Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Telefonica Blue forced into fuel rationing

by Bouwe Bekking - skipper Telefonica Blue on 25 Oct 2008
Gabriele Olivo/Equipo Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race. Skipper Bouwe Bekking onboard Telefonica Blue during Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09. Volvo Ocean Race© http://www.volvooceanrace.com

Bouwe Bekking reports on Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race - from Alicante to Fernando de Noronha.

It's been almost two weeks since the Volvo Ocean Race fleet left Alicante to start the first leg of 37,000 nautical miles around the globe. From Alicante, Spain, to the waypoint at Fernando de Noronha, an island off the Brazilian coast, means 3,000 miles for the hulls of most of the competing boats, including a slow crossing of the Doldrums. On board TELEFONICA BLUE, Bouwe Bekking has made some key decisions in these past 13 days of racing. The first came early, as early as 20 nautical miles after the start from Alicante. A sickening crack while fighting for the lead with Ericsson 4 put the crew on alert. After checking the damage, Bouwe decided to make a pit stop before facing the Atlantic Ocean.

'Plenty has been going on in my head in this last 36 hours,' Bouwe wrote on October 12th. Now we are finally settled in after a shocking start. Due to bad bonding, a piece in the steering mechanism had failed and we did a quick repair but didn't feel confident to keep going with that. So we decided to take the 12-hour penalty by doing a pit stop in Algeciras. I keep asking myself how this breakage could have happened. We did ultrasound the entire hull, the dagerboard, the rudderblades... but not the tiller arms. I could bang my head here on the navtable but I know it won't help. The shore crew has been magnificent and have done a great job for us. They deserve a holiday not an emergency phone call so soon after the departure.'

By yesterday, some 12 days later, Bouwe knew they had made the right choice. 'Making the stop in Gibraltar has been the most important decision so far. I'm really happy that we did it because we have been using the rudders a lot and there has been a lot of pressure on them, so in that sense it was good. Not to mention that if it had to happen, it was much better that it happened off the Spanish coast rather than 1,000 miles into the race in the middle nowhere!'

October 15h, another tough day. 'We broke our A2 running spinnaker this morning,' Bouwe wrote. 'It just gave up and tore right through the middle and it was all hands on deck to prevent it from falling in the water. Now we are using a sail that is 150 square metres smaller, so we have to keep sailing at the right angle for this sail otherwise we end up cheating ourselves.'

Over the next few days the fleet stretched and tucked like an accordion. Sometimes because of wind changes and sometimes because of right or wrong tactical decisions on board the eight participating boats. 'Tactically I'm quite happy with our decisions so far,' Bouwe explained yesterday. 'We made a couple of small mistakes by not sailing more offshore along the African coast and we did not make the best decisions when dealing with the Doldrums, which ended up costing us a hundred miles against the head of the fleet. But at the end of the day here we are, standing in 5th place, some 3 hours behind the leader, sailing in front of three competitors after passing Fernando de Noronha. The good news is that we are still leading the leader board and keeping our 12 hour penalty from day two in mind, these numbers mean we aren't doing that bad!'

Let's remind ourselves about the evolution of TELEFONICA BLUE over these past two weeks:
day 1 - 6th in the fleet, 49 miles behind the leader
day 2 - 8th, 90 miles
day 3 - 8th, 77 miles
day 4 - 7th, 110 miles
day 5 - 7th, 137 miles
day 6 - 7th, 163 miles
day 7 - 7th, 161 miles
day 8 - 6th, 67 miles
day 9 - 5th, 41 miles
day 10 - 5th, 79 miles
day 11 - 5th, 139 miles
day 12 - 5th, 114 miles
day 13 - 5th, 26 miles.

Last night, TELEFONICA BLUE crossed the Fernando de Noronha waypoint in 5th place, adding 2.0 valuable points to their basket that ensured their current overall lead in the race.

Fernando de Noronha marks just about the halfway point on this first leg to Cape Town, South Africa, at approximately 3,400 nautical miles. In the last edition of the race, ABN Amro One completed the 6,400 miles from Vigo to South Africa in an impressive 19 days, but this time it seems the winds are not going to help the fleet stick to the initially estimated 23-day arrival time. 'Although we don't have the forecast for the whole way, we estimate that it may cost at least ten to eleven days to get to Cape Town on the second part of the leg. Not really quick, and it seems that we will have to start diving quite South, close to Rio de Janeiro and from there on we will have to go East. It's going tp be a very, very long leg; way longer than expected. That said, the food isn't going to be an issue -we always load food onboard keeping in mind that this can happen- but the fuel is a very big issue, because we are using way more than expected. We got all the media equipment very late and it's consuming more fuel than we remember from the last edition. We thought we had been conservative with our daily consumption of fuel, but in fact we are exceeding our rations. This is something that is out of our hands and the only thing we can do now is to try and save as much as we can.'

Saving fuel means trying to save as much energy as possible. Not a good deal when you are sailing near the Equator with temperatures of over 40 degrees Centigrade below deck. 'Downstairs the guys have problems sleeping, especially now that I have banned the use of the fans to save electricity, not a very popular decision. Jono looked at me very strangely when I joked that next on the list is the ban on i-pod charging. I think all the guys have one so we need to decide when the charging can take place. If things get really bad we will just have to switch everything off and do dinghy style sailing during the day, as we have plenty of guys who have sailed their entire lives without instruments.'

