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Team Campos takes early lead of Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race

Posted on 19 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

One could argue that the starting gun for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race was fired on Saturday noon off Marina Rubicón in Lanzarote and Team Campos, skippered by Iker Martínez took the early lead. The Spanish team might the latest entry, officially announced a month ago, but with a crew that counts some of the world’s best offshore sailors it is certain they will make giant strides forward.

Iker Martínez and his crew, with French legend Michel Desjoyeaux onbaord as coach, had a perfect start at the pin end and got off the starting line with full pace. The red boat took the lead immediately and started the 670-nm circumnavigation of the Canary archipelago, in front of Team Brunel and Team SCA.

Lanzarote delivered and the race got underway with a nice 15 knots of northerly breeze. The reaching start made it even difficult for our photo boat to follow the brand new VO65′s that were blasting along the southwestern coast of Lanzarote. Having followed for just a few miles, less than 1% of the entire race, it will be difficult to draw any credible conclusions. However, if there were one point that stood out, that would be the shocking start of Team SCA. Sam Davies and her crew must have gotten their pre-start timing completely wrong and less than 20 seconds before the start, the Swedish VO65 was 300 meters behind the line, stalled. As a result, Team SCA started their first stand off against the other VO65′s at least half a minute late!

What was meant to be THE photo of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race edition, that is the three VO65′s crossing the starting line together, will have to wait. According to Michel Desjoyeaux, Team Campos had estimated it would need approximately 62 hours to complete the race and by Tuesday morning we will have much clearer indications on the VO65′s and the Volvo Ocean Race form guide while for sure, the three participating teams will have a wealth of information to digest and ponder upon in the debriefings…

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

Start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race. Marina Rubicón, 19 July 2014. Photo copyright Pierre Orphanidis / www.vsail.info

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The stage is set for the Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands

Posted on 18 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

With Team Brunel and Team Campos docked in Marina Rubicón, making the finals tweaks to their VO65′s, and with the expected arrival of Team SCA, early on Saturday morning, everything is ready for the start of the inaugural Round Canary Islands Race.

The route of the Round Canary Islands Race is fairly simple. The start will be given a few hundred meters off the Marina Rubicón entrance, which is located at the southernmost tip of Lanzarote. The VO65′s will then head north and round the archipelago’s seven main islands and handful of smaller islets with a straightforward rule. Boats have to leave all islands to starboard, round the archipelago and return to Marina Rubicón.

The Canary islands being in the trade wind belt, the prevailing wind is northeasterly throughout the year, being strongest in July and August and lightest in October and November. The high volcanic islands cause some local variations in both wind direction and strength. As a rule, there are different winds in the lee of the islands compared to the coasts exposed to the trade winds. When the NE trades are blowing strongly, an opposing wind usually blows on the other side of the island, varying in strength with the strength of the trade wind. A funnelling effect is also felt along the coasts of some of the mountainous islands and the trades can be accelerated by up to 15 knots in places.

After crossing the starting line, the fleet will head upwind to the northernmost islet of the archipelago, the volcanic islands of Alegranza. After rounding Alegranza, the VO65′s will head south, sailing along the east coastline of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. They will then embark on a westward route towards El Hierro, the westernmost island of the Canaries, that will first take them south of Gran Canaria.

Common sense would dictate that navigators would choose a route that minimizes distance. However, the island of Tenerife and its imposing Teide mountain cast a wind shadow that extends tens of miles south of the island. Teide has an altitude of 3,718 meters, making it the highest mountain in Spain and one of the highest in Europe. With a surface of more than 2,000 km2, Tenerife’s impact on the atmosphere is such that the fleet will have to sail further south. Navigators will have to find the sweet spot between minimizing distance and maximizing speed.

Rounding the island of El Hierro will be another critical point. Going too close to the shore could come with a heavy price as the boats could find themselves trapped in a hole for hours with hardly any breeze. Once past El Hierro, the VO65′s will again sail upwind, towards La Palma, their final rounding point. From that point, the fleet will have a 200-mile stretch of nearly straight-line reaching to the finish line, off the Marina Rubicón.

