Archive | Volvo Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing shrugs off torn sail and steering breakdown

Posted on 22 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing] Despite having dealt with two major equipment failures in the last 24 hours, ADOR remains in a strong position as the fleet powers eastward on the third day of Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi.

ADOR’s first breakage came shortly before nightfall on Day 2 when a turbulent sea-state – rather than strong winds – caused a split in Azzam’s A3 gennaker headsail. Having spotted the tear, the on-watch sailors quickly rallied their off-watch crewmates to help them change sails.


Luke Parkinson shines a torch for Phil Harmer as he works to repair a 1.5 metre tear in Azzam’s A3 gennaker headsail on Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi. Image by Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

It was a race against time to prevent the A3 ripping beyond repair as the turbulent seas tossed the 65-foot long Azzam around like a cork. Once the crew had wrestled the enormous sail to the deck, they fed the damaged section carefully down through the forehatch, where Australians Phil Harmer and Luke Parkinson set about repairing it using spare sail material and special glue.

“It’s a good job it happened in daylight,” said skipper Ian Walker. “In the dark, we wouldn’t have seen it and it would have ripped the whole way. We don’t have a sewing machine so we’ve had to glue it back together.”

With the A3 patched up and back in use, the ADOR sailors got quickly into their normal rhythm as the wind built to over 25 knots overnight. Around 0130 UTC however, as they hurtled through the darkness, there was a sudden loud bang and Azzam spun instantly out of control, with her sails flogging noisily in the strong breeze. A turning block in the steering system had been wrenched off its mounting, leaving the right hand of Azzam’s twin steering wheels inoperable.

Once again the off-watch crew were quickly out of their bunks to help repair the breakage and after some skilled work by Kiwi boat captain Daryl Wislang, 30-minutes later Azzam was on her way once again.

Along with the rest of the fleet, ADOR’s goal now is to get east as quickly as possible to best set up for when the southern hemisphere trade winds allow a turn to the north.

With the fleet’s easterly – rather than northerly – track skewing the official fleet rankings based on distance to finish, at 0940 UTC today ADOR was a potential leg leader, at the head of a three-boat pack on the southern most edge of the seven-boat fleet and well positioned to make the most of the northerly turn.

Navigator Simon Fisher keeps his eye on the job in hand while his fellow crewmates work to repair a 1.5 metre tear in Azzam’s A3 gennaker headsail on Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi. Image by Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

Navigator Simon Fisher keeps his eye on the job in hand while his fellow crewmates work to repair a 1.5 metre tear in Azzam’s A3 gennaker headsail on Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi. Image by Matt Knighton/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.


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Team Brunel breeze out of Cape Town

Posted on 20 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Skippers of the seven boats in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, which set out for the 6,125 nautical mile (nm) Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, left with warnings of possible cyclone activity and tropical storms ringing in their ears.
Race organisers took late measures to keep the 66 sailors away from the very worst of the weather on the Indian Ocean with a new exclusion zone leading to the Seychelles.

There were already zones in place to avoid icebergs in the Southern Ocean and the more unlikely menace of pirate attack further down the route on the east coast of the Indian Ocean. The latter zone was being kept secret from the public to avoid the possibility of the fleet being intercepted.

From the very start on Wednesday (1800 local/1600 UTC), the sailors were given a taste of things to come with gusts of up to 35 knots kicking up a procession of white-capped waves. It was a question of ‘don’t break your boat’ as most opted for conservative sail choices, while they wrestled to keep them under control and intact.

For the second leg start in a row, Team Brunel led the fleet out of port after wrestling the lead, first from MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP), and then Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) who were well in the hunt.

The fleet will continue to sail in these gale-force conditions, which Team Alvimedica skipper Charlie Enright (USA) described before the start as ‘heinous’.

“I think we’re all going to have to be pretty conservative,” he told the skippers’ press conference, just over 24 hours earlier. “This could be the worst sea state these boats have ever seen.”

