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Vestas Wind Systems completes Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 line-up

Posted on 12 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Six-time world champion Chris Nicholson, who will be contesting his fifth race, will skipper the boat and work is already well underway to ready the Danish company’s team for the race start in October.

“It’s an honour to be skipper of Team Vestas Wind. They have unmatched expertise in harnessing the power of wind and together we can use our knowledge to take on this challenge,” said Nicholson who has twice represented Australia in the Olympics.

Two Danes, Nicolai Sehested and Peter Wibroe, will feature in the eight-man crew. Sehested, 24, is among the youngest from his country to have competed in the race.

Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad believes that Team Vestas Wind – the first ever Danish boat to enter the race – is a perfect fit. “Vestas is a global company which is completely focused on wind energy and making the world a cleaner place for generations to come,” he said.

“Overall, I’m delighted that we will have seven teams on the start line, all racing the brand new Volvo Ocean 65 one-design boats, a concept that was introduced only two years ago.”

Vestas has built up a powerful reputation for its wind technologies, products and services. It began manufacturing wind turbines in 1979 and has become a market leader in the area.

“Wind is our business and our passion. The Volvo Ocean Race is the ideal platform for us to engage with our customers, showcase our technology and strengthen our brand in some of our most important markets. This supports our new corporate strategy ‘Profitable Growth for Vestas’”, said Anders Runevad, Group President & CEO at Vestas Wind Systems.

Team Vestas Wind will join Team SCA, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team, Team Brunel, Team Alvimedica and a Spanish team whose title sponsor has yet to be announced, on the start line.

The boat will face its first test on water in mid-August as the crew prepares to sail the 2,000 nautical miles qualifying distance, a pre-requisite of joining the Volvo Ocean Race which starts with the In-port race in Alicante on October 4.

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Team Alvimedica completes Volvo Ocean Race line-up

Posted on 10 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Alvimedica] Team Alvimedica have completed their line-up for the forthcoming Volvo Ocean Race by confirming Matt Noble as the final crew member.

The full line-up will take part in the Round Britain and Ireland Race, which starts today from Cowes on the Isle of Wight and includes five Volvo Ocean Race teams. Severe weather warnings are in place and conditions are expected to be treacherous.

“The Round Britain and Ireland Race is our first competition against the other Volvo boats, and one of our last training missions before we sail around the world, so we are really happy to have completed our crew,” said skipper Charlie Enright.

“We are very excited to have Matt. He did the recent Transatlantic crossing with us, and everything worked out great. So, to complete the line-up is a really good feeling and we’re ready to move forward as a group.”

The appointment of the 28-year-old Noble, who hails from San Francisco and will be sailing around the world for the very first time, underlines Team Alvimedica’s commitment to blooding young sailing talent.

Noble, the fourth American in the team, finished third at two 29er world championships and won the International 14 class world championships in Germany in 2008.

The Volvo Ocean Race, the world’s toughest and longest sporting event, starts in Alicante, Spain on October 4. Team Alvimedica is competing in the race for the very first time.

Based in Turkey and founded in 2007, Alvimedica, is a medical devices company committed to developing minimally invasive technologies. The company is a fast-growing challenger in the global field of interventional cardiology.

Matt Noble completes the Team Alvimedica lineup for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race

 

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Start of Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race postponed until Monday morning

Posted on 10 August 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Royal Ocean Racing Club] The Royal Ocean Racing Club has issued a statement announcing that the start of the 2014 edition of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race has been postponed.

The decision has been taken to postpone the start of the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race 2014 by 21 hours. The new start time will be 0900 on Monday 11th August 2014.

The Race Committee took this decision after receiving advice that the low pressure system known as Bertha is moving more slowly than previously predicted, with the result that the forecast winds for the start and the immediate period afterwards includes sustained winds of 40 knots with gusts in excess of 50 knots in the English Channel.

The advice is that this delay will allow time for the severe winds to abate as the low pressure system moves North East.

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Five Volvo Ocean Race Teams Face Off In Round Britain Test

Posted on 31 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Iker Martinez’s Spanish team will try out potential new crew members as they make their way to the UK for the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race this week.

The event, which starts on August 9 and is preceded by Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, will see five of the new, one-design Volvo Ocean 65 boats navigate Britain’s 1,800 miles of notoriously tricky coastline.

Four other teams – Team SCA, Team Alvimedica, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Dongfeng Race Team – will join Martinez’s crew at the start line of what is the final competitive test before the beginning of the Volvo Ocean Race in October.

And the Spaniard has drafted in Guillermo ‘Willy’ Altadill and Carlos Hernández to join his team for the practice race – as the pair attempts to secure a permanent place on board.

The Spanish team are currently some way behind their rivals in terms of preparation, and the skipper is relishing the opportunity to blood some new talent.

“We’d like to try 10 more guys but we just don’t have the time – that’s the problem with such a tight schedule,” he said.

At 21 and 27 respectively, the pair would both fill Under 30’s spots on board – but despite their relative youth, Martínez believes that they could prove to be valuable additions to his crew.

“They are good sailors, and have a lot of experience with large boats,” he said. “We have sailed together over the last few days, and both of them have performed very well. They are young, fit and possess a lot of technical ability.”

