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Juan Kouyoumdjian talks to VSail.info about the Volvo Ocean Race (Part II)

Posted on 02 July 2012 by Valencia Sailing

We continue our talk with Juan Kouyoumdjian, soon to become a three-time Volvo Ocean Race winner, focusing on the current VO70 yachts, their limits and the breakages they suffered in the current Volvo Ocean Race. Last but not least, we close our discussion by briefly touching on the issue of the America’s Cup and the breakage of the Artemis AC72 wing in Valencia [Click here to read the first installment of this extremely interesting interview]:

VSail.info: I think we covered the issue of the future one-design boat exhaustively. Let’s now switch our focus to the current race and the current boats. The entire fleet, with no exception, suffered severe breakages throughout the race, raising concerns about their seaworthiness. Do you agree that they have been designed too close to the edge, compromising seaworthiness for speed?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: I disagree with that although it all depends on your definition of the word “severe”. None of the boats we designed had to stop racing because of any damage. The most serious issue was on Telefonica that stopped for more or less 12 hours and I wouldn’t call that severe since she could have continued as she was although at slower pace.

VSail.info: Correct me if I’m wrong but both Puma and Groupama dismasted, forcing them to either retire from a leg or stop for a few days in order to make the necessary repairs. Wouldn’t you call that “severe”?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: We didn’t design the rigging on these two boats. However, what seems a little bit worrisome, at least to me, about this race, especially because it’s a very important race for all of us, is that this notion of reducing budgets is not new. Actually, budgets were reduced in this edition but this didn’t bring more teams. If we want to focus too much on the teams that want to spend less what will happen to the teams that don’t? There are such teams and, actually, there is a team that isn’t doing this race because precisely they were not specifically budget driven.

VSail.info: I don’t understand. Are you saying that a potential team didn’t enter the current Volvo Ocean Race edition because they wanted to spend more money?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: Yes, it was Ericsson. What they basically said was “We want to re-enter the race but we want to do it with our philosophy, which means two boats, two-boat testing, development and involvement from our part”. Knut Frostad’s reply was “No way, I’m not going to allow it” and Ericsson decided not to go ahead. At that time there was a notion of budget limit but that proposal was then withdrawn. There are teams that are not directly driven by budget.

Barring any last-minute disasters, Groupama will give Juan Kouyoumdjian his third consecutive victory in the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo copyright Ian Roman / Volvo Ocean Race

VSail.info: You might be right but then it’s the old “existential” question in sailing. Do we want an America’s Cup or a Volvo Ocean Race with three or with eight-ten teams?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: You seem to think that smaller budgets will bring more teams. That’s the way it was presented and this is the bet Frostad himself decided to carry out. I wish him all the luck but it’s not going to work. If the intention was to drastically reduce budgets Knut Frostad should have done better than just 65 feet.

VSail.info: It is still possible that all three of your designs get the three overall podium spots of this race. As a result, I guess you have done many things well. Is there an area where you think you committed errors though? In hindsight what would you have done differently?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: You always learn and progress, every time you do something. I think that the day we think we can’t do anything better, we should close the doors of this office and go do something different. If you want, I could give you a list and there are plenty of things that we should have kept a bigger eye on. If this continues, I think that making very specific cases on quality control and making sure that some pieces on the boat are built the way they were designed; this is very important. If I can make a suggestion to the people that will be involved with the new one-design it would be exactly that.

Even in a one-design there will be rudders that will be built differently, resulting in breakages. That will bring again the issue of responsibility. What happens if Team A breaks a rudder and Team B, with the exact same rudder and under the same weather conditions, doesn’t break it?

VSail.info: You will never have the exact same weather conditions. At some stages, the boats are hundreds of miles apart from each other.
Juan Kouyoumdjian: The other day, Groupama and Telefonica were within meters of each other. One boat broke two rudders and the other one didn’t.

VSail.info: What caused the two broken rudders on Telefonica?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: It is currently being investigated and I don’t think I should get into that right now. There is a pending investigation and we can talk about that some other time.

There is a very important issue here though. You talk about seaworthiness but it’s not about the boat alone. It also concerns the group of people that sail her. While it might be good to try to reduce costs and lower the entry level for the teams, we should always be aware that these boats will sail around the world, achieving great speeds. They will need to have a very professional and highly prepared group of people onboard, which he have in this edition and the previous one. Imagine now the situation where the bar is dropped too low and you have teams that are not prepared in terms of not having enough time on the water, not enough budget, not enough controls on the boat. It’s the debate of quantity over quality.

