Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

Global Ocean Race teams re-energized by fast sailing

by Oliver Dewar on 24 Apr 2012
Surfing at sunset - Global Ocean Race 2011-12 Phesheya Racing
The Global Ocean Race 2011-12 (GOR) fleet are on their 23rd day at sea in Leg 4 from Punta del Este, Uruguay, to Charleston, USA.

The pack of three, Global Ocean Race (GOR), first generation Akilaria Class40s are hammering north towards the Caribbean reporting 20-knot surfs, exploding spinnakers and 30-knot squalls as the speed averages climb and the trade wind sailing fulfils its promise.

However, for the first time in 17 days, there has been a significant dent in the expanding lead of the GOR’s frontrunner, Cessna Citation, with the chasing trio of Class40s making gains while Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough hit lighter airs 400 miles due east of Puerto Rico as the North-East Trade Winds cease to perform. While distance gains or losses within the back three have been kept below ten miles over the past 24 hours, Cessna Citation has dropped 50 miles to the trio since Sunday afternoon.

Conrad Colman explains the situation: 'We’ve been sailing in very different wind from the others and seemingly they’ve been reaching along happily, whilst we have been doing light, VMG running on a much more northerly course,' he reported on Monday afternoon. With GRIB files supplying conflicting data and routing options varying dramatically, the duo gybed onto port at 10:00 GMT on Monday. 'This was exciting as we hadn't done a manoeuver in over a week!' says the Kiwi skipper. 'We now have a whole other side of the boat to get used to; another bunk to turn into a sweaty mess and another door to use when going out to helm,' he explains. 'It’s just like going on holiday! You still have the same stuff to do, like cooking dinner and making beds, but it’s in new surroundings so it feels exciting and fun!'

The hated Sargasso weed is also slowing progress for Cessna Citation: 'There's still enough weed about to make us sail as if walking through a mine field,' continues Colman. 'Relatively frequently we need to sock the spinnaker and round up into the wind to sail big clumps of it off the keel and the rudders,' he explains. 'We've polished this manoeuver so we can get back up to full speed again in less than two minutes, so it’s an easy decision to make as the boat quickly becomes unwieldy from the turbulence on the rudders.'

While Colman and Cavanough struggled in the north, reports streamed in from Financial Crisis, Phesheya-Racing and Sec. Hayai throughout Monday as the teams became re-energized by the fast sailing. On Sec. Hayai, the two newcomers to Class40, Erik van Vuuren and Yvonne Beusker, were astonished by their boat’s power: 'What a spectacular night,' said Van Vuuren on Monday morning. 'We’re curious, what are the speed limits for a Class40 without getting ‘fined’?' he questions. 'Last night with our A3 spinnaker we’ve been hitting more than 19 knots, maxing at 19.2 with a TWA of 120 and wind well above the 25-range, although we can’t stand the two-knot current spoiling our party,' he reports. 'The boat’s been continuously washed which supplies spectacular views, unless you’re washed yourself,' cautions Van Vuuren. 'Everything is shaking inside, all quite noisy, but the boat is completely under control. It’s a steep learning curve for the Class40 rookies,' he admits.

Leading Sec. Hayai by 244 miles at 15:00 GMT on Monday, the South Africans on Phesheya-Racing are mourning the recent loss of their trusted A2: 'We were surfing at speed down a big wave when the spinnaker flapped, as it often does, but this time as it refilled it disintegrated with a bang, tearing from top to bottom and all the way across!' Nick Leggatt confirmed early on Monday. 'Perhaps not too surprising as it was our oldest sail, but nonetheless very disappointing and it could potentially handicap us to some extent.'

Despite sailing against 3.5 knots of current, Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire polled 10.7 knots for a three-hour period, but the breakages continued: 'With the intense heat of the day, neither Phillippa nor I felt inclined to eat during the day, but we were both looking forward to a good meal in the evening,' continues Leggatt. 'In preparation, I set to work washing our bowls and spoons only to have one of our spoons snap in half in my hands!' he admits with sadness. 'It did seem to summarise the feeling of the day, but luckily we do have one spare spoon onboard!'