NASA’s satellite photo, taken exactly 13 months ago, clearly shows the effect the land masses have on the prevailing trade winds. The breeze is funneled between the islands but becalmed to the south of them.

Telefonica training route – August 2011

Team Telefonica had established in 2011 its training base in Marina Rubicón, in view of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, and rounding the Canary archipelago was, obviously, part of its training schedule. The Google Map here below isn’t a simple approximation of a possible route but represents the exact trace of the Spanish VOR70 in the training session that started on August 17, 2011 and lasted exactly 52 hours and 21 minutes.

Although the Telefonica VOR70 wasn’t in racing mode, as the three VO65′s will be from tomorrow, her route gives a very good idea of what the three teams will be doing during the weekend. It will also be interesting to see how the brand new VO65′s compare to the VOR70′s and this will be the very first time such a precise reference exists.

Conditions during Telefonica’s training session in 2011 were quite brisk and the Spanish VOR70 was doing most of the time 20kt with peaks of 25kt. The only major setback the Spanish team suffered, was getting trapped, nearly windless, south of El Hierro for approximately one hour.

Conditions during the following three days are expected to be very similar to the ones Telefonica experienced three years ago and given the fact the VO65′s are considered to be, on average, 10%-15% slower than their predecessors, organizers expect a duration of about 58 hours for the Round Canary Islands Race. The winning boat is expected to cross the finish line in the wee hours of Tuesday.

Stay tuned here for more exhaustive coverage of the Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race, starting at Saturday noon.

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Marina Rubicón sets ambitious goal with Round Canary Islands Race

Posted on 15 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

A brand new offshore race will see the light this weekend off Marina Rubicón, in Lanzarote, Spain, as a local ORC fleet and no less than three VO65′s will embark on the inaugural edition of the Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race.

As its name implies, the participating fleet will set off in front of Marina Rubicón, round the seven Canary islands and finish again off Marina Rubicón, covering a total of, approximately, 650 nautical miles. Conditions are expected to be varied and crews will have a full plate during the three racing days.

Three VO65′s, half the six-strong fleet that will take part in the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race, will be on the starting line off Marina Rubicón at 12pm local time on Saturday. This will also make it the very first time the brand new one-designs will line up against each other and will certainly provide a unique opportunity to gauge their performance in view of the start in Alicante, less than three months from now.

Team Brunel, skippered by Bouwe Bekking, is an obvious participant as the Dutch team call Marina Rubicón their home, having established a training base there a few months ago.

Team SCA will also sail on familiar waters as their training base is also in Lanzarote, a few miles north of Marina Rubicón. It will be very interesting to evaluate how the all-female crew measures up to their all-male opponents. Team SCA’s squad is now complete with 15 women from five nations representing, without an doubt, the best of the best in female offshore sailing. In addition, Team SCA is the best-funded of the six participating teams in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race and its crew has thousands of ocean miles under their belts, a lot of them in two-boat training mode against a modified VOR70.

The third participant will, undoubtedly, be the one to take a close look at. Pedro Campos’ Team Campos, skippered by Spanish champion Iker Martinez, will actually make their first public appearance after officially announcing their participation less than a month ago. Despite having a star-studded crew they lack the training time their opponents have had so far. The Spanish VO65 is currently on her way to Lanzarote, having left her base in northern Spain on Monday.

What will certainly catch our attention on Saturday, and that of our camera, will certainly be Michel Desjoyeaux! Team Campos has just announced that the French offshore sailing legend will be onboard in order to coach the team and help in their preparation for the Volvo Ocean Race.

Although the focus will be on the VO65′s, a fleet of local ORC’s is also expected to take part in this first edition of the race and organizers have set an ambitious goal to make this bi-annual race the European equivalent of the Caribbean RORC 600. The Canary Islands certainly have the conditions to make this happen and one can only hope that a few years from now the Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race will have become a permanent feature in the European sailing season.

VSail.info will, obviously be there in order to provide full coverage. Stay tuned for two days, Friday and Saturday, of in-depth reports, photos and interviews from Marina Rubicón. If conditions allow it, we will follow the three VO65′s during the initial dozens of miles of the race.