VSail.info: Let’s assume there are eight teams next time and with a crew of just eight, the total number of sailors in the race will not be different from what we have in this edition, give or take a few. It’s fair to assume most of the sailors would like to race again, so the pool of available sailors will practically be the same. I think we’ll see lots of familiar faces again.
Juan Kouyoumdjian: However, the last entries will sail their new boat just two months before the start of the race. That team is going to break things. The last team to enter will be the one to have the least trained sailors and I still don’t understand why they keep talking about the breakages. The whole issue is wrongly explained by the experts and by that I mean Knut Frostad, because he did the race himself many times as a sailor. I’m surprised that a person that sailed this race doesn’t explain it to the public.

Let me give you very simple example. Take a rally car, the best rally car, give it to an amateur driver and ask him to race in the Finnish Rally, one of the hardest ones in the world. If he drives at 150km/h, jumps a crest and smashes into a pine how would you react? Would you claim that his car wasn’t safe enough? If he goes through a sequence of chicanes and smashes the car again how would you react? Will you claim again that the car wasn’t strong enough? This isn’t even debated in the rally world. If you jump a series of bumps, doing 150km/h and you break the car’s suspension will you blame Ford or Mitsubishi for that?

This is the point where it becomes a joke. Whoever thinks that because of doing a one-design the breakages will be reduced, is mistaken.

VSail.info: Then in your case, do we have to blame Telefonica’s crew for the breakages?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: Not based on what I know today and pending an investigation of their construction, however when we design these boats there is a very clear discussion and exchange to what the limits are on the different aspects of the boat. You are very quickly facing the situation where you can design something to have more resistance or more reliability but this comes with a price that you will carry 99% of the race. So you tell the team “I’ll give you a pair or rudders that for sure there is no speed, no wave on this planet that can break them. Even if 95% of the race you’ll have more weight and more drag, in that 5% of the race that you will need it, it’s not going to break.” I can already give you the answer of 100% of the skippers.

VSail.info: Since you are now involved with both the Artemis Racing multihulls (the ORMA60 trimaran and the AC72 catamaran) could you envision the Volvo Ocean Race being sailed on multihulls?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: Yes, I think so. I think that multihulls, in the world of sailing, are much more efficient than monohulls. The flatter the water is, the bigger the difference in efficiency is but multihulls suffer from sea state and waves much more than monohulls. So, in the case of a round-the-world race you would have to condition the design of the multihulls in a way to withstand these conditions and as such it wouldn’t be as fast a multihull as another high-performance multihull of the same length could be.

VSail.info: I don’t disagree but they would still be faster than the current monohulls.
Juan Kouyoumdjian: Yes, they would still be faster than the current monohulls but the difference lies in the fact that a VO70 is today a very fast 70-footer, probably the fastest 70-footer there is. The fastest 70-foot multihull is probably the AC72 but you can’t race her around the world. The comparison isn’t applicable to multihulls.

VSail.info: Even if you don’t have the fastest 70-foot trimaran it will always be faster than a VO70 and it will allow you to cut the duration of the legs, let’s say from two-three weeks down to 10 days.
Juan Kouyoumdjian: Multihulls is definitely a way to do that and it could be a good way of reducing costs as well.

VSail.info: Let’s now talk about the future. What’s in store for JYD after the end of this Volvo Ocean Race?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: Our main focus, for sure, will be the America’s Cup. We will have to decide at some point whether we are involved in the next Volvo, even if it’s a one-design race, depending on the rules they establish. Maybe they write a rule which says that Juan Yacht Design cannot be involved. Maybe that makes it even easier for us. It’s sad to see that there is a possibility that we, as a design office, are not involved with the Volvo Ocean Race in the future.

The Volvo Ocean Race made the announcement about the new one-design and they now have to work to make it a reality. Making announcements is the easy part, making it work is the most difficult one. If it works, good luck to them but I still believe they is a big hole for grand prix offshore races.

VSail.info: Will you be involved with the IMOCA60’s?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: We have designed the new Cheminées Poujoulat and we have been offered the possibility to design another one. However, in that class as well they are talking about one-design and as a result we don’t know what the future holds. If the IMOCA60’s don’t go one-design, for sure we will be involved.