On Financial Crisis, Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo had a close call but preserved their spinnaker: 'We had the big spinnaker up when we were caught by a squall and we hung on for dear life as the boat leapt off the waves surfing at nearly 20 knots in winds briefly gusting just over 30 knots,' explains Nannini. The unusually strong blast took the duo by surprise: 'We were unprepared to take down the spinnaker and we just rode it out in walls of spray through the total darkness of the moonless night,' says the Italian-Slovak skipper. When the white-knuckle ride finished, the duo changed down to the medium spinnaker: 'I really cannot afford to trash the big spinnaker again, so we have to be careful and preserve the materials, but we've been pretty lucky and are sailing in a band of ‘good wind’ and with a good wave pattern that lets us get up and surf easily,' adds Nannini.

At the head of the trailing pack, Financial Crisis was trailing Cessna Citation by 320 miles on Monday afternoon and averaging the best speed in the fleet at 11.1 knots. 'We've been knocking down mile after mile in a relentless surf towards the Caribbean islands,' continues Nannini. 'I wish we could stop for a beer! Such a shame to pass so close such beautiful places and just press on and I think the race format should include a piss-up in a few islands along the way,' he believes.

As a distraction from beer-cravings, Nannini has been studying wildlife: 'I wouldn’t call myself an expert ornithologist and I can just about tell the difference between a bird and a flying fish with the latter being blue and the former white or brown or grey,' he observes. 'This morning there was a carnage of flying fish on deck and their survival technique reminds me of people jumping out of burning buildings,' says Nannini. 'I can appreciate the thought behind the jump, but it does help to give some thought as to the landing point and speed, but then I’ve never heard the expression ‘you're as clever as a flying fish’, although on paper it sounds damn clever for a sea creature to be able to fly.'

On Phesheya-Racing, there’s seldom any confusion with species identification: 'We’ve seen another Red-billed tropic bird, Brown boobies and some enormous Portuguese men-o-war jelly fish,' Nick Leggatt logged over the weekend. 'There have also been large flocks of shearwaters which, at first, we took to be Great shearwaters but closer inspection revealed that they might be the quite similar Cory's shearwater.'

Meanwhile, on Sec. Hayai, Van Vuuren and Beusker, like Nannini, are mystified by flying fish behaviour: 'We’ve all had them left and right flying around us and we’ve been wondering why flying fish have evolved?' queries Van Vuuren. 'It can’t be to eat insects in the middle of the sea?' he reasons.

For the Dutch team, there is no clear answer: 'Maybe it’s nature’s way of saying those freeze dried meals are not worth it or, as we’ve seen, to punish Scott for whatever bad thing he has done,' Van Vuuren adds of the vicious flying fish injury sustained by Scott Cavanough on Cessna Citation. 'So, as we are all competitively-minded, to get a great answer, I know I have to throw in a reward,' he suggests. 'Let’s say a fresh Heineken in Charleston, for immediate consumption? So, the question for today: the purpose of flying fish? Entry is closed before mooring in Charleston!'

Whatever the reason behind the flying ability, the result onboard a racing yacht can be deeply unpleasant as Colman and Cavanough found when restacking their sails on deck after their recent gybe, revealing flying fish stuck in the folds of the sail bags: 'When exposed to sun, flying fish can go down one of two routes,' says Colman. 'Petrificaton, where they become little fishy fossils as hard as rock, or putrification where they dissolve into fish slime,' he explains. 'Sadly, there were more that had chosen the latter course and despite many buckets of water, the sails and deck still stink like a fish market on a hot day….'

GOR leaderboard 15:00 GMT 23/4/2012:
1. Cessna Citation DTF 1429 7.9kts
2. Financial Crisis DTL 320 11.1kts
3. Phesheya-Racing DTL 503 10.9kts
4. Sec. Hayai DTL 747 Global Ocean Race website
Schaefer 2016 Ratchet 300x250North Technology - Southern SparsKilwell - 3

Related Articles

America's Cup - Arbitration Panel Hearing over Kiwi Qualifier for July
ACEA CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. In a yet to be published interview in Sail-World, America’s Cup Events Authority CEO, Russell Coutts has confirmed that the Arbitration Panel will hold its first Hearing in July. This is the first official indication that the three person Arbitration Panel had even been formed, however Sail-World’s sources indicated that it had been empanelled since last January, possibly earlier.
Posted today at 3:19 am
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr