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02 Apr 2012

VOR: Springing and limping around the Horn—Sailing news from the U.S.

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG rounds Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)  Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race©
For fans of the fully crewed, around-the-world, ocean-racing grudge match known as the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), the past few weeks of glory-days media viewing have culminated into one of the biggest milestones of each race: rounding Cape Horn. The first team to slip past the storm-battered islands was Groupama, followed less than an hour later by Puma Ocean Racing's Mar Mostro. Currently, the two boats are shadow boxing each other up the coast of Argentina, with each 'sched' showing a leap-frogging leader situation. [Ed. Note: At the time of this writing, Mar Mostro was in the lead by one nautical mile.]

But first, a word about rounding the Horn, which Mar Mostro skipper, Ken Read, wrote quite eloquently: 'It would be too easy to glow poetically about what it means to go around Cape Horn—for me the second time,' reports Read. 'Instead, I will describe the scene on board as it happened. Kind of like a first timers' equator crossing, there is a ritual and for very good reason. It is a time to be proud and happy and relieved. The feeling of we have escaped is prominent. The hardened and the rookies share this feeling. It is a feeling that sticks with you forever. It is a time to take an hour break from the race and just appreciate the accomplishment that few others share. A wonderful time.'

Read's words are especially poignant given that the storm-tossed Leg Five has maimed or mangled four out of the six competing boats, with Emirates Team New Zealand (ENTZ), Telefonica and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing competing for third-place honors now that Team Sanya has retired from the leg. The contest for third-place honors has now become a matter of who can repair—and sustain—their boats and resume sailing the fastest, with ENTZ and Telefonica having already committed to their repair operations (get the full scoop on both, inside). Telefonica's repair program, in particular, was quite clever and avoided sailing many additional miles, but it also traded the assurances of a yard for the lee of an island.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's repaired hull, which was fixed by the racing crew, at sea in the Southern Ocean during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race)  Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing /Volvo Ocean Race

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, meanwhile, suffered some serious delamination damage, suspiciously close on the heels of the team hitting a rumored 42-plus knots of boatspeed. This damage, which is serious given where it is relative to the boat's keel section, necessitated the crew to heave-to and through-bolt the delaminating sections of hull (and also add struts and structural support—see image). The team is currently assessing their situation before committing to a stop, although current whispers call for the team to follow ENTZ's wake and put in at Puerto Montt, Chile. Get the full reports inside, and be sure to check out the fantastic system that the Groupama boys have put together for the one-man, VO70 watch (yes, you read that right), now that weather and angles have moderated. The video is impressive stuff!

Also offshore, drama is unfolding in the Clipper Around the World Race, where four crewmembers aboard Geraldton Western Australia sustained injuries during storm-force conditions that the team encountered some 400 miles off the coat of California. The wave that injured the crewmembers, it should be noted, also damaged some of the boat's steering and communication equipment, and a full-blow rescue is underway.

'We were racing along in 40-60 knot gusts,' said Juan Coetzer, Geraldton Western Australia's skipper, describing the moment the monster wave clobbered his yacht. 'The sea was alive with rage. We were making good speed, sailing with the third reef in the main, surfing at 15 - 20 knots. Then at our watch change, just before the sun came up, a monstrous foaming swell broke over our stern. The water had so much force in it that it pushed Mark [Burkes] into the helm, snapping the pedestal clean off. We had no steering and crew were falling all over the boat.

'Quickly, we got the emergency steering in place. Then the third reef blew, so the storm jib went up and we pulled down the remains of our main sail, tidied up the boat and the treated the wounded. In the afternoon a Coast Guard plane flew by and dropped us some extra supplies.' Get the full story, inside.

Cascais, 01/04/12 RC44 Cascais Cup 2012 © Guido Trombetta/Studio Borlenghi  Guido Trombetta/Studio Borlenghi .

Meanwhile, in Grand Prix One Design keelboats circles, the RC44 Cascais Cup just wrapped up in Cascais, Portugal, where four-time America's Cup winner Russell Coutts successfully called the tactics for Katusha, beating out fourteen other takers for the top step of the podium. The event, it should be noted, saw breezes and conditions that ranged from boat-breaking to benign zephyrs. Be sure to check out the full media blitz, including some slick videos, inside.