VSail.info: If they do decide to go one-design what will the process be? Will they invite bids from various designers? Would you make a proposal if asked?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: I don’t think IMOCA will be one-design because in my opinion one-design is not the way to go in these grand prix offshore races. One-design is not grand prix racing. It’s just a marketing event.

VSail.info: The MOD70’s are another one-design class that pretends to build a niche in offshore racing.
Juan Kouyoumdjian: It’s not grand prix either, it’s just a marketing event. They still haven’t raced and we don’t know whether it will be a successful class or not.

VSail.info: Last but not least, I can’t avoid talking about the Artemis AC72 and the breakage it suffered here in Valencia a few weeks ago. First of all, did your office design it?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: Well, the Artemis design team designed the wing and our office is very much embedded in the Artemis design team. What I can tell you is that we learned a lot from that experience. We are certainly applying that knowledge into what we are doing next and I truly don’t think this is going to be the last wing to have issues. We are in a very competitive world and, for the moment, I would to like to keep for myself what we have learned and I don’t want anyone else to benefit from that knowledge.

It is obviously, a setback because we would have liked to have the wing ready right at the moment the Protocol would have allowed us to sail the first AC72 boat. That’s not the case, so we will lose some momentum, we will lose some scheduled times we had originally but that’s how these projects go.

VSail.info: What kind of racing should we expect to see from the AC72’s?
Juan Kouyoumdjian: I think it depends a lot on what the organizers want. If they just want a parade of boats around some buoys for marketing purposes, we will just have that. If they allow enough runway and movement for the boats and crews to express themselves I think it will be very spectacular. Since the Challenger Series and the America’s Cup itself are match races the quantity of teams is almost irrelevant. At the end of the day you just need two teams. As long as you have two, you have an America’s Cup. Whether you have five, ten or twenty challengers at the end you’ll only need two. So if your question was whether a match race race between two AC72’s would be spectacular, I think the chances are it will be very spectacular.

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Iker Martínez: “I am one hundred per cent sure that the jury’s decision today was totally incorrect”

Posted on 09 June 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Telefonica] 19 knots of breeze were blowing in the River Tajo today as the tide began to come in, at the predicted time of 12:00 UTC. That’s when the eighth inshore race so far of the Volvo Ocean Race kicked off. It took place in Lisbon with a course marked out originally along 18.6 miles, split into four legs, but after 40 minutes of racing, the regatta was cut down to 11.6 nautical miles.

The race began with the spinnakers hoisted, a downwind course and that was good for “Telefónica”. However, an early penalty which skipper Iker Martínez has qualified as “totally incorrect”, forced the Spanish boat to make a turn of 360º that wiped out any possibilities they may have had in the race, despite some good sailing. “A penalty with these winds, a few seconds after the start totally blows you out of the water”, said Martínez.

“We had to make a penalty turn at the start which obviously pushed us right to the back of the race”, explains the Basque skipper, back on shore. “The level at which we’re sailing the inshores now is much higher than it was previously and for that we were fairly happy, but today what threw out our chances in the race was quite simply a decision by the International Jury”.

The person in charge of rules and regulations on Team Telefónica is Luis Sáenz Mariscal. He explained what happened in the following terms: “What the umpire is saying is that we infringed Rule 17 which says that if an overlap occurs from clear astern you mustn’t sail above your proper course. My conclusion is that the umpires have made a serious error here and confused a leeward tack by “Puma” to hoist the spinnaker with a luff by ‘Telefónica’”.

In the Spaniard’s opinion: “They said what they saw on the water and they say that out on the water they saw a luff by “Telefónica” which meant that they weren’t able to keep clear of “Puma”, but the reality is that in cases like these, the rules are structured in a very simple fashion. There is a basic rule, which is the Windward-Leeward rule. Leeward has the right of way over windward. We were leeward and “Puma” was windward. “Puma” had to keep clear and they did absolutely nothing to keep clear. Then there are a series of limitations which state that we can’t luff too forcefully, that we can’t sail above our proper course… but these are exceptions applied in case of doubt and in this case “Puma” did nothing to keep clear and there was a moment where they did not halt the hoisting of the spinnaker and it touched our shrouds”.

In any case, as the lawyer points out: “The umpire’s decision is final and the matter is closed out on the water. There is nothing to be done and there is no channel for a redress or an appeal”.

“Groupama” won the race, about which Iker Martínez said that they sailed a great race. “I congratulate them, and they’ve also boosted their lead by five points, which is an important advantage for them”. American team “Puma” finished second and is now six points from Martínez and co in the overall rankings. The podium was finished off by “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand”.