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Destination England for Abu Dhabi and Team Alvimedica

Posted on 10 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Two rival Volvo Ocean Race crews have set out for transatlantic crossings from Newport, Rhode Island to the United Kingdom this week as preparations for the event start in October continued to heat up.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Alvimedica are strictly forbidden under Volvo Ocean Race rules to compete against each other over such a trip, but were given permission to start their transatlantic passages on Wednesday at the same time in a ‘promotional start’ watched by hundreds of Newport sailing fans.

The Emirati-backed crew led by Britain’s Ian Walker was in buoyant mood ahead of Wednesday’s departure for Gosport in England after a short break following its 3,116 nautical mile trip from Portugal to Rhode Island.

That crossing threw up some unique moments including an unexpected three-blast salute from the famous ocean liner RMS Queen Mary 2 – the flagship of the Cunard Line – which overhauled the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing Azzam boat as both navigated around a zone of icebergs.

“We had just sailed five days without seeing another boat and suddenly the RMS Queen Mary 2 comes within 250 yards,” Walker said.

“I spoke to the captain on the radio: he came in close and gave us three very loud blasts. All the guests were on deck waving and taking photos of us. Unbelievable moment.”

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Alvimedica head to the UK. Newport, 10 July 2014. Photo copyright Sam Greenfield / Volvo Ocean Race

After arriving in England, Azzam will be prepared for the Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week where it will take on its first competitive outings – the Artemis Challenge Race around the Isle of Wight on August 7 and the Sevenstar Round Britain & Ireland Race on August 10.

Team Alvimedica also set out from Narragansett Bay in Newport for Southampton and completed a short circuit before finally waving farewell to its American homeport. The next time it will be back will be when the Volvo Ocean Race visits Newport in May next year.

“It’s not easy to leave friends and family behind but it is time to get out and go sailing,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “While we have achieved a lot in our month here in Newport, we now need to maximise our time at sea together as a team.”

Like Azzam, Team Alvimedica will compete in the Round Britain & Ireland Race.

The campaign, sailing under the American and Turkish flags, this week confirmed five new sailors to join Enright and Mark Towill.

American Nick Dana, New Zealanders Ryan Houston and Dave Swete, Australian Will Oxley, and Italian Alberto Bolzan have all joined, and only the latter is a Volvo Ocean Race rookie plus the first from his country to join a crew in the 2014-15 edition. Amory Ross of Rhode Island has been named as the team’s Onboard Reporter.

The Spanish team, whose main sponsor is yet to be confirmed, also completed part of their recruitment drive this week with Frenchman Nico Lunven and Spaniards Rafa Trujillo and Antonio ‘Ñeti Cuervas-Mons joining the line-up led by Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández.

It will be the third Volvo Ocean Race for ‘Ñeti’ who will be taking charge of training the under 30s in the Spanish crew and also extra coaching responsibilities.

Team Brunel, meanwhile, completed their line-up with the confirmation of another Frenchman, Laurent Pagès, in their ranks.

Having helped Groupama to victory in the last race, the sailor from southwest France already has plenty of experience. He also knows his new skipper Bouwe Bekking well as they sailed together on third-placed Telefónica Blue back in 2008-09.

Dongfeng Race Team sailed to Spain for a 48-hour break from the rain in Lorient while Team SCA’s all-female crew both took time out from offshore training this week.

The women of Team SCA are focusing their sights firmly on their last big competitive test before the Race start on October 4. They will be joining several other boats from the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, including Azzam and Team Alvimedica, in the Round Britain & Ireland Race in August.

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French sailor Laurent Pagès joins Team Brunel in the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

Posted on 08 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Brunel] With the arrival of Volvo Ocean Race veteran Laurent Pagès, Bouwe Bekking has completed his team. Previously, Pagès sailed along as a watch captain and trimmer aboard the Spanish team Telefonica Blue, and during the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, he was watch leader and tactician aboard the winning team Groupama.

