Please select your home edition
Edition
Southern Spars

Volvo Ocean Race- Abu Dhabi hold media conference in Alicante

by Sail-World on 6 Nov 2011
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s yacht Azzam, skippered by Britain’s Ian Walker, returns to Alicante, Spain after the mast broke in rough weather on the first day of racing on leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race© http://www.volvooceanrace.com

Ian Walker, the skipper of Abu Dhabi, the Volvo 70 dismasted in the the opening hours of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race has just appeared in a media conference in Alicante to update on their situation with their broken spar, which is in three pieces.

Tweets off the boat, prior to the media conference indicated they were looking to get back into the race as quickly as possible, but gave no indication of the cause of the dismasting.

Walker said that the mast fell down at around 7.15pm, in not particularly extreme conditions. 'The wind was averaging 30kts, gusts to 35 and had dropped to 26kts.,' he said. They decided to do a change to the J4 - and did a bareheaded change.

'The change went perfectly - we had practiced it before.

'After the change we didn't initially go too fast. Justin Slattery was to leeward setting up sheets.

'We just came off a big wave - my feet came off the ground - the mast just keep going and fell to leeward.

'The boat came upright very quickly as it does when the load comes off.

'We numbered off as we do for a safety check.

'Before we turned the engine own we notified Race Control that we ere suspending racing.'

'We were almost were run into by Team Sanya as we were sitting there in the water with no lights and they passed us by 50 metres away.'

Walker says they need to understand what caused the failure before moving further. Abu Dhabi's spare mast was on a truck in Madrid, along with Telefonica's spare, heading for DHL in Holland to be ready to be flown anywhere in the world it was needed. However that truck was turned around and will be coming back to Alicante.

They expect to spend the rest of Sunday and Monday working out what went wrong. Obviously some concern with a second mast and similar rigging that the same part could fail again. He expects the repair and replacement to 'take three days at least as a guess. Hopefully it is two, but maybe four - it is amazing what a team of people can achieve.'

It would seem that the finger is being pointed at a part failure or a rigging failure rather that the spar itself.

'The Volvo 70 rule forces you to build quite a heavy mast', explained Walker. ' So mast failures should be quite rare, so you look towards rigging and fitting failures.

'We have tested the rigging on this mast for over a year, We have sailed 8000 miles with rigging similar to what we had fail last night', he added.

Walker said the sea conditions were not too extreme only about 1-1.5 metres but these conditions are harder close inshore, than when you are offshore and the seas are longer.

'We were sailing about 13kts at the time, we had slightly cracked sheets bashing into a seaway.'

There was some concern to try and retain as much of the mainsail as possible without chopping it away, so it could be easily repaired.

'We pulled the mast alongside the hull and a spreader punched a hole through the side of the hull. We cut the head of the mainsail to get it on board. It is a standard hull repair which could be done inside 36 hours, and we will be hauling the boat as soon as we can', he said.

'We have a complete spare mast, and a complete spare set of fittings, plus we managed to salvage everything off the existing mast. The mast maker is based in Valencia, which is very handy.

'The mainsail has some holes in it, but my gut feeling is the sails will be fine. However the J4 spent about an hour as a sea anchor, I'm not too sure what they will do for its shape.'

Turning to the impact of the mast failure on the crew, Walker commented 'when you have worked so hard every day for 18months, you are desperate to win. We had to rebuild Green Dragon in the Philippines last time.

'This race is not over for us, but we are very, very disappointed. We were looking forward to getting into the tradewinds because that is where we thought we were going to excel, but that will have to wait for three or four days now.

'We are well aware that you don't win the Volvo Ocean race in the first day, but you can lose it. We kept saying this to ourselves for the first two hours.

'It is too early to start making judgements but at this point we still believe we can win the race,' Walker concluded.