The penultimate leg kicks off tomorrow

The eighth and penultimate leg in this edition of the round the world race starts tomorrow at 12:00 UTC and 13:00 local time in Lisbon.

It will take the boats across 1,940 miles from Lisbon to Lorient, home of “Groupama”, and the crew on “Telefónica” are now completely focussed on it.

“We’ll start a new leg tomorrow and we have to give it all we’ve got, as always. Out on the water there are things that come up and different possibilities which open up, but here on shore, until we take the start we have to prepare as best we can, rest up and make good sail choices etc. to then go on to compete at one hundred per cent on the leg. That is what we are going to do, as angry and disappointed as we might feel today. We feel that this is completely unjust but all we can do now is focus on tomorrow and prepare as best we can”, said Martínez.



I think that it’s very unfair that this happens, because the inshore races can decide the round the world regatta, although it’s the same for us all. The juries need to take the correct decisions and I’m one hundred per cent sure that today’s was a totally incorrect decision. I hope there’ll be no complaining later that the regatta rested on these points, which is something that could happen.


It was a difficult start, and downwind starts are always tricky and you don’t have as much control over the situation. It was a very tight start, especially with “Puma”, and everyone was lined up. Before the start “Puma” had won the position over us, so they made a better start. Just after the start there was an incident in which they came up very close to us as they were hoisting their spinnaker and as we were leeward we protested, thinking that they would be penalised for it. Of course we didn’t agree with this at all, but we had to take the penalty and that’s when we trailed behind in the race and it was very difficult.

Tomorrow the eighth and penultimate leg begins with a lot to play for. It’s a fairly short leg where we are likely to get a mix of conditions. We’ll set off with breeze and then we head for the Azores where there won’t be any and then as we exit it’s likely to pick up again. It’s an incredibly important leg and today we dropped some important points on “Groupama”, but I hope we’ll have a good leg. Everything slipped away today because of a decision by an International Jury and I don’t think we sailed badly, so we’re positive about tomorrow.

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Every point counts on twin-track race weekend in Lisbon

Posted on 08 June 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] A four-way scrap for overall honours and a three-way tie in the inshore series are set to light up Saturday’s Oeiras In-Port Race in Lisbon (starting 1300 local, 1200 UTC) 24 hours before the teams set out on the penultimate offshore leg to Lorient.

The top four teams overall are separated by just 21 points with three in-port races and two high-scoring offshore legs to go, with Groupama three points clear of second-placed Telefónica while PUMA and CAMPER lie within striking distance.

In the secondary battle to be the top team over the in-port races, things are even closer, with Abu Dhabi, PUMA and CAMPER all tied on 30 points and Groupama just four points behind them.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s first place in Leg 7 came too late to put them in contention overall but three inshore wins mean they can still come away from the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 with a major prize.

Skipper Ian Walker said his team were preparing to push hard for a victory, while hoping the other teams would be too distracted by each other and the competition in the overall standings.

But Walker knows it is going to be hard racing with predicted westerly winds ranging from eight to 12 knots set to create a lightening windward-leeward course in the Tagus River.

Groupama Sailing Team competing in the Pro-Am Race. Lisbon, 8 June 2012. Photo copyright t: Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race

“Fortunately racing will be around the turn of the tide so the current won’t be too strong,” Walker said. “It’s going to be very tight, very intense with boat handling, and that’s suited us in previous races.

“I’m hoping the other teams being so close on points will help us a little bit. I’m hoping they pay more attention to each other than to us.”

After Saturday, there will be two more in-port races and two more offshore legs to come. Victory in the offshore legs brings 30 points, with 25 for second, 20 for third and so on down to five points for sixth. The in-port races score at 20 percent of that rate, with six for first place, five for second and so on down to one point for sixth.

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Chris Nicholson reckons Saturday could be as hotly contested as the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race where the lead changed at a furious rate.

“It’s potentially quite shifty and I think it’s going to make it wide open,’’ he said. “We saw in Miami it was tidal and shifty and it was one of the best races to watch so far as position changes and I think we’re going to see that again.”

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG skipper Ken Read is just hoping that his team can continue their good form, which has seen them surge from a broken mast in Leg 1 to become a real race contender.

“It’s important that we just keep doing what we’re doing,’’ he said. “We’ve evolved to the point we’re at now due to thinking things through, hard work, effort. You’ve just got to keep doing what you do.”