Pagès and Bekking already joined forces with Telefonica Blue in the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Laurent Pages: ‘Sailing around the world again with such an experienced skipper is special to me, as my first Volvo experience was with Bouwe during the 2008-09 edition. This experience was really a great one. It is a great pleasure to join Team Brunel for the next Volvo Ocean Race. I appreciate the spirit of the team a lot. They are dedicated, friendly, and ambitious. On a personal side, this is a new challenge with a new Team, a new boat and with the ambition of winning the Volvo Ocean Race again.’

With the addition of Laurent Pagès, the Team Brunel crew is now complete. Photo copyright Ian Roman / Volvo Ocean Race

Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking is delighted to welcome Laurent Pagès onboard. Bouwe Bekking: ‘Laurent is a superb sailor with whom I raced successfully for many years. His technical skills, eye for detail, a winner in several one design classes, and of course winning the last Volvo Ocean Race are a couple of ingredients as a skipper you only dream of. His character fits perfectly with the rest of the guys, so I am really happy he will join us.’

With the arrival of Laurent the team is complete. The other crew members are Bouwe Bekking (NLD), Gerd-Jan Poortman (NLD), Pablo Arrarte (ESP), Jens Dolmer (DNK), Andrew Cape (AUT), Rokas Milevicius (LTU) and Louis Balcaen (BEL).

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Eight new crew members named by Volvo Ocean Race teams

Posted on 07 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] The Team Alvimedica crew will include Italian Alberto Bolzan, American Nick Dana, Australian Will Oxley plus New Zealanders Ryan Houston and Dave Swete. Another American, Amory Ross, will be the Onboard Reporter (OBR),

They will join skipper Charlie Enright and co-founder Mark Towill in their final race crew.

The Spanish team, which has yet to announce its main title sponsors, will include Spaniards Rafa Trujillo and Antonio ‘Neti’ Cuervas-Mons plus Frenchman Nicolas Lunven in their line-up alongside the previously announced Iker Martínez and Xabi Fernández.

The five recruits to the 2014-15 crew leave Team Alvimedica needing to fill just one more gap before the first event of the 12th edition, the Alicante in-port race on October 4.

Their recruitment confirms Team Alvimedica’s ambition to use a young crew of sailors since all are in their 20s or early 30s with the exception of the hugely experienced Oxley, 49, who has already been navigator in two previous Volvo Ocean Races.

Bolzan, 32, from Trieste, is a rookie in the race but has four world championships under his belt (see biographies below) and is the first Italian to be named in this edition’s crews.

The other four sailors all competed in the last edition including Nick Dana who was OBR (then known as media crew member) for Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. Amory Ross was Puma’s OBR in 2011-12.

Three of the crew – Enright, Dana and Ross – are from Rhode Island which will host the race when the boats visit Newport in May 2015.

“With only eight race crew positions each role on board is vital,” said Enright. “Sailing skill is the main requirement but equally important is the team chemistry and ability to work together in a confined space for 38,000 miles around the world.

“To achieve great results on the water we need a collaborative group who will look after each other’s safety and well-being throughout a range of challenging conditions.”

The team next sets out from Newport on Wednesday (June 9) for a transatlantic training run to the United Kingdom. The team will line up against Volvo Ocean Race rivals Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing for a promotional start out of Narragansett Bay.

Meanwhile, Neti Cuervas-Mons was celebrating his third call-up for a Volvo Ocean Race at the age of just 32 for the Spanish team after competing in the 2008-09 and 2011-12 editions.

A big change for him this time is that his responsibilities will go far beyond just sailing. “Besides being a key player in the team, he is also in charge of the mast and everything that ‘goes up’. He will train the under 30 crew members and other members of the crew as well,” said Fernández.

Trujillo, 38, from Cadiz is a four-time Olympian and won silver in Athens in 2004. Additionally, he has competed in the America’s Cup but this is his first Volvo Ocean Race.

Frenchman ‘Nico’ Lunven, 31, is a well-known Brittany sailor having won the Solitaire du Figaro in 2009. He will be responsible for navigation for the Spanish team.

