Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - NZ

Volvo Ocean Race - It’s been emotional, but it’s time to move on

by Volvo Ocean Race on 22 Aug 2014
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Volvo Ocean 65, Azzam at the finish of the 2014 Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race RORC/Louay Habib
Battered, bruised, happy, worried. You name it, at least one Volvo Ocean Race sailor felt it after a roller-coaster of a Round Britain and Ireland Race. So what next?

For Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, it was a week of smiles but keeping a tight lid on the growing optimism built on a near-perfect build-up to Race start on October 4 in Alicante.

Their record-smashing victory in the monohull class in the Round Britain Race confirmed what many have guessed: skipper Ian Walker is going to be a very serious force in the 12th edition after a couple of under-performing boats scuppered his hopes in the previous two.

Typically, he played Mr Cool when he sailed into Cowes – 'we’ve got plenty of areas for improvement' – but the ever-present grin on his wind-battered face told a different story.

'While this has been a great race and a great result, our main focus will always be the Volvo Ocean Race and our preparation will continue with that goal in mind,' he said.

The only downside was that two of his key men, Justin Slattery (ribs) and Phil Harmer (hand), suffered pretty painful injuries during the 1,800 nautical mile round trip and their Volvo Ocean 65 boat Azzam had a couple of mechanical issues of its own.


Dongfeng Race Team, like Iker Martinez’s line-up, spent most of their five days around the British and Irish coasts chasing Azzam’s heels eventually finishing third behind the Spaniards.

That was a pretty impressive result considering Charles Caudrelier’s crew still has a distinctly wet-behind-the-ears, rookie feel to it with four Chinese newcomers.

Not that they were resting on their laurels this week. For them it was the journey up north from Southampton to Newcastle for a sea survival safety course alongside the other race crews.

The training, which covers everything from fire and medical emergencies to survival at sea, is a pre-requisite of entry to the round the world race, and an important step that all crews must undertake over the coming days.

Jiru Yang (‘Wolf’) summed up: 'Wow! That was two of the most intensive days of my life – and also probably the most useful. I just hope I never need to use what I’ve learned.'


As for Martínez, he was topping up his safety knowledge after competing in the past two editions and his mind could understandably have been on his yet to be named boat. A title sponsor should be confirmed for the team in the next two or three weeks.

After the Round Britain and Ireland Race, he revealed: 'We did have some electrical problems that did not help us, especially with navigation.'

He still has three more berths plus the onboard reporter to confirm for his boat but there was no update on this during the course of this week.


Team Alvimedica grabbed fourth place in the Volvo Ocean 65 race, pipping the all-female Team SCA by just 10 minutes after a near five-day tussle, and their relieved skipper Charlie Enright reckons that the Jekyll and Hyde weather encountered showed the strength of his crew.

'Tough conditions and tough terrain are a good way to test character, and it became clear that we have a good group of characters,' he said.


The hardcore training and racing over the last couple of weeks has been an eye-opener for Team SCA, but Abby Ehler believes that it is beneficial, and the perfect preparation for the big race.

'To train in the worst conditions possible makes you realise how hard it is,' she reasoned. 'You cannot hear each other, and you cannot see each other through the lifejacket hoods - so you learn a lot about what it would feel like to be in those circumstances.'


Team Brunel, meanwhile, were keeping their own counsel after watching the progress of five of their rivals in the Round Britain and Ireland Race from their training base in Lanzarote.

The newest kids on the block, Team Vestas Wind, were concentrating on launching their boat for the first time this week and they report that it’s a case of so far, so good.

Kilwell - 3NaiadBakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

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
From Olympic flag to Olympic Gold and maybe another
The Sydney Olympics was a Sailing double 470 Gold event for Australia. Having won the 420 World Championship in 2000, the feeder class to the 470, while still at school in Australia young Matt Belcher was given the honour of carrying the Olympic flag during the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Posted on 28 Apr