For Telefónica, the focus will be on changing what they do after unforced errors, including sailing the wrong course and hitting a buoy, contributed to them finishing last in the past three in-port races.

Skipper Iker Martínez said his team had put their failures behind them and were now focused on a return to the performances that helped them win the in-port races in Cape Town and Sanya.

“In sailing it is impossible not to make mistakes and especially in a race like this one with so much time racing and competing,” he said.

Groupama sailing team will be working hard to ensure they keep ahead of Telefónica on the inshore racetrack. Skipper Franck Cammas said there was plenty of pressure going into the race on a narrow course leaving no margin for error.

“It is very complicated with tactics, but we’ll do what we can do. It’s important to try, it’s important to concentrate.”

Meanwhile, Team Sanya will continue to hunt for their first podium finish.

“That’s one of our goals and now we’re starting to run out of options so we do need to turn the heat up a bit,” said skipper Mike Sanderson.

The Oeiras In-Port Race will start at 1300 local, 1200 UTC, ahead of the start of the Leg 8 race to Lorient, France at the same time on Sunday.

Groupama Sailing Team competing in the Pro-Am Race. Lisbon, 8 June 2012. Photo copyright t: Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race

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“Epic” battle between Groupama and Telefonica at 1.5 knots…

Posted on 27 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

“Epic” battle between Groupama and Telefonica at 1.5 knots…

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Telefonica takes the lead on route to Europe

Posted on 24 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Telefonica] Telefonica has come out on top in the battle with France’s Groupama – at least for now. From the lead and now with 2,500 miles to go until Lisbon (Portugal) the team headed up by Iker Martínez is sailing in what is proving to be a totally unpredictable North Atlantic Ocean. Right now, focussing ahead on the next crucial point on the course, “Telefónica” has chosen a routing north to get past some high pressure which there is no doubt will force the fleet into taking some important decisions.

During the past few hours of battle between “Telefónica” and “Groupama” the balance has tipped in favour of the boat with Iker Martínez. At 22:00 UTC the Spanish entry moved into the lead of the fleet with over three miles on Franck Cammas and his crew, whilst also sailing two knots faster than their rivals.

Since then Spanish team has managed to keep up faster speeds than the French, strengthening their lead and at 13:00 UTC today the Spanish boat was nine miles in front of the second-placed entry and 18 miles ahead of “Abu Dhabi” in third place on the way to Lisbon. That’s all without taking into account the lateral distances between the boats, with “Telefónica” some 30 to 40 miles further east than “Abu Dhabi”, “Puma” and “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand”.

However, the leg has not been decided yet and as navigator Andrew Cape said from aboard the yacht today: “The boats behind have a bit more breeze right now, so they’ll be notching up some good data in the next few hours. The situation we’ve got coming up is quite thorny indeed. We’re going to hit a high pressure system tomorrow and then we’ll get the next squall, where we hope we’ll get away again. It’ll be interesting”.

The position report from 13:00 UTC confirmed that “Telefónica” was sailing at 13 knots and as Andrew Cape also said in a telephone call with the boat: “We’re getting some fun conditions, from the old school. Overall it’s all pretty irregular so we’re just sailing as strong as we can with the boat with loads of sail changes. For now the balance has tipped in our favour, so we’re happy about that”. And so they should be, with the Spanish boat sailing at averages of 11.9 knots and a distance run of 287 miles.

A crucial gybe

For Diego Fructuoso, “we’ve finally had a decent day. The more leeward sailing has yielded results and we’ve been able to go faster than our rivals. We’ve begun to gybe and as I said yesterday this is where the tactical moves come in. Cape says he’s happy with our position, although you can never be sure. The large anticyclone at the Azores is fairly close and we’ll have to see how each boat deals with it”.

Xabi confirmed this morning that “we’ve all gybed north now and I think we’re well-positioned. Let’s see if we’re lucky and we can be the first to catch the breeze and we can push ahead”. Andrew Cape explained that the vital gybe had taken place just forty minutes before Franck Cammas and co performed an identical move: “We gybed to the north just ahead of ‘Groupama’, maybe forty minutes or so ahead of them, and that put us further north”.

