck Peyron and his men are back in the Northern Hemisphere, 38 days 2 hours 45 minutes and 48 seconds * after leaving Ushant. With this outstanding performance, the Maxi Banque Populaire V not only writes a new distinction to his logbook, but also improves the partial Equator to Equator with a lead of 3 days 18 hours 24 minutes over Groupama 3 in 2010 but above all, faster than any other sailing boat on this race. A good sign for the fourteen sailors entering their final week at sea.

With this new partial shattered, the Maxi Banque Populaire V carries on falling records on her attempt on the Jules Verne Trophy. 32 days 11 hours 51 minutes and 30 seconds * after entering the southern hemisphere, the fourteen record’s hunters shattered the time set in 2005 by Bruno Peyron aboard Orange II, improving it by more than one day. Still enjoying mild conditions, the crew of the Maxi Banque Populaire V, by the voice of his skipper, savors the moment of the crossing: “We crossed the equator at high speed. We are sailing at 35 knots, on a sea almost flat, it’s really fun !  The boat does not suffer, and men even less. Everyone is excited, especially the fresh Cape Horners. Hello northern hemisphere, that’s not bad at all this record! It will now be increasingly difficult to beat it but still feasible and that’s the good news …”. A natural enthusiasm shared by Thierry Duprey du Vorsent, helmsman / trimmer on board, who joined today’s radio vacation :  “We are in the northern hemisphere for a few minutes and it already seems like being on our usual playground. It’s been thirty-two days since we left the Northern Hemisphere, which roughly accounts for three quarters of the time in the South and one quarter in the North. It brings us closer to home, which is good. The sailing conditions are beautiful, the sea is completely flat and it is almost straight on the road. There are very little squalls, the nights are quiet, starry … we really encounter exceptional conditions and we could not ask for more, including the boat. The weather conditions enable us to break the record but our anxiety is coming from the technique. We have sailed 20,000 miles without making any pit stop, we must keep the equipment in good shape.”

For Brian Thompson, this passage to the North was even more particular: “I was lucky enough to be on the helm doing 35 knots as we counted down 0.02S, 0.01S, 0.01N!! The 3rd small bottle of Champagne we have carried was opened, and some of the bubbly nectar is first given to Neptune, to thank him for a safe passage through the Southern Seas..Then comes the saucisson and the Toblerone, all being shared between the crew and that God of the Sea.”

24,063 miles already in the wake

This return in the North is not the finish line and on board, we specifically know that even after 24 063 miles undergone smoothly, nothing is settled yet. Vigilance is still more than ever a must, as the final conditions for the final stretch ahead appears nicely. With a lead of 1 432 miles and three days advance on Groupama 3 around the same time, a certain serenity sets in, especially as the inter-tropical convergence zone is seen as particularly friendly as recalled Thierry Duprey du Vorsent “The Doldrums are not very active, and thanks to our western position, it should be easy to get through. This will be one of the first times I pass them without a transition zone of dead calm on a single board. Again, we are lucky. We will have to get dressed again in two or three days and get the fleeces and foul weather gears out again. But we will accept it more easily as the finish line won’t be far !”

A fighter named Banque Populaire V

With an average of 26.31 knots since leaving Ushant on November 21st, Loïck Peyron and his men have significantly reduced the time and distance, leaving their fans admiring. Rarely a boat will have scrolled through that amount of miles and still demonstrating such reliability. Qualities that the skipper did not fail to mention this afternoon:Last night, around 6pm, we were off the coast of Recife in Brazil while we were still off Cape Horn less than a week ago. The Maxi Banque Populaire V is a unique fighter on the planet. We should return to Brest in a week and oddly, it promises to be the most week-long of this round the world course.” But before seeing the end of this last week, the fourteen men still have to compose with the North Atlantic sea before entering the great history of offshore sailing.

* subject to approval and ratification by the WSSRC (World Sailing Speed Record Council) 

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Rolex Sydney Hobart – 29 Dec 2011

Posted on 29 December 2011 by Valencia Sailing

Rolex Sydney Hobart – 29 Dec 2011

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Investec Loyal crowed line honor winners at 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race

Posted on 29 December 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Regatta News] Following a three hour hearing at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania before the International Jury,  the Race Committee’s protest against Investec Loyal was dismissed and Anthony Bell and the crew of his 100ft maxi were finally declared the line honours victors in the 2011 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

This afternoon at the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011 prizegiving, held in front of a crowd lining Constitution Dock, CYCA Commodore Garry Linacre, Lord Mayor of Hobart, Damon Thomas, and Patrick Boutellier of Rolex Australia presented Anthony Bell with the JH Illingworth Trophy and a Rolex Yacht-Master timepiece for the line honours victory.

