VOR: Doing more with less—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
Just a few years ago, a two-plus week stopover in the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) would have been commonplace.
|Groupama 4, side by side with Telefonica - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race|
But, in today's world of leaner operating budgets and tighter margins, VOR teams are spending far more time sailing and less time ashore. While this has likely contributed to some disappointing golf scores for some crews, it has also placed far more pressure on the shore teams to make everything just so in scant blocks of time.
Factor in a bruise-inducing run through the Strait of Malacca—replete with copious encounters with fishing gear and the strait's infamous floating refuse—to Sanya, China and it's an easy assumption to make that each team's punch list is long and overpopulated.
'You do 100 little jobs and you get 100 little gains, it all adds up to something in the end,' said Ben Wright, Groupama's technical shore manager. 'It's all related to performance or making systems function better, making the boat lighter, helping the guys sail better, the winch systems function better, making it more efficient.'
It's the same story in other camps. 'We've got to clean it out, grind it down, put on some undercoat anti-rust primer, then some epoxy putty and paint,' said Puma Ocean Racing's Murray McDonnel about a knick that Mar Mostro's keel strut sustained when she tangled with some fishing kit. 'It's very important to have a smooth surface because it helps the boat go fast, any break in the flow makes it slow.' Get the full VOR report, in this issue.
|Nick Leggatt gets a Roaring Forties soaking mid-Leg 2 Phesheya-Racing - Global Ocean Race Global Ocean Race - copyright|
In the Global Ocean Race (GOR), Phesheya-Racing continues to take a serious battering as Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire press onwards from New Zealand to South America. The storm became so severe over the weekend that the duo was forced to heave-to for a number of hours as the worst of the storm played itself out.
Elsewhere on the GOR's course, things were equally grim for the other two Class 40s that are still racing. 'After a little break of lighter conditions when the wind switched from south-easterly to north-easterly, we are again beating our brains to mash in 30-35 knots of wind under triple reefed main and staysail,' reported Marco Nannini aboard Financial Crisis.
'We're doing well on board and have adopted a six-hours-on and six-hours-off watch system. This allows us to eat, trim, email, check the weather and perhaps watch a movie during your watch, followed by a long rest in the bunk.' But given the fleet's position at 47 degrees South, you can bet that 'rest' is a relative term. More, inside.
And finally, get the latest on the now-becalmed Clipper Around The World Race fleet, the insider scoop on ISAF's upcoming Kiteboarding and Windsurfing Format Trials evaluation, and the latest hubbub about this year's Newport-Bermuda Race, which is looking to be another heavily subscribed event.
|Marco Nannini and Hugo Ramon on Class40 Financial Crisis - Global Ocean Race 2011-12 Global Ocean Race - copyright|
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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