Meanwhile, Dongfeng Race Team have packed up their Lorient training base and are currently en route to the UK.

The trip is a particularly exciting one for their Chinese sailors, who have never visited the islands before.

“Multiple Chinese crew will take part in the race, which is a major step forward for China in terms of offshore sailing,” said Team Director, Bruno Dubois.

“There is still a lot to do but if we look at the big picture and our long-term goal, this is a first success,” he added.

“I am proud that in just six months, we’ve managed to reach this point.”

This week’s journey also represents a landmark occasion for Team SCA, who have waved goodbye to their Lanzarote training base after 18 months.

The girls are now well into their estimated eight-day sail to the UK, and Onboard Reporter Corinna Halloran believes that the trip is providing important practice for the race proper.

“We are well into a daily routine,” she said. “A routine that will sustain us for days during this delivery, but will sustain us for weeks during the longest of the legs.”

Having arrived in Southampton following a successful transatlantic crossing from Rhode Island, USA last week, Team Alvimedica have taken the opportunity to enjoy a well-earned break.

Skipper Charlie Enright was delighted with the performance of his team during the voyage, and believes that the unpredictable conditions they encountered only served to strengthen the spirit of his crew.

“I think the trip was incredible for the dynamic. It was the first time with eight crew members, and every little change had an effect in a positive direction,” he said.

“The Round Britain and Ireland Race is the next step for the team. We are using it as training, and trying to learn and hone our skills. It’s a big opportunity, and one we’re excited about.”

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing joined the Rhode Islanders on that transatlantic trip, and will also sail in the race around Britain.

The crew’s Emirati sailor, Adil Khalid, led their Eid festivities this week – and there was double cause for celebration as skipper Ian Walker announced the crew’s ‘One4Azzam’ competition winner.

Keith Burhans, a 58-year-old paralympian from the USA, secured the most votes in the online contest, and will now take his place on board Azzam for the 50-mile Artemis Challenge in Cowes on August 7th.

“Getting the chance to sail with them is a dream come true – a real bucket-list opportunity,” he said.

Meanwhile, as the rest of the teams prepare to test themselves offshore, Team Brunel are staying firmly on land in order to ensure that they are in the best possible shape for the race.

Along with fitness trainer Dominic Ramino, the crew have been putting in the hours at the gym, and their experienced skipper Bouwe Bekking feels that his team could reap the benefits of that physical superiority when it comes to the big race.

“We have been in the gym every morning for five months. With the help of Ramino, we will stand strong at the start in Alicante,” he said.

And as the beginning of the first leg draws nearer, Pablo Díaz-Munio has been appointed as Race Doctor for the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15.

Having worked closely with Ericsson Racing Team in 2008-9, and been the Official Team Doctor for Team Teléfonica in 2011-12, the Spaniard knows all too well the challenges that a race around the world can pose.

“In an event this extreme, minor problems can become major problems, and major problems can become emergencies,” he said.

Díaz-Munio has also accompanied record-breaking mountaineer Edurne Pasaban on three Himalayan campaigns.

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Photo gallery: Team Brunel training in Lanzarote

Posted on 28 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Fresh from their victory at the Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race, the Dutch team had yet another spectacular photo-shoot session off Lanzarote with top photographer Sander van der Borch:

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

Team Brunel trains less than three months before the start of the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race. Lanzarote, 23 July 2014. Photo copyright Sander van der Borch / Team Brunel

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Team Brunel strikes first blow in the Volvo Ocean Race

Posted on 23 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Brunel] On Saturday July 19th the starting gun was fired for the Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race. The 670 mile yacht race led the fleet in three days around the Canary Islands.

After the start Team Brunel took the second place in the first contest between three brand new VO65-racers. The Spanish Team Campos of skipper Iker Martinez took the lead shortly after the start and the ladies of Team SCA started last. Sunday morning Team Brunel grabbed the lead from Team Campos. After that Bouwe Bekking and his men built their lead rapidly to over 10 miles.

Monday morning the Dutch boat doubled their lead at the Spanish team to more than 20 miles. “We are sailing at the most southwestern tip of the archipelago. At this time we could not see Team Campos and Team SCA. Last night we were smoking,” navigator Andrew Cape reported from the boat. It was enough for the victory in the first Marina Rubicón Round Canary Islands Race. Team Brunel crossed the finish line at full speed in a pitch black Monday evening for the coast of Marina Rubicón at Lanzarote.

Rokas Milevičius: “The race was really fun, with various conditions. We had strong wind, light wind, no wind and we sailed up- and downwind. We knew exactly what to expect, because Andrew “Capey” Cape has done this race before. He did a great job in preparing the race. We knew where the wind would die and where the wind would increase. The speed of the three VO65’s was almost the same during the beginning of the race. After the start we sailed a few miles close together. During the first night we had a lot of wind up to 30 knots.

We were pushing harder than Team Campos and Team SCA. We did some good sail changes, and after rounding Lanzarote we took the lead. At sunrise we could not see the Spanish boat anymore. But a few miles later we were parked in an area with no wind. We hoped that they would not overtake us from behind, but they parked first. Luckily we found the first wind. Clearly Capey has given us the victory.”

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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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