“It is the long way around in some ways,” said a delighted Anthony Bell. “It is very relieving to get to this point. There are rules in every sport and, while it wasn’t ideal to go through this, I think that ultimately it gets beyond any question and whatever those questions that were asked have been properly answered.”

As to their victory, when yesterday Investec Loyal beat Bob Oatley’s five time Rolex Sydney Hobart line honours winning maxi Wild Oats XI to the Hobart finish line by a margin of just 3 minutes 8 seconds, Bell said: “We have come second to Wild Oats quite a lot. We came second last year to them and we kept coming second to them at Hamilton Island. It is an against-the-odds victory for us….I am still waiting for one of my crew members to wake me up and say you’re on watch!

“The buzz is made best by the fact that Wild Oats XI is such a fantastic, professionally-run campaign by the Oatley family and, to have them compete so fiercely, it accelerated and heightened the value to us to go down the wire against a raceboat team like that.  They are the benchmark of supermaxi racing, not just in Australia, but in the world.”

Bell explained that the query to the ABC helicopter pilot about Wild Oats XI’s sails had been made by their tactician Michael Coxon. Coxon is also Managing Director of North Sails Australia and, after the strong winds of the first night at sea, he had been concerned about Wild Oats XI’s mainsail, made of their new product 3Di and believed to be the most expensive sail of its type in the world.

“One of the things that they did take was that Michael Coxon’s question was not to gain any advantage for our boat at all, but more to test how his business client’s product, that they bought off him, was going,” said Bell of the international jury’s decision.

The closest finish in the last 29 years. Hobart, 28 December 2011. Photo copyright Rolex / Kurt Arigo

10 boats home

To date ten boats of the 77 still racing (out of 88 starters) have arrived in Hobart, the latest being Syd Fischer’s modified TP52 Ragamuffin. Of the boats now docked, Stephen Ainsworth’s Reichel Pugh 63 Loki is currently favourite for the overall IRC handicap prize in this year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart. However still ahead of her on handicap is Roger Hickman’s 26 year-old Farr 43 Wild Rose. Still racing, she must finish before 08:12 local time tomorrow (30 December) if she is to beat Loki’s time under handicap.

Currently lying fourth under handicap is Michael Hiatt’s Farr 55 Living Doll, which was the sixth boat to reach Hobart, arriving at 08:46 local time this morning. Hiatt believes they lost a vital 15 minutes to Loki coming up the Derwent River on the approach to the finish. “It got back up to 30 knots and then we had a nice run up here, but it faded at the end of the Derwent,” he said.

Unlike the maxi boat leaders, which, from time to time, parked up over the latter half of their race, Hiatt said that on Living Doll they never stopped.

On the breezy first night at sea, they had seen 40 knots in the gusts. “It was really tricky. Some spooky breezes came in and they were pretty fierce. It would drop off to nothing and all of a sudden we’d get a lot more, so we had to handle that, but all of the transitions were really good. We just needed a tweak more speed.”

Hiatt sailed the race with a formidable crew including round the world race winners Steve Cotton and Noel Drennan and even had their own meteorologist on board in the form of Canadian Eric Holden.

Seventh home this morning, 12 minutes after Living Doll was Matt Allen, former Commodore of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, the Rolex Sydney Hobart organisers, aboard his first generation Volvo Open 70, Ichi Ban.

Ichi Ban had suffered a few issues during the race. On the first night the lock jammed, holding their main halyard, and in the strong conditions they were forced to spend the rest of the night sailing with three reefs.  It was only on the following morning they were able to send a crewman aloft enabling them to hoist the sail fully once again.

“That meant we had a really poor first night and it was really hard to recover from there,” said Allen. “We also broke one of the D4s [rigging on the mast], but luckily we picked it up before, otherwise we would have lost the mast.”

Allen said that in 22 Rolex Sydney Hobarts, he had never previously seen such big wind shifts, especially coming down the coast of Tasmania. During the race they ended up using all the sails on board, with the exception of the heavy running spinnaker. “It was hard work for the navigators, but we had nice sailing for the last 24 hours, good reaching spinnaker work – it’s been really enjoyable. The run we had from Tasman Island to the finish was probably the best run I’ve ever had in my entire life.” 

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Telefonica on the way to Sharjah

Posted on 28 December 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Telefonica] “Telefónica” is already on the way to the Sharjah coastline in the United Arab Emirates. That’s where, in approximately a week, the second stage of the second leg will start; a final sprint of 140 miles to Abu Dhabi and 20 per cent of the total leg points in play for the boats.

Unprecedented manoeuvres were required to get to this point and as Iker Martínez commented upon his arrival at the safe haven port a couple of days ago, peace of mind was hard to come by: “These boats are made for being on the water, not for being dangled in the air as they are lifted out of it. Anything can happen and very quickly. The process of loading and unloading a boat onto a ship is very complex, especially with these very fragile boats and it scares me a bit…”. However, he also added that “the guys we’ve got on the team are great at doing this and we have complete faith in them”.