What is for sure is that whatever the conditions the crew of TELEFONICA BLUE may find themselves in over the next few days, and whether they sail with or without instruments, Bouwe has a special reason to hurry: 'the quicker we are there, the more days I have with my family!'

For more information about Bouwe Bekking please visit www.bouwebekking.com

upffront 660x82North Technology - Southern SparsZhik Isotak Ocean 660x82

Related Articles

Puma's Volvo 70 - 'il mostro' - for sale!
Puma's il mostro is on the Auction block now - auction ends October 30th 2011 PUMA's il mostro is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. The auction started on September 30 and concluding on October 30, we will accept bids for one of the fastest VOR boats in the world. Puma's il mostro is the perfect platform for a racing owner wishing to compete in offshore racing both under handicap and as a course record breaker. Auction ends October 30th 2011
Posted on 20 Oct 2011
Volvo Ocean Race Legends- Caviar, Cocktails and Central Heating
In the Volvo Ocean Race's 'Legends Look Back' series ahead of next year's first official reunion in Alicante, Butch rem Englishman Butch Dalrymple-Smith was a crewmember aboard the Mexican entry, Sayula II, the winner of the very first Whitbread in 1973-74. In the Volvo Ocean Race's 'Legends Look Back' series ahead of next year's first official reunion in Alicante, Butch remembers the good and bad. 'After each day’s six-hour watch, those coming off the deck would be handed a rum tonic or a vodka or gin...
Posted on 17 Aug 2010
Volvo Ocean Race- Camper announce build, crew and workup for VOR70
CAMPER, and Emirates Team New Zealand have made some key announcements in their project for the Volvo Ocean Race CAMPER, in association with Emirates Team New Zealand have made some key announcements in their project for the Volvo Ocean Race Construction of the VO70 yacht will start in the first week of August. Crew selection is also well advanced and CAMPER said today that experienced Spanish round-the-world yachtsman Roberto Bermudez de Castro has signed on.
Posted on 23 Jul 2010
Stu Bannatyne joins CAMPER/Emirates Team NZ for Volvo Ocean Race
CAMPER announced today the appointment of Stuart Bannatyne as a watch captain for its Volvo Ocean Race project. CAMPER announced today the appointment of Stuart Bannatyne as a watch captain for its Volvo Ocean Race project. Bannatyne has raced around the world five times, most recently in the 2008-09 VOR on board the winning yacht Ericsson 4. The CAMPER campaign for the 2011-2012 round-the-world race is being run by Emirates Team New Zealand. The race starts from Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and
Posted on 7 May 2010
Second's out for PUMA's Ken Read in Volvo Ocean Race + Video (x2)
The goal is to build a team not only of great sailors but of friends. I think people perform better when they enjoy what 'The goal is to build a team not only of great sailors but of friends. I think people perform better when they enjoy what they do...' For a man with more medals in his locker than a green beret, having to settle for the second step of the podium at the end of a gruelling 2008-09 race was unfamiliar territory for Ken Read. Read’s PUMA Ocean Racing finished behind Torben Grael’s Ericsson 4
Posted on 4 May 2010
Puma announces core team for Volvo Ocean Race
Ken Read, skipper of PUMA Ocean Racing, announced his core crew and management team for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race 20 Today Ken Read, skipper of PUMA Ocean Racing, announced his core crew and management team for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. The team departs Alicante, Spain today to bring il mostro, PUMA Ocean Racing’s boat that secured a second place finish in the last Volvo Ocean Race, back to Newport, Rhode Island where the team will immediately start training for the next race. il mostro will serve
Posted on 30 Apr 2010
Sports Consultancy secures 10 Host Ports for Volvo Ocean Race 2011–12
The Sports Consultancy, announces the successful completion of the Volvo Ocean Race's brief Coinciding with the announcement of the full route for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 The Sports Consultancy, the bidding specialists appointed by Volvo Ocean Race to manage the competitive tender process, announces the successful completion of the agency’s brief to deliver what is, with over 80 initial bidders and 10 successful cities, believed to be the largest number of cities bidding...
Posted on 26 Apr 2010
Nicholson and Minoprio named for Camper/ETNZ Volvo crew + Audio
Emirates Team New Zealand has appointed Chris Nicholson (Australia) to skipper Camper’s entry in the 2011-12 VOR. Emirates Team New Zealand has appointed Olympic and round-the- world yachtsman Chris Nicholson to skipper Camper’s entry in the 20 11-12 Volvo Ocean Race. Also at the announcement at Emirates Team New Zealand's Auckland base was World Match Racing Champion, Adam Minoprio, who was named as part of the crew.
Posted on 22 Apr 2010
Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 – Schedule announced
The course and dates for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 have been officially announced today. The course and dates for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 have been officially announced today. This edition of the race will see a new format for the racing programme in the host cities, including the start city of Alicante, Spain and finish city of Galway, Ireland. For the first time, the Volvo Ocean Race will finish with an In-Port race in Galway.
Posted on 20 Apr 2010
Auckland, the City of Sails, to host Volvo Ocean Race for eighth time
Auckland, New Zealand, is back in the Volvo Ocean Race after a gap of 10 years. T Auckland, New Zealand, is back in the Volvo Ocean Race after a gap of 10 years. The city, which has fielded some of the world’s best sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race, last hosted the event in 2001-02. It will stage the leg four finish from Sanya in China and the start of leg five, which will take the fleet into the Southern Ocean once again, round the infamous Cape Horn and up to a finish in Itaj
Posted on 31 Mar 2010