Said Fernández: “Nico is a very young sailor and a very talented navigator. In this edition we will have to push even harder because of the fact that we are sailing on one-design boats and the navigator’s profile changes a bit.

“Besides Nico being ultimately responsible for the navigation, he is also another driver, another trimmer and in critical moments he can give a hand on deck.”

Confirmed crew for Team Alvimedica
Charlie Enright, 29 (USA) – Skipper
Mark Towill, 25 (USA) – General Manager
Alberto Bolzan, 32 (ITA)
Nick Dana, 28 (USA)
Ryan Houston, 31 (NZL)
Will Oxley, 49 (AUS) – Navigator
David Swete, 30 (NZL)
Amory Ross, 30 (USA) – Onboard Reporter

Confirmed crew for the Spanish Team
Iker Martínez, 37 (ESP)
Xabi Fernández, 37 (ESP)
Nicolas Lunven, 31 (FRA) – navigator
Rafael Trujillo, 38 (ESP) – trimmer/driver
Antonio “Ñeti” Cuervas-Mons, 32 (ESP) – bowman

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Bloody, stitched nose onboard Abu Dhabi’s Azzam

Posted on 24 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing] ‘Parko’ is sporting a painful looking bloody nose this morning after smacking himself in the face with the metal end of a halyard during a routine manoeuvre last night. In the early hours of this morning the team’s onboard medic Phil ‘Wendy’ Harmer patched Parko up with Steri-Strips, and when dawn broke the Australian was back in action at the helm of Azzam steering her towards Newport, Rhode Island.

“I was swinging a halyard lock around the spreader when it caught my nose, pretty stupid really,” Parko explained. “It bled badly but Wendy stitched me up well and good”.

Racing across oceans requires a high degree of self-sufficiency in order to deal with whatever situations may arise. In this respect the experienced Abu Dhabi crew is particularly strong. As well as Wendy’s medical training others in the crew are trained sailmakers, engineers and boatbuilders – and between them the ADOR sailors have completed 20 Volvo Ocean Races.

Right now Azzam is slicing through choppy swells with 15 knots of breeze on the second day of the transatlantic crossing from Portugal to the USA. These are perfect conditions for fast sailing and the crew is taking full advantage of them to rack up the miles towards Newport before they encounter the lighter winds forecast for tomorrow.

Luke ‘Parko’ Parkinson gets a bloody nose during a maneuver in the middle of the Atlantic. Photo copyright Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

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Fabulous photo gallery: Team Alvimedica sailing in front of the Statue of Liberty

Posted on 23 June 2014 by Valencia Sailing

It’s doubtful there is more than a handful of backdrops in this world as famous as the Statue of Liberty. Every yacht sailing in front of it looks beautiful, even more so is it’s the VO65 of Team Alvimedica, the Turkish Volvo Ocean Race entry. The Turkish-American boat will be named next Saturday, June 28th, at a ceremony in Newport. All photos are courtesy of Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

The Team Alvimedica VO65 sails in front of the Statue of Liberty. New York, 22 Jun 2014. Photo copyright Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

The Team Alvimedica VO65 sails in front of the Statue of Liberty. New York, 22 Jun 2014. Photo copyright Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

The Team Alvimedica VO65 sails in front of the Statue of Liberty. New York, 22 Jun 2014. Photo copyright Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

The Team Alvimedica VO65 sails in front of the Statue of Liberty. New York, 22 Jun 2014. Photo copyright Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

The Team Alvimedica VO65 sails in front of the Statue of Liberty. New York, 22 Jun 2014. Photo copyright Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

The Team Alvimedica VO65 sails in front of the Statue of Liberty. New York, 22 Jun 2014. Photo copyright Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

The Team Alvimedica VO65 sails in front of the Statue of Liberty. New York, 22 Jun 2014. Photo copyright Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

The Team Alvimedica VO65 sails in front of the Statue of Liberty. New York, 22 Jun 2014. Photo copyright Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

The Team Alvimedica VO65 sails in front of the Statue of Liberty. New York, 22 Jun 2014. Photo copyright Daniel Forster / Team Alvimedica

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