Favourites for the leg are Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), who have barely made a false move since setting out from Alicante on October 11. They followed their 12-minute win over Dongfeng Race Team in Leg 1 on November 5, by securing victory on Saturday in the Cape Town in-port race. When asked if there were such a thing as ‘home advantage’ in sailing, Walker, 44, was determined to keep his crew’s feet on the ground – as well as his own.

“First we have to get there,” he smiled. “I’ll be happy just to get within range and then arrive in Abu Dhabi. There’s a fantastic welcome for everybody in store once we get there, that’s for sure.”

Team Vestas Wind surprised onlookers when a choir on board their support boat burst into song just prior to the start. Their message was loud and clear: ‘There’s an even more important race we must win – to save the environment’.

Leg 2 is expected to take between 22 to 28 days to complete, depending on conditions. The boats will remain in Abu Dhabi over Christmas and the New Year before setting sail again on January 3 for Sanya, China.

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Volvo Ocean Race Leg2 Preview

Posted on 18 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: B&G] First up: congratulations to Pascal Bidegorry of Dongfeng Race Team who wins the B&G Volvo Ocean Race Navigator’s Prize for Leg 1. He was voted the top performing navigator of the first leg by the best possible judging panel – his peer group, the navigators themselves. And, of course, we should also give a nod to Ian Walker and his team aboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing for winning both the first leg, and the Cape Town In-Port race. Nice work, boys.

The Race Track

No time for Pascal, Ian or anyone else to rest on their laurels though as Leg 2 gets underway on Wednesday afternoon. This is a tough one, it’s both long and strategically tricky, crossing from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, from the Southern Hemisphere to the North. And it will be different to any previous race. This route to Abu Dhabi was only introduced in 2011-12, and on that occasion the boats were shipped part of the way – this time they will race every mile.

November 18, 2014. Night falls in the Cape Town Race Village the night before the start of Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi. Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race

November 18, 2014. Night falls in the Cape Town Race Village the night before the start of Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi. Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race

The course heads south out of Cape Town to go around the Cape of Good Hope, before turning to head north-east into the Indian Ocean. There are two exclusion zones on this leg, and the first one is almost immediately relevant. It is defined by a great circle line between Maputo on the east coast of South Africa, then Madagascar, Mauritius and a point at the eastern edge of Oman. The idea of this zone is to keep boats out of the pirate territory that lies off the coast of East Africa and to the south of the Arabian Peninsula.

So once around the Cape the fleet must head north-east rather than north, to stay out of the East Africa exclusion zone. Only when they have cleared it, can they turn due north for the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and so to the finish in Abu Dhabi. The second exclusion zone will only be relevant on the run in to the line – an exclusion zone to keep them out of Iranian waters. No prizes for guessing why.

Upwind Opening

The opening section to the Cape of Good Hope is often upwind, and it doesn’t look like it will be any different this time. The start is at 16:00 (all times are UTC) and the forecast has a strong south-southeasterly blowing, thanks to the interaction of a high pressure to the west of Cape Town, and a low pressure to the south. If there are any cobwebs – which I doubt after such a short stop-over – then they will get blown away pretty quickly as the boats indulge in a tack-fest to the southern tip of Africa.

November 16, 2014. Andrea Petersen Volunteer in Cape Town for the Volvo Ocean Race, had an amazing sailing experience onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing invited by her idol Ian Walker. Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race

November 16, 2014. Andrea Petersen Volunteer in Cape Town for the Volvo Ocean Race, had an amazing sailing experience onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing invited by her idol Ian Walker. Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race

The Cape of Counter-Intuitive Routing

Back in the day, when Leg 2 was a rip-roaring, padlock-the-halyards-to-the-cleats, last-one-to-Freo’s-a-softie sort of affair, there was only one way to go after the Cape of Good Hope – south. Go south, wait till it’s blowing dogs off chains and then turn left. This is exactly the same Southern Ocean strategy that we talked about in our Preview of Leg 1 dealing with the St Helena High.

When the race course was changed to include Asia and Leg 2 became a race to the north, rather than east, the opening section of the leg appeared to be a very different strategic problem once the boats had cleared the Cape of Good Hope. After all, you don’t want to go east now, but north-east – so surely, sailing south from Africa in search of breeze is madness?