The Spanish boat is now sailing a purely northerly course, an option also chosen by the rest of the fleet to get through the transition zone which in a matter of 24 hours may bunch the six entries racing close together. Xabi Fernández explained why, after sailing an easterly course, directly for Lisbon, the entire fleet has shifted strategy to switch to a course north: “We’ve all missed the train and we’re waiting for the next one which is expected to come in from the northwest and that’s why we’re climbing up and we’ll have to see who is the first to catch the breeze, but I think we’re doing fine. We have to keep pushing hard and towards Lisbon”.

A different Atlantic crossing

The situation the boats have been through over the past few days of competition as they head for Lisbon has been very different to other North Atlantic passages before. This time the boats began to point east earlier than expected, although now the bows are back pointing northwards and for Iker Martínez the past few days have not been what the Spanish crew expected: “Normally an Atlantic crossing is on a more northerly routing, with more wind, some low pressure which gives quite a push and after gaining north you head east with some strong breeze coming in from downwind. However, this time it’s very calm and the Azores anticyclone is well-positioned but there are other areas of low pressure. It’s tricky. We’re all trying for a routing as close as possible to the most direct route and here we are. We have to keep thinking little by little how to get through the difficult zone and that’s probably where most differences will come up. After that we’ll see if we enter a zone of more stable breeze, which will be a bit more straightforward”.

Andrew Cape explained the current situation in the following terms: “There’s no doubt that we’re where we want to be and fortunately lots of things will be decided here. We’ll continue to play our old game and see how everything develops. There are lots of traps up ahead for us to know what’ll happen, but we’ll keep on pushing. Everyone’s well on board. We’ve had to do a lot of sail changes, and I don’t think there’s been a watch without one. The guys are happy to do everything they can to keep us ahead and they’ve got their reward. Good news”.

Full working pace with less than 2,500 miles to Lisbon

Less than 2,500 miles to Lisbon (Portugal), the final destination port of the seventh leg and on “Telefónica” there isn’t a moment’s rest. That’s because the objective right now is to hold onto the top spot “on board the boat our routine of shifting things forward and aft continues. The breeze picks up a bit and we’re all at the back, it drops and it’s the opposite. So we’re quite busy indeed. I can’t move anything, but I help however I can”, said Diego Fructuoso, who also explained that the constant changes also have some knock on irritations, nothing major, but irritations nonetheless: “I’m also the first to be dropped in the ‘bunk game’. When the guys head aft I have to give my bunk away to my crew mates”.

With little time to rest, the crew on “Telefónica” are getting back into the swing of things on board the boat and “although we’ve spent only a few days sailing it’s starting to smell on here and in my case it’s my sailing shoes. They’re damp and that damp smell is quite intense. My crew mates are over the moon about that. I think I’ll have to switch to boots pretty soon, although it’s not cold yet”, said Fructuoso. Spain’s Pablo Arrarte also echoed his crew mate’s comments on the temperature: “It’s been a good day. It’s not cold and we’ve got some good breeze. We’ve made it past ‘Groupama’ and let’s see if we can carry on like this”.

Spirits are high on board with the cold keeping at bay in the North Atlantic so far, but Andrew Cape put dampened the excitement, saying: “Right now we’re getting 14 knots of westerly breeze. There’s another front to grapple with coming up. The conditions are good, the sun’s just come up and there’s more light, which we appreciate because the nights are very dark without the moon. The conditions are pleasant but unfortunately things will get colder very soon as we gain northeast, but that’s just the way this is…”.

MIAMI (USA) – LISBON (PORTUGAL): 3,590 miles
Day 4 – 13:00 UTC – 24 de mayo de 2012

1. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 2,334.2 miles to finish
2. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas), +9.2 miles
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker), +18.4 miles
4. Puma Ocean Racing (Ken Read), +21.4 miles
5. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson), +22.7 miles
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson), +65.9 miles

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Telefonica finish fourth in Miami, hold on to overall lead

Posted on 10 May 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Team Telefonica] Following 17 days, 8 hours, 6 minutes and 38 seconds of the leg, “Telefónica” finished the sixth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race early this morning. After a heart-stopping final stretch, the boat headed up by Olympic champion Iker Martínez crossed the finishing line in Miami just 37 minutes after French entry “Groupama”. A fourth place for the Spanish team in this leg and they reach Miami maintaining the lead in the overall rankings of the regatta, although the points difference with their closest rivals have been reduced: to eleven points with second-placed “Groupama” and fifteen with third-placed “Camper”.