A three-hour rest and back to work

The Volvo Ocean Race leaders were given little time to rest and by 7am local time they were having breakfast and gearing up to head towards the “Telefónica” mooring location, as were the crew of the second placed entry.

Before the loading process began, which was to be carried out in strict order of finish, the Spanish crew seized the opportunity to run through the list of jobs to be done. No materials were allowed to be taken on board and neither were the shore crew allowed to intervene in repairs, but as Cantabria’s Pablo Arrarte explained: “we can manage ourselves with the equipment we’ve got on board already. We’ve begun by repairing the important bits: checking all of the winches, changing any ropes that were damaged, checking out the engine, the batteries… basically checking and repairing.

The mast also had to be moved and the angle changed to avoid the crane from touching it. “The mast always leans slightly backwards so we had to move it into a vertical position and shift it three or four degrees”, explains the Spanish team’s Technical Director Horacio Carabelli, who was present at every stage of the procedure.

Seven hours to complete the whole procedure

With “Telefónica” alongside the ship, all of the straps ready to lift her up and the mast shifted into position, the ship’s crane began to lift “Telefónica” out of the water just after 09:30 local time. There were two people on board the yacht, two on a platform on the water and the rest of the crew, along with Horacio Carabelli were on board the ship.

Once it was in the air it had to be moved into position to be nestled into its cradle, which had been on the ship along with the other five cradles since the day before. This part of the operation took some 35 minutes. After that it was important to secure the yacht firmly to make sure it would travel in absolute safely.

Meanwhile, “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” was already moving up alongside the ship to begin exactly the same operation that “Telefónica” had carried out.

Some seven hours after leaving their hotel, the “Telefónica” crew returned. The Spanish yacht, now with three victories in a row in the bag, was ready to commence a rather unusual journey alongside four of her rivals.

Medical checks at Point A

Despite the fact that there were no on board incidents, Team Telefónica was the only team to have sent doctor Pablo Díaz-Munío out to the safe haven port. The doctor carried out all of the usual tests on the crew this morning, including pinch tests and other measurements and weighing. As the doctor explained, this information will be useful in following the individual progress of each crew member throughout the whole competition. It will also be used to gain some feedback on the diet the crew followed on this leg.

Everyone to Abu Dhabi today
Today, Wednesday, the entire Spanish team at the safe location will catch a flight to Abu Dhabi. From there the Spanish crew will head for the Sharjah coastline and to the point where racing on Leg 2 will recommence.

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Investec Loyal’s line honours win under protest in the Rolex Sydney Hobart

Posted on 28 December 2011 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Rolex Sydney Hobart Race] Investec Loyal’s line honours win is under threat following a protest by the Race Committee of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race this evening.

Investec Loyal crossed the finish line of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s (CYCA) 628 nautical mile race at 19.14.18 AEST in the time of 2 days 6hr 14min 18sec. Shortly after Anthony Bell’s super maxi crossed the finish line off Constitution Dock, a representative of the Race Committee, Howard Piggott, delivered the protest to Bell aboard his yacht.

The Race Committee is protesting Investec Loyal under Racing Rule of Sailing 41 that states: “The sail number of a boat which receives outside help will be notified to the Race Committee with details of the incident and a hearing may be held (if required) to determine any penalty. The penalty for Rule 41 shall be at the discretion of the Race Committee.”

The description of the incident on the protest form is as follows: “Audio recording of conversation between ABC helicopter and Investec Loyal seeking information from the helicopter of the sail plan in use on Wild Oats XI. In particular information as to whether Wild Oats XI was flying a trysail. This is assessed to breach 41 by soliciting help from an outside source.”

Wild Oats XI and Investec, sailing neck and neck towards the finish line. Hobart, 28 December 2011. Photo copyright Rolex / Daniel Forster

The Protest Hearing will be held by the International Jury at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania at 10.00 AEST tomorrow (Thursday).

Dockside after the race finish, Garry Linacre, the commodore of the CYCA, told the assembled crowd: “Some minutes ago I received this copy of a protest form. It is a protest form for the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2011, the organizing authority of the CYCA.

“The Race Committee, which is chaired by Tim Cox, has protested that rules may have been infringed on the 27th December at 06:30 hours, 30 nautical miles south of Merimbula.  There is an ABC chopper pilot that is a nominated witness. 

“I am very sorry about this event, I can assure you. Unfortunately, that has stopped our celebration here, as the result comes provisional until the protest is heard tomorrow,” he said.

“I would like to congratulate Investec Loyal on their magnificent sailing in this race, and also Wild Oats XI.”

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