Please select your home edition
Edition
Barz Optics - Polarised and non-polarised readers for sailors

Volvo Ocean Race - Radical moves in the fight for line honours

by Volvo Ocean Race on 8 May 2012
Kelvin Harrap driving PUMA’s Mar Mostro into the night. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Itajai, Brazil, to Miami, USA. Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© http://www.puma.com/sailing
In the Volvo Ocean Race, the breeze is dropping, the fleet has split and the lead that Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg (Ken Read/USA)’s have in Leg 6 is seriously under threat; all within a fraction over 400 nautical miles of the leg finish in Miami.

Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) are closing, and, earlier today, Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) made a radical move that has shifted them up the leg leaderboard to third place. It all adds up to a painful situation for Ken Read and his men and there is very little they can do to protect their lead.

Fifth-placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) were keen to seize any separation from Groupama that they could, having been chasing them for the best part of a week. The opportunity presented itself in the form of the Turks and Caicos Islands around which the two split; Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing went north and Groupama went south.

The risky move, brought about by very little to lose, enabled the French to rise to third place, while Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing struggled, bleeding miles. Groupama are 44 nm to the west of Puma, but will need to keep Long Island to port due to lack of depth and, further ahead, the Eleuthera Island Light, Great Stirrup Light and Great Isaac Light, which are marks of the course.

'Unfortunately, as it transpired, there has been more wind on Groupama’s side of the course and now we’re a little bit trapped by a huge cloud off the Caicos Islands,' said Ian Walker. 'It looks like we’re going to lose out.'

The westerly course taken by Groupama was also an option for both Puma and Camper and the navigators of both teams looked seriously at the choices. 'It was a bigger risk for us, but if we had been in their position [fourth place], then that is definitely what we would have done,' said Camper navigator Will Oxley today. Puma navigator Tom Addis pointed out that there is certainly more wind for Groupama at present, as they are further away from the high, which is causing the light air nightmare for the leading pair.

Meanwhile, at the head of the fleet, it’s a race in slow motion for Puma and Camper, played out at average speeds of between 1.2 and 2.6 knots. 'You have to sail your own race, you can’t do boat for boat tactics in these conditions,' explained Oxley, who is expecting the breeze to glass out completely at some point. 'The models are not very optimistic but we have a strategy in place for where we want to be when the breeze dies completely.'

Camper are currently chasing Puma along the eastern side of Crooked Island, 13 nm offshore, while Telefónica took a dive west soon after passing the Turks and Caicos Islands preparing to leave Pirates Well to starboard. At 1900 GMT tonight Camper had closed to within 12.5 nm and in third place, Groupama was 58.6 nm astern. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were only 14.2 nm behind fourth placed Telefónica, who were 20 nm adrift of Groupama, who had gained another 10 nm in the previous three hours.

Ahead, the last piece of the jigsaw, from the Eleuthera Light, lying 50 miles east of Nassau, will be difficult, but easier than the current conundrum. According to Tom Addis, whoever is first round the Eleuthera Light will be able to breathe a little easier, because it will be followed by around 100 nm of straight-line sailing across the top of the Bahamas. The final challenge will be crossing the Gulf Stream.

Volvo Ocean Race website

Related Articles

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
The Road to Rio now 99 days short
The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win. The Road to Rio 2016 still has a few curves, bumps and potholes for teams battling to win in Hyeres, at some World championship events and Weymouth World Cup but for many crews: 'It's 106 miles to Chicago we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.' Whoops wrong movie.
Posted on 28 Apr
America's Cup - Oracle Racing win in Court but with collateral damage
Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Oracle Racing have had another claim against them by a former crew member dismissed. Mitchell focussed largely on the circumstances of the matter and introduced into the public arena some interesting documents to support his claims.
Posted on 23 Apr
Thou doth protest too much, me thinks
And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen And no, we’re not off to analyse Hamlet right away. There’ll be no surtitles popping up on the top of your screen about now. At any rate, it is simply an adaptation of Lady Gertrude’s original line. We merely seek to use it as a way to demonstrate that when there is a lot of brouhaha going on, the smoke screen ultimately ends up as a lovely, colourful flag as to the real intent behind it.
Posted on 18 Apr
An interview with Jake Beattie about the 2016 Race to Alaska
In 2014, Jake Beattie and a few friends envisioned the Race to Alaska. Now, it’s time this wild race’s second edition. In 2014, Jake Beattie-the executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, and a few friends hatched the bold idea of a human-powered race to Ketchikan, Alaska, took flight. They decided that their human-powered race would start in Port Townsend, Washington and run to Ketchikan, by way of the inside passage between Vancouver Island and British Columbia.
Posted on 14 Apr
Children of the Internet, Rio and Hong Kong
I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. I have four daughters, the youngest, who in her mid 20's is a true child of the Internet. The kind of conversations I have with her run along these lines.... In the olden days we did not have television until I left school and they had a thing called print magazines, that reported events between two weeks and four months after they happened. And her sceptical response... Hoh! Daddy, Hoh!
Posted on 14 Apr
Go fast girls - 49er FX sailors Paris Henken and Helena Scutt
Paris Henken and Helena Scutt will be representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics, which will be their first Olympiad. American’s Paris Henken (20) and Helena Scutt (23) recently won a berth to represent the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the high-performance 49er FX skiff, a goal that the team has been working on for almost three years. While this is their first Games, writing them off as Olympic newbies would require ignoring their recent results and their strong teamwork.
Posted on 13 Apr
World Sailing Cup V3 - A Dead Rat in a Shoe or Spring Daffodils?
While a host of major sailing events go from strength to strength, the Sailing World Cup has very major issues. Last night my Irish better half was sitting beside me on the sofa watching an Australian version of the popular TV Cooking Program My Kitchen Rules on a tablet with her headphones while I was watching Diehard II for the seventeenth time (it’s a boy thing) on TV. She suddenly spluttered and laughed, took off her headphones and motioned for me to mute Diehard. (Seriously!!)
Posted on 9 Apr
Kilwell - 3Bakewell-White Yacht DesignNaiad