“We have to think about the fact that we are still in front on the leader board, which is important. This is the first ocean leg we haven’t finished on the podium and I also hope it’s our last. What we can do from here is prepare as we did for each of the legs and go for the next one, which is going to be both complex and tough, as well as very cold and windy, and then we’ll get to Europe for the final. We’re going for the next one!”, said Spanish skipper Iker Martínez just before stepping back on to dry land after more than 17 days at sea.

Yet again, a tight finish

“Telefónica” went all in against “Groupama” yesterday in the battle for third, a move which made in impact right up to the finishing line. The opportunity came for the Spaniards at one of the most central islands in the Bahamas, Cat island. The yacht changed course to put the island to port.

The play went well for Martínez and his guys who managed to move up to under two miles of the French boat, although they didn’t manage to get in front of them. With fifty miles to the finish just five miles stood between the boats.

Some seven hours before the finish the French boat was trapped by a cloud and was advancing at speeds of just over two knots, whilst “Telefónica” pushed ahead at 12 knots, with the finish 25 miles away. It looked like another podium finish was a possibility for the Spanish, although in the end the French broke free from the hold-up. At 00:29 UTC the podium of the leg was complete, with the final step going to Franck Cammas and his crew. The French skipper approached Iker Martínez to greet him, even before the skipper had stepped off his yacht, congratulating him on the battle the two had shared.

“The final 300 miles have been very intense because we were just seven or eight miles from ‘Groupama’ the whole time, but the course meant that it was really difficult to get in front of them and when we got into the channels at the Bahamas there were very few options available. We pressured them up to the finish. Towards the end they caught a cloud and it looked like we were getting close, but it wasn’t to be in the end”, said Alicante’s Pepe Ribes back on shore.

Iker Martínez admitted that “the result wasn’t what we wanted, especially as things were going relatively well until a few days before finishing, with everything under control more or less, the three boats leading and our rivals, the French behind and everything was looking good”.

“We fought for it right to the end, but it wasn’t to be. I don’t think that this result reflects the efforts everyone put in and the quality of work, but that’s how it is”, added the Basque skipper.

“Puma” winner of the leg. “Telefónica”, holds on to overall lead

“Puma” is the leg winner of the sixth leg, having crossed the finishing line at 14:14 local time (18:14 UTC). An hour and seven minutes later, at 19:21 UTC, “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” finished in second place.

After a total of six legs and five in-port races Team Telefónica continues to lead at the top of the overall standings, followed by “Groupama” (11 points behind) and “Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand” (15 points away) and “Puma” (17 points behind).


Iker Martínez, skipper
The last few miles are always very intense. We were very close to “Groupama”, and we were there fighting with them. The guys in front had already got away and it was impossible to catch them up unless they’d been stopped, which they weren’t. “Abu Dhabi” was behind, but further away, so it was a fight between the two of us with us battling with the French right up to the finish. We tried to get past them a few times, but it wasn’t possible. It is a real shame because it would have meant so much to have finished in third here and to have come in ahead of “Groupama” would have been a good result, but it wasn’t to be.

Xabi Fernández, trimmer
A result when it’s not a podium finish is never a good result. But it’s also why the great legs we’ve done before this count so much and have given us the cushion in terms of points. We are still ahead, and that is always good and now what we’ve got to do is to rest a bit and then analyse what we did and prepare for the next one.

Pablo Arrarte, helm
The Equatorial legs are usually very hot and with light airs and you get the boat ready for those light conditions, so one of the things you cut down on is food. We knew that it was going to be this hot and that we’d suffer! You complain when it’s cold and you complain when it’s hot. There’s nothing you can do about it, but personally I prefer the heat because the cold is a lot tougher to handle.

Pepe Ribes, boat captain
The leg was going pretty well until about 1,000 miles to go to the finish when we were 20 nautical miles from “Camper” and 40 from “Puma”. At that point there was a break and a very strong anticyclone moved in and caught us. We had to gybe and look for “Groupama”. The boats in front got away and the French got past us. Until then everything was going well, we were comfortable with the guys in front and a small issue in terms of positioning meant that it wasn’t us on the podium today.

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CAMPER welcomes jury ruling

Posted on 22 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

Related PDF Documents

– Jury decision on Camper’s request for redress

[Source: Emirates Team New Zealand] CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand has welcomed the ruling of the international jury on the team’s application for redress.

The jury ruled that the Race Committee had failed in its duties in several areas. However, the jury decided not to grant CAMPER any redress as they believed that the omissions of the Race Committee did not make CAMPER’s finishing score in Leg 4 significantly worse (In Leg 4 CAMPER finished 93 seconds behind Telefonica).