Congressional Cup 2012 Wilson leads across the line in deciding match  Rich Roberts ©

Stateside, at the Long Beach Yacht Club, in Long Beach, California, skipper Ian William (GBR) and tactician Bill Hardesty (USA) won the 48th Congressional Cup, making this their second consecutive win of this prestigious trophy. 'It's good to win two in row,' said Williams when queried about what he would do with a second crimson blazer that, along with a hefty check are some of the finer trappings of this win. 'To be able to do it against someone like Gavin [Brady] really means something. I'm still a couple behind him.'

43 TROFEO S.A.R. PRINCESA SOFIA MAPFRE.Isaf SWC Event.Practice race  Jesus Renedo ©

And finally, get the latest on Team China's America's Cup lineup, the buzz from the BVI Spring Regatta, and the 43rd edition of the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre regatta, inside.

May the four winds blow you safely home,


David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor



BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival finale overall
Louay Habib,
The BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival 41st anniversary edition, presented by Nanny Cay Marina, final day of racing provided shifty conditions, a southeasterly breeze of about 12-15 knots emanating from Dead Chest Island. Today all classes raced in the Sir Francis Drake Channel outside Nanny Cay and there was a lot of traffic to contend with.... [more]
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RC44 Cascais Cup final day images by Guido Trombetta
Carlo Borlenghi,
Photos taken by Guido Trombetta of the final day of the 2012 RC44 Cascais Cup in Portugal.... [more]
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43rd Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre all set
Corinne Mckenzie,
The Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre is the first European stage of the ISAF Sailing World Cup and is now all ready to set sail in Palma after an intense day of preparation and practice races. Under a bright sun and blue skies, sailors added their last touches to their preparation, ready for a week of racing against the world's best.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race skipper Chris Nicholson insists Camper can still win
Lucy Harwood,
Volvo Ocean Race - With less than 600 nautical miles to their pit stop for repairs in Puerto Montt, skipper Chris Nicholson insists Camper can still win the race. 'We've got to understand that this race is still wide open,' he said on Sunday as the shore crew estimated the boat's arrival in the Chilean port late on Tuesday (April 3) or early on Wednesday (April 4)... [more]
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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Rescue operation continues
Heather Ewing,
Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race competitor Geraldton Western Australia is undergoing a rescue operation after four crew members on board sustained injuries during storm force conditions in the Pacific Ocean around 400 miles off the California coast. Yesterday a large wave washed over the Geraldton Western Australia yacht, sweeping away its steering mounting and wheel... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Groupama reveal secret watch keeping system
Sail-World,
Leader of the Volvo Ocean Race for Leg 5, Groupama, have revealed a secret watch keeping system they have been employing since rounding Cape Horn. The secret system reduces windage from the extra crew being on deck, and avoids slowing the boat through excessive crew movement... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Neck and neck between Groupama and Puma
Sail-World,
The heat is on at the head of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Leg 5. Puma have nipped past Groupama are racing neck and neck up the coast of Argentina. At 1000 GMT today, according the Volvo Ocean Race Management, Puma led Groupama by 8.8 nm. The French team are 148 nm offshore of Puerto Deseado, a fishing port in Patagonia in the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina. Puma are 22 nm to leeward... [more]
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London 2012 Olympic sailing Sail-World.com's unrivalled coverage
Brendan Maxwell,
Six very experienced sailing journalist/photographers - Richard Gladwell, Bob Fisher, Mark Chisnell, David Schmidt, Rob Kothe and Spanish and French speaking Jeraldine Kennedy, along with some highly regarded photographic contributors will all bringing their perspectives to the Sail-World Olympic coverage.... [more]
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Congressional Cup thriller on final day
Rich Roberts,
Final Day Thriller - The Long Beach Yacht Club's 48th Congressional Cup had it all on the final day when Ian Williams of Great Britain pulled off a memorable win over Gavin Brady of New Zealand in the decisive race as the sun set into a murky cloud bank Saturday.... [more]
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BVI Spring Regatta day 2 - Another perfect day
Louay Habib,
Day 2 and the BVI Spring Regatta fleet had the opportunity to expereince the scenery of the western extent of the British Virgin Islands.As the fleet came up on the wind at Soper's Hole, the scenery was nothing short of spectacular; Little Thatch and Great Thatch Islands offer some of the most outstanding vistas anywhere in the Caribbean.... [more]
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And the most southerly-sailing boat ever is...
Nancy Knudsen,