The Whole Sorry Mess…

The reason this strategy might actually make sense is a little thing called the Agulhas Current. This starts at somewhere around 27degS and flows down the east coast of Africa, following the continental shelf, until it spills out into the south-east Atlantic. And there, this warm water current meets the cold water and the east-bound storm systems of the Southern Ocean. Most notoriously, they come together off Cape Agulhas, which overlooks the Agulhas Bank, the final projection of shallow continental shelf into deep water.

This combination of inbound storm systems and outbound current, of warm water and cold water, of big waves and shallow ground, creates one of the nastiest pieces of ocean on the planet. And if you want to go from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on the direct route, you’ve got to go across the Agulhas Bank, and battle the current north. Whereas dipping south from the Cape of Good Hope, down into the Southern Ocean and then going east before you turn north, means dodging the whole sorry mess.

So, the strategy from the Cape is likely to be the same as it always was – head south into the Southern Ocean and try to find an east-bound low pressure system that you can hook a ride on. The forecast looks good for this strategy at the moment, with a low pressure system ready and waiting close to the Cape on Thursday – it could make for a relatively straight-forward opening to the leg. It’s the next bit that might be tricky…

November 17,2014. In the Boatyard; Dongfeng Race Team preparing for Leg 2. Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

November 17,2014. In the Boatyard; Dongfeng Race Team preparing for Leg 2. Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Exit? What Exit?

The trick with this strategy is finding the exit – let’s say you get a ride on a low pressure system, smoke east in a blaze of spume and glory for a few hundred miles…. then what? The problem now is finding the off-ramp – transiting from the westerly storm track and dodging around the sub-tropical high that dominates the Indian Ocean to get into the trade winds.

This should sound familiar – and yes, Leg 2 is effectively the second part of Leg 1, but in reverse. The reason is that the earth’s climate features distinct bands, lying horizontally and looping the globe, running out from the Equator to the Poles in a mirror image (there is a great diagram half-way down this article). As we’ve already seen, when racing from north to south, the fleet are constantly crossing from one band of climate to another, and in this respect, Leg 2 will be no different to Leg 1 – the trick is finding the right entry and exit points for each transition.

Dodging the High. Again.

At this time of year, the Indian Ocean’s equivalent to the St Helena High should be situated a long way east, but nevertheless, if the fleet go too far that way, they will run smack into it. And that will be slow – there’s no wind in the centre of a high pressure system. So this part of the leg will be all about a smooth transition from the ride on the low pressure system into the south-east trade winds, by skirting around the western side of the High.

The band of north to north-easterly winds around the western edge of the high pressure system is usually sitting around the latitude of Madagascar, and the fleet will look to use these to power into the trade wind zone. By the time they get north of Mauritius, they should find themselves in the trade winds, blowing at a decent strength.

In theory, the next thousand miles or so, going north in the trades, will be the most straight-forward part of the leg. The random factor here is that we are entering the cyclone season for the South Indian Ocean. These storms spin-up on the edge of the Doldrums and travel south – they destroy the trade winds, and can leave the navigators with a tricky choice between too much wind and not enough. Then it will be into the Doldrums, and predominantly light air all the way north to… the finish?

Doldrum Conundrum

Unlike the Atlantic, where we saw the well established route through the Doldrums (at 30degW) come good once again for Ian Walker and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, there is no such history for this part of the world. Since the last sailboats to regularly go this way (with an eye on the clock) were square riggers, there is no encyclopaedia of racing knowledge to fall back on when the weather forecasts are all different and about as useful as an ashtray on a motor bike. So, no more homespun, common-sense rules of thumb from me for a while, either.

If that wasn’t bad enough (the weather, not the lack of homespun homilies) we should remember that it won’t just be light air in the Doldrums – there will be clouds and thunderstorms, and all the usual risks of getting caught out with lots of sail area up in a 40 knot squall. The Indian Ocean is the world’s warmest, and that means plenty of energy to drive the thunderstorms.