Colligo Marine 660x82Schaefer 2016 Ratchet Block 660x82Ancasta Ker 33 660x82

Related Articles

An Q&A with Steve and Heidi Benjamin about the NYYC’s 2016 Queen’s Cup
Sail-World caught up with Steve and Heidi Benjamin to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup. When it comes to U.S. Grand Prix sailing, it’s hard not to encounter the names of Steve and Heidi Benjamin. The two highly polished sailors have been successfully campaigning their series of yachts, named SPOOKIE, for years, starting first with a Carkeek 40 and progressing to their TP52. I caught up with Steve and Heidi to learn more about Heidi’s historic win in the NYYC’s Queen’s Cup
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images of the penultimate race in the Finns - Scott wins
Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water for the final race of the Qualifying Series of the Mens Finn, in what potentially could have been Giles Scott's (GBR) Gold medal winning race. In the end, the current world champion won in style.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images from the Mens RS:X Medal Race
Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class Sail-World's NZ Editor, Richard Gladwell, was on the water at the Medal Race for the RS:X class won before the race by Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) without needing points from the Medal Race. Nick Dempsey (GBR) was second on a similar basis.
Posted on 15 Aug
Rio 2016 - Sailors talk of Life at the Extreme on the Atlantic Ocean
Certainly the Volvo Ocean Race catchcry of Life at the Extreme is not a phrase associated with the Sailing Olympics. The 470 crews were suffering the mixed emotions of survival of an extreme test by nature, the cold, and for some elation at their placings, after Thursday's battle for survival. In conditions that looked more out of the Volvo Ocean Race, than an Olympic sailing regatta, crews battled 20kt plus winds and Atlantic Ocean rollers that towered up to four metres.
Posted on 13 Aug
Rio Olympics - Fourth gallery of images the fearsome Niteroi course
Fourth image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean Fourth image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean - sailing in 3-4 metre swells and 20kt plus winds. believe it or not the sea conditions were worse inshore as the fleet encountered the backwashed Atlantic rollers
Posted on 12 Aug
Rio 2016 - Third image gallery of 470's braving the Atlantic Ocean
Third image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean Third image gallery from racing on Day 4 in the Mens and Womens 470 class on the Niteroi course in the Atlantic Ocean - sailing in 3-4 metre swells and 20kt plus winds
Posted on 12 Aug
Gladwell's Line - The challenges of Guanbara Bay
The decision to run Medal Racing on the Pao de Acucer course, probably won't be remembered as one of the brightest The decision to run Medal Racing on the Pao de Acucer, probably won't be remembered as one of the brightest of the 2016 Sailing Olympics. Over shadowed by a 1300ft tall granite and quartz mountain in the shape of a sugarloaf, the bay suffers from dramatic windshifts, and huge variance in wind pressure.
Posted on 11 Aug
Rio 2016 - Fresher breezes expected inside and outside on Day 3
Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Stronger winds are expected for the third day of racing in the 2016 Olympic Sailing Regatta in Rio de Janeiro. Two of the fleet scheduled to race outside on the Atlantic Ocean course off Copacabana Beach, while the 470 Men and Women will race inside on Guananara Bay.
Posted on 10 Aug
Rio 2016 - Day 2 brings more tumult for some, salvation for others
The course area may have changed, but Brit, Nick Dempsey's performance early on stayed the same. The course area may have changed, but Brit, Nick Dempsey's performance early on stayed the same. He picked up where he left off on Day 1 in Race 4 of the Men's RS:X class on the Escola Naval race area to record his third win in four races. Poland's Piotr Myszka finished second with Brazil's Ricardo Santos third.
Posted on 10 Aug
Gladwell's Line - First impressions of Rio
An Olympic travelogue as the Sail-World NZ Editor makes his way though South America en route to Rio An Olympic travelogue as the Sail-World NZ Editor makes his way though South America en route to Rio, plus initial thoughts on the city, the Olympic organisation, the venue and its much-vaunted pollution and some initial thoughts after just one day on the water of how the racing could pan out.
Posted on 9 Aug