VOR: welcome to a magic carpet ride—Sailing news from U.S. and beyond
After several days of sticky sailing and frustratingly light air, the lead boats in the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) are now punching into developing tradewinds, which are immediately registering as double-digit figures on their speedos.
|Ken Read points to a rain squall chasing the Mar Mostro through the Brazilian calm. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race) Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© |
Currently, Puma Ocean Racing's Mar Mostro is leading the charge, followed nearly 20 miles astern by Emirates Team New Zealand's (ENTZ) Camper and then Telefonica, another 20 miles behind their Kiwi-flagged friends. 'We'd be happy to be another 40 miles east than where we are now, but, at the same time, we are only 180 nm off the coast, so the breeze only has to shift 10 degrees further right and we'd be very happy with where we are,' lamented ENTZ's navigator, Will Oxley.
|Finally some wind Groupama Sailing Team on Day 4 of Leg 6 - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race|
Spirits are understandably high aboard the American-flagged Mar Mostro, and lower aboard Groupama 4, which is uncharacteristically bringing up the rear of the fleet. 'We've had a speed deficit during the start of this course, which means that we've fallen behind,' said Groupama 4's Charles Caudrelier. 'We had an issue as regards Telefonica: we've checked that we didn't have anything stuck around the appendages and I even went into the water to take a look. We still don't understand what the problem was since it was on a point of sail where Groupama 4 is usually fairly at ease...'
And in Cup news, America's Cup Regatta Director, Ian Murray, has confirmed reports that his organization has offered New Zealand a pre-Cup regatta, to be contested in the new AC72-class wingsail-powered catamarans. 'We have offered to go to New Zealand and provide a three-day series,' said Murray. 'It would be a test session for us and we would use the full electronic controls, which means that race boundaries would be used and we would interface with the full electronics package.' Current speculation holds that three teams—ENTZ, Oracle Racing and Luna Rossa—will take part in the informal regatta, although there is no official word as to venue, or if New Zealand will even accept the offer. More, as it becomes known!
|Belcher and Page battling the conditions in Hyeres - Semaine Olympique Francaise de Voile 2012 Thom Touw ©|
And in One Design circles, the action is getting serious at the breeze-on Semaine Olympique Francaise regatta. While some classes are behind schedule due to the bluster, others are tracking, and the event is certainly proving to be an excellent test of each sailor's heavy-weather acumen. 'It was pretty epic,' said Sonar sailor John Robertson (GBR) of yesterday's conditions. 'It was pretty much near my limit, I think really just for the wave conditions; [they were] short, steep and wind driven. Big, steep, with breakers on top—it was pretty full on, but good fun though.'
|(AUS) Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, 470 leaders day 5 - Semaine Olympique Francaise 2012 © Jean-Marie Liot /DPPI/FFV|
US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider sailors are having a good regatta, with four teams currently occupying Top 10 positions in the Women's 470s (Amanda Clark and Sarah Lihan), Sonars (Paul Callahan, Tom Brown and Bradley Johnson), SKUD-18s (Jen French and JP Creignou) and the 2.4mR (Mark LeBlanc). Get the full story, plus video interviews with the sailors, inside, and stand by for final regatta results, as they become known.
Also inside, get the latest report from the Global Ocean Race, the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race, and the Bermuda International Invitational Race Week. Lastly, check out Thom Touw's great image gallery from the Semaine Olympique Francaise
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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