November 17,2014. In the Boatyard; Team Vestas Wind preparing for Leg 2. Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

November 17,2014. In the Boatyard; Team Vestas Wind preparing for Leg 2. Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

Monsoon Rains

Once the fleet clear the Doldrums, they will be heading upwind into the Arabian Sea in the north-easterly trade winds – or in this case, monsoon winds, as we are in monsoon season. This breeze ‘should’ just about take them all the way to the home straight, into the Gulf of Oman. Expect the monsoon winds to weaken as they go north though, and we will probably see a light area transition zone as we close on the Gulf.

Once they get into the Gulf, race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante says that the predominant local wind blows from the northwest and is called Shamal. And that means a long upwind section into the Strait of Hormuz, before a left turn and a final reaching leg to Abu Dhabi.
And there you have it – lots of contrast and a wide range of conditions face the crews over the next 3-4 weeks. Just like Leg 1, it’s going to need stamina, patience, and will suit the all-rounders. I’ll be back here next Tuesday to see how the first week went.

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Cyclone season awaits Leg 2 fleet

Posted on 18 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Volvo Ocean Race sailors set out again for the open seas on Wednesday with no piracy activity on their radar, but the threat of cyclones ahead on Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi. Sailing conditions in Cape Town look challenging for the 1800 start (local time)/1600 UTC, with plenty of wind, but flat seas forecast.

Then the seven-strong fleet heads for the south Indian Ocean past Mauritius and there the sailing will become even more interesting. The Volvo Ocean Race’s meteorologist, Gonzalo Infante, explains: “We have just started the tropical cyclone season in the south Indian Ocean and it seems like we will have plenty of this activity for this leg.

“One tropical cyclone is forecast to be in the area just before the fleet reaches these latitudes, but forecasts need to be confirmed. Obviously, the weather will be key – if it’s possible to use it or keep out of its influence.”

To add to the spice, there are monsoon winds from the Gulf awaiting the fleet before it enters the Hormuz Straits, and probable scorching weather in Abu Dhabi in early December. Infante and Race Control have issued a spread of 22 to 28 days for the 6,125 nautical mile (nm) stage.

Unlike in Leg 2 2011-12, the fleet will not be shipped part of the way for security reasons. Dryad Maritime, the Race’s offshore security experts, have given Race Director, Jack Lloyd, the all-clear to plot a route all the way through.

With all the teams sailing identical boats, it once again promises to be anybody’s leg although the team to beat is undoubtedly Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) who followed up their Leg 1 triumph – by a mere 12 minutes from Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) – with victory in the Cape Town in-port race on Saturday. The latter win puts them three points clear in the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series after two races.

At the other end of the spectrum, MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP) have some issues to resolve after the boat surprisingly finished seventh and last for Leg 1.

Martínez has replaced his navigator, bringing in the highly experienced Jean-Luc Nélias (FRA), plus watch leader Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) to change their fortunes.

Dee Caffari (GBR) has her first taste of offshore action on the Team SCA boat, with five Britons on board including skipper Sam Davies. The others are Annie Lush, Libby Greenhalgh and Abby Ehler. Caffari’s entrance was always planned, however, as the team intend to refresh their crew for each leg.


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Walker rules in Cape Town

Posted on 15 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] 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. 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

In-Port Race Cape Town, 15 November. Photo: Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race

In-Port Race Cape Town, 15 November. Photo: Charlie Shoemaker/Volvo Ocean Race


In-Port Race Cape Town, 15 November. Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget /Team Alvimedica

In-Port Race Cape Town, 15 November. Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget /Team Alvimedica

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Cape Town In-Port Race’s crew lists

Posted on 14 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Racing resumes on 15th November at 1400 local time (1200 UTC) with the second In-Port Race of this 2014-15 edition, in the South African capital.64 sailors will race in front of the Mother City. Some have left since sailing from Alicante, some have flown to South Africa, and there are a couple of new faces.

Here are the seven teams’ crew lists.

Team SCA
Elodie-Jane Mettraux is now onboard, replacing her sister Justine.