Part of the conclusion of the International Jury found; The failure to post the answers given to Telefonica on the electronic notice board was an omission of the race committee and the failure of the Race Committee to identify and resolve the inconsistency in application of NoR 5.2.2 (b) until after the conclusion of Leg 4 was an omission of the race committee.

CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson says that despite no redress being granted the team welcomed the ruling.

“We feel strongly that the actions of the Race Committee led to confusion between teams and so it’s positive that the jury has recognised this fact. In light of this redress hearing it has become clear to me that Telefonica has not broken any rules.”

“We believe that following this ruling that Race Committee processes will be improved and this should avoid a repeat of this type of incident in the future. Now it’s time for all of us to move on and focus on sailing.”

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Groupama snatch first in-port win as Telefonica stumble

Posted on 21 April 2012 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Groupama scored their first inshore win of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race on Saturday after an uncharacteristic error from overall race leaders Team Telefónica handed them their chance in the DHL In-Port Race Itajaí.

In one of the most highly charged battles of the inshore series so far, Telefónica made a mistake while leading the fleet when they sailed the wrong way round the course.

Their slip-up, which came halfway through the race, relegated Iker Martínez’s crew to the back of the pack and ended their hopes of a third in-port win.

Meanwhile, closest rivals Groupama sailing team were given a free pass to jump into the lead, chased closely by CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand.

Despite constant pressure from their Kiwi/Spanish opponents, Franck Cammas’ crew on Groupama refused to relinquish their hold on the top spot, beating CAMPER by 48 seconds.

Groupama’s win takes them to 133 points, and within 16 points of Telefónica on the overall leaderboard.

Decisive victory by Groupama. Itajaì, 21 April 2012. Photo copyright Paul Todd / Volvo Ocean Race

CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand claimed second place and five points, finishing just one minute and five seconds ahead of PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, who clawed back despite being forced to do a penalty in the opening minute of the race.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing finished fourth, scoring three points, while Telefónica were unable to recover from their mid-race error and finished last, claiming just two points. Team Sanya did not start and will rejoin the race in Miami.

“I’m very happy because we saw a big improvement in this kind of inshore race from where we were at in Alicante,” Groupama skipper Cammas said.

“We’ve shown we can win. It’s always the boat who makes the fewest mistakes who wins.”

CAMPER continued their in-port form with another podium finish, their fifth in six races, to keep their dreams of ascending the leaderboard alive.

“You didn’t see us set the world on fire but we didn’t make too many big mistakes,” skipper Chris Nicholson said. “We had flawless crew work — the bottom drops the guys were pulling off were fantastic and allowed us to stay in the game. It was good racing from everybody today.”

An incredible comeback from PUMA saw them recover from last place to finish just behind CAMPER.

Ken Read’s men led over the start line but a penalty from the on-the-water umpires for a rule infringement appeared to have ended their hopes of winning, sending them to the back of the fleet.

But renowned inshore racer Read clawed his way back into the race, overhauling Telefónica and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, and challenging CAMPER for second.

Abu Dhabi took fourth, just 36 hours after their yacht Azzam arrived in Itajaí on a container ship after suffering structural damage on Leg 5.

Telefónica were left to limp across the line in fifth, five minutes behind Groupama.

“After we rounded the windward mark it was very confusing,” explained skipper Martínez. “There were two marks and I chose the wrong one.

“It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever made a mistake like that so I feel terrible for the shore crew who had worked so hard but the good news is that we had made many improvements since the last inshore race.”

Attention now turns to Sunday’s start of Leg 6 to Miami beginning at 1400 local time (1700 UTC).

Light winds are forecast for the start of the 4,800-mile leg, but within a few hours of leaving Itajaí the breeze is expected to top 25 knots.

DHL In-Port Race Itajaí results:
1st – Groupama Sailing Team 6 points – 46min 27 sec
2nd – CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ 5 points – + 0.48 sec
3rd – PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG 4 points – +1.05
4th – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 3 points – + 1.33
5th – Team Telefónica 2 points – + 5.40
Did not start Team Sanya 0 points

1st Team Telefónica – 149 pts
2nd Groupama Sailing Team – 133 pts –
3rd CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand – 124 pts
4th PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG – 117 pts
5th Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 58 pts
6th Team Sanya – 25 pts

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