Last week in Sail-World we told how Ukrainian-Russian crew aboard 30m sailing yacht Scorpius had claimed a new world record in sailing farther south into Antarctica than any other boat had gone, reaching 77 degrees. But we were wrong - well, in a way; because in 1965, Lt. Commander Steve Cockley, based in Mc Murdo Sound, had sailed a Moth, an 11ft (3.4m) dinghy, at 77.5 degrees S.... [more]
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Gold Coast Australia wins China-US Leg 6 of Clipper Race
Shelbi Okumura,
The iconic Golden Gate Bridge marked the finish line of the 6,000 mile stage from China to the U.S. for the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. The first boat to cross the finish line on Friday, March 30, at 7:16 p.m. was Gold Coast Australia which is currently in first place overall.... [more]
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US Coastguard to the rescue after Cllipper Round the World injuries
Isabel Hokken,
US Coast Guard have launched an operation to assist yacht competing in Clipper Round the World Yacht Race after injuries sustained in heavy seas: Para-jumpers to be despatched and container vessel diverted to assist... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race - An epic Southern Ocean leg for Puma's Mar Mostro
Ken Read,
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 13 of Leg 5. Ken Read, Skipper of Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg reports on the crew's progress: As any sailing fan with a pulse probably knows by now, we rounded Cape Horn yesterday. The unofficial end to an epic Southern Ocean leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. It is unreal that only two of the six that started this leg will get to the Horn at close to 100% speed.... [more]
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RC44 Cascais Cup - Katusha shows the way + Video
Jo Grindley,
Event leader Katusha (RUS) showed the fleet the way in the first race on the penultimate day of racing at the Cascais RC44 Cup. Race two started with a general recall, Race Officer Peter Reggio was quick to hoist the black flag with new boys Aegir (GBR) and RUS 7 being called over and disqualified from the race.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Puma chasing down Groupama as three others repair
Sail-World,
Groupama sailing team's lead has slowly whittled down from more than 50 nautical miles at 0700 UTC to 29 at 1300 UTC on Saturday as Ken Read's Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg ramped up their attack on the leaders. Puma navigator Tom Addis said his team were making a comeback after earlier paying a high price for cutting the corner through Estrecho de le Maire... [more]
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America's Cup: Russell Coutts reflects with a year to go
Pierre Orphanidis,
VSail caught up with Coutts in Cascais, right after a tough, long but successful day on the waters of the Portuguese city. Katusha, the Russian boat where Coutts is calling tactics, is leading the RC44 fleet races with 24 points, 14 points ahead of second-placed Team Aqua:... [more]
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Congressional Cup - World Match Racing Champion tops qualifiers
Rich Roberts,
The world's No. 1-ranked match race Britian's Ian Williams all but surprised himself. 'I don't think we've ever won 12 [match races] in a row,' he said Friday after leading the pack into Saturday's sailoffs of the Long Beach Yacht Club's 48th Congressional Cup.... [more]
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'Sailing Around the World' the series
Benjamin Rouse,
There's a new action packed documentary film series called 'Sailing Around the World the series' (www.sailingaroundtheworld.tv) available worldwide on iTunes. The series promotes the sport of sailing by sharing the stories of elite athletes and sailing events internationally.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race - Major milestone for Puma's Mar Mostro
Amory Ross,
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 12 of Leg 5. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress: I don't care how far it is to Itajaí. I really don't, and I know I'm not alone; we'll get there when we get there. We have been looking ahead to Cape Horn since the instant we left Auckland, bashing our brains out during the dive into the Southern Ocean chaos... [more]
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Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre - Fierce competition for selection
Corinne Rolland-McKenzie,
Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre will be the stage for fierce competition between the majority of future London Olympians and one last selection chance for many teams. Most international teams have sent their representatives to Palma, the third Sailing World Cup event on the international circuit.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Abu Dhabi's Southern Ocean repair + Video
Volvo Ocean Race,
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing pulled off a heroic repair operation in the depths of the Southern Ocean after discovering delamination in their hull. Skipper Ian Walker supervised an incredible five-hour job that saw 30 bolts screwed through the hull of Abu Dhabi's boat Azzam (which means 'determination' in Arabic) to prevent further damage.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race Leg 5 - Telefónica will fight for podium position
Volvo Ocean Race,
Volvo Ocean Race overall leaders Telefónica have vowed to fight for a podium position in Leg 5 even though they are left with no option but to make a pit stop in Argentina for repairs. Iker Martínez's team currently top the overall leaderboard with a 15-point margin over second-placed Groupama sailing team... [more]
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