Skipper – Sam Davies – GBR
Crew 2 – Libby Greenhalgh – GBR
Crew 3 – Sally Barkow – USA
Crew 4 – Carolijn Brouwer – NED
Crew 5 – Annie Lush – GBR
Crew 6 – Elodie-Jane Mettraux – SUI
Crew 7 – Sara Hastreiter – USA
Crew 8 – Abby Ehler – GBR
Crew 9 – Liz Wardley – AUS
Crew 10 – Sophie Ciszek – AUS
Crew 11 – Stacey Jackson – AUS
Onboard Reporter – Corinna Halloran – USA

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

Skipper – Ian Walker – GBR
Crew 2 – Roberto Bermudez De Castro – ESP
Crew 3 – Phil Harmer – AUS
Crew 4 – Justin Slattery – IRL
Crew 5 – Adil Khalid – UAE
Crew 6 – Luke Parkinson – AUS
Crew 7 – Daryl Wislang – NZL
Crew 8 – Simon Fisher – GBR
OBR – Matt Knighton – USA

Dongfeng Race Team
As planned, the Chinese crew are rotating. Black will take part in the In-Port Race, and will sail Leg 2 instead of Wolf. Navigator Pascal Bidégorry won’t sail the In-Port but will be back for the offshore leg.

Skipper – Charles Caudrelier – FRA
Crew 2 – Jiru Yang – CHN
Crew 3 –Xue Liu – CHN
Crew 4 – Kevin Escoffier – FRA
Crew 5 – Eric Peron – FRA
Crew 6 – Thomas Rouxel – FRA
Crew 7 – Jinhao Chen – CHN
Crew 8 – Martin Stromberg – SWE
OBR – Yann Riou – FRA

Team Brunel

Skipper – Bouwe Bekking – NED
Crew 2 – Gerdjan Poortman – NED
Crew 3 – Andrew Cape – AUS
Crew 4 – Jens Dolmer – DEN
Crew 5 – Louis Balcaen – BEL
Crew 6 – Pablo Arrarte – ESP
Crew 7 – Laurent Pages – FRA
Crew 8 – Rokas Milevicius – LTU
OBR – Stefan Coppers – NED

Team Alvimedica
The youngest crew in the race will sail with 7 sailors instead of 8. Italy’s Alberto Bolzan is home for family matters but will be back for the Leg 2 start on Wednesday.

Skipper – Charles Enright – USA
Crew 2 – Will Oxley – AUS
Crew 3 – Ryan Houston – NZL
Crew 4 – Mark Towill – USA
Crew 5 – Sebastien Marsset – FRA
Crew 6 – Nickolas Dana – USA
Crew 7 – David Swete – NZL
Crew 8 -
OBR – Amory Ross – USA

Skipper Iker Martínez cannot attend the In-Port Race and the team will race with 7 sailors only. Rob Greenhalgh and Jean-Luc Nélias are taking part in the In-Port and Leg 2, replacing Michel Desjoyeaux and Nico Lunven.

Skipper – Xabi Fernández – ESP
Crew 2 – Anthony Marchand – FRA
Crew 3 – Jean-Luc Nélias – FRA
Crew 4 – Rob Greenhalgh – GBR
Crew 5 – André Fonseca – BRA
Crew 6 – Antonio Cuervas-Mons – ESP
Crew 7 – Carlos Hernández – ESP
Crew 8 -
OBR – Francisco Vignale – ARG

Team Vestas Wind

Skipper – Chris Nicholson – AUS
Crew 2 – Tony Rae – NZL
Crew 3 – Rob Salthouse – NZL
Crew 4 – Wouter Verbraak – NED
Crew 5 – Maciel Cicchetti – ARG
Crew 6 – Peter Wibroe – DEN
Crew 7 – Nicolai Sehested – DEN
Crew 8 – Tom Johnson – AUS
OBR – Brian Carlin – IRL

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Rob Greenhalgh joins MAPFRE

Posted on 12 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Rob Greenhalgh has been called up by MAPFRE to boost their Volvo Ocean Race campaign and the experienced offshore sailor will now go straight into opposition with his younger sister, Libby, in Leg 2 starting next week. The Britons are the first brother and sister to compete in opposing boats in the race since Tanya (NED-Maiden) and Edwin (NED-Equity & Law) Visser competed against each other in 1989-90. Libby is the navigator of Team SCA.

MAPFRE skipper Iker Martínez (ESP) said: “We looked for a very, very experienced helmsman who knows these boats and sails. Rob’s track record is fantastic – with a victory in the race and a podium finish – and he is well-known for his ability as watch captain, his ability to drive very fast and he is also very strong physically.”

Ironically, Libby Greenhalgh guided the women’s crew past MAPFRE to beat them into sixth place in the opening leg from Alicante to Cape Town. “I’m stoked to have him in the race against us,” she said. “He’s been giving me advice since I got involved – and then he asked my advice too before joining MAPFRE.

“When I was wondering whether to do the project, he just sent me a simple text message: ‘Just Do It’. Having him around will give things a little extra spice for me. And yes, of course I want to beat him!”

Her elder brother replaces Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA) in the MAPFRE crew as one of two changes they have made after finishing seventh last Friday (November 7). Jean-Luc Nélias (FRA) took over as navigator from Nico Lunven (FRA).

Greenhalgh brings considerable experience to Martínez’s crew. He has competed in the race three times before, winning it onboard ABN AMRO ONE in 2005-06. He was also second in 2008-09 with Puma and fifth in the last edition in 2011-12 with current race leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

“I got the call during this stopover and it’s been a bit manic getting all my affairs in order at home ready to join the team,” he said. “I always wanted to take part in this edition but because of other projects couldn’t commit until now.”

So how does he feel about competing against his younger sister? “Well, it’s not for the first time,” he said. “We’ve raced against each before in other forms of sailing. I’m looking forward to it.” He added: “I know the first leg didn’t go so well for MAPFRE but it’s very early in the race. I still think we’ve got a very good opportunity to win the whole race. There’s some very strong sailors in the team.”

Greenhalgh will join the MAPFRE crew after flying in to Cape Town from the United Kingdom on Friday morning and will compete in that day’s practice race. The fleet departs for the second leg to Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, November 19.

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Nélias boosts MAPFRE

Posted on 11 November 2014 by Ivan Bidzilya

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Jean-Luc Nélias, the man who helped mastermind Groupama’s win in the last Volvo Ocean Race, will take over as navigator for Spanish boat MAPFRE for the second leg of this edition, starting on November 19.

Nélias (FRA) was also navigator for Franck Cammas’s winning crew in 2011-12. He replaces Nico Lunven (FRA) in the MAPFRE crew that finished seventh in the opening leg from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town on Friday (November 7). Nélias had already been working with MAPFRE as a weather analyst.

The team also announced that Michel Desjoyeaux (FRA), the twice Vendée Globe winner on board for the first leg, will not be sailing any further stages in the 2014-15 race but remains available to assist the team from on-shore.

MAPFRE emphasised that it was never planned for Desjoyeaux to sail the entire race. Desjoyeaux told Volvo Ocean Race: “The decision (for me) to no longer sail on board MAPFRE was taken by the team and me. They are not easy decisions to take but it’s also part of the life of a team. Even if I’m no longer sailing, I’ve not wasted my time. MAPFRE is a great team with really good guys on board.” His replacement will be announced in the next few days, the team added.

The team said their one-design Volvo Ocean 65 boat had arrived in Cape Town generally in good shape despite some relatively minor problems with the engine, batteries and other small breakages.

In all, MAPFRE sailed a total of 8,525 nautical miles (nm) and would have secured sixth spot on Friday had they not ran into an almost windless area under Table Mountain shortly before the finish. Team SCA took advantage to sail in on a more favoured course and snatched sixth instead.

The Spanish boat will be back in the water on Tuesday (November 11), preparing for the Cape Town in-port race on Saturday, November 14.

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