Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Volvo Ocean Race- The van of the fleet closes on the fading falcon

by Sail-World and Volvo Ocean Race on 29 May 2012
Water across the deck onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal. Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing /Volvo Ocean Race http://www.volvooceanrace.org

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Leg 7 lead was being steadily eroded on Monday, as the chasing pack lined up along an easterly moving cold front bringing strong winds.

Up to 90 nautical miles ahead of their nearest rivals at one point, Ian Walker’s Emirati team have been steadily losing ground as the new weather system brings the rest of the fleet up to them at average speeds over 20 knots.

That progress could stop suddenly – the boats are positioning themselves for a light wind zone off Lisbon that threatens to throw the leg standings wide open – but for now speeds are high.

The latest projections from www.predictwind.com!Predictwind, show that while Abu Dhabi may slow, and may have a less direct through the high, she is projected to take the Leg 7 win. Ahead of her is a 12 hour patch of light winds, before the breeze kicks in for the final run to Lisbon. But the margins are very tight with Azzam predicted to be just 10minutes ahead at the finish in three days time. Puma is expected to be second with Camper 20 minutes astern, followed 2mins later by Groupama, with Telefonica 9mins later and Sanya 2 mins behind that.

The reality is that the finish will not be that precise, as the boats match race each other over the final two days - and certainly when they are in sight of the other boat. But on current projections, Azzam's skipper Ian Walker's estimate that the fleet will finish within an hour of each other seems to be generous, and currently just 40 minutes covers the fleet according to the latest projections. And the race has been that tight for the past couple of days at least.

At 1300 UTC Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, which carries the stylised image of a striking falcon on her mainsail, were 63 nm ahead of second placed Puma Ocean Racing and 83 nm in front of Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand in third. Four miles behind Camper were Team Sanya who held a three nautical mile lead over Groupama sailing team and Team Telefónica in fifth and sixth.

Telefónica have a seven-point lead over Groupama with three legs to complete, while Camper and Puma are poised respectively 13 and 14 points off the pace.

Despite having to watch the fleet inexorably closing them down with every position report, skipper Ian Walker said the Abu Dhabi crew remained confident of holding on to the lead ahead of what he predicts could be a photo finish in Lisbon.

'So far we have sailed a very good leg and everyone on board is fiercely determined to defend our lead for as long we possibly can,' Walker said.

'As the fleet charges east at ever increasing speeds towards Lisbon we know that it is highly likely that we will give up a lot of our once 90 mile lead to the chasing pack.

'I am not being defeatist, just preparing myself mentally for the fact that those behind will have more wind than us due to the advancing cold front picking everyone up from behind.

'One thing for certain is that there is going to be a very tight finish from first to last place in Lisbon. The weather gods have scripted that.'

Puma navigator Tom Addis said the building breezes from behind were compressing the fleet rapidly with any one of the chasing boats able to break through to the lead.

'Abu Dhabi are still 80 miles ahead of us, but we’re pulling them in at eight or nine miles every three hours so it’s happening fairly quickly,' Addis said this morning.

'But the guys just south of us also have pretty good breeze right now, so they might get a pretty good break as well. We’ll see how we go. It’s a really difficult one to pick.'

Camper have found themselves fighting to hold off a rapidly advancing Sanya, who moved into fourth after a tactical move north yesterday paid dividends.

'It’s very intense,' said navigator Will Oxley. 'We’re trying to defend against building breeze from behind, so the boats behind you are in better pressure. We’ve been forced to gybe in front of Sanya, who are visible quite clearly just off our starboard quarter.'

Oxley said he believed Leg 7 could ultimately be decided on how well the teams negotiate the light air ridge on the final approach into Lisbon.

'We’re all going to go barreling in there at high speeds and whoever picks their way through there and gets a bit of luck is going to probably be the one who comes out on top,' he said.

Fifth and sixth placed Groupama and Telefónica remain less than two nautical miles apart in terms of distance to the finish, with both teams fighting hard for a podium position in Lisbon, having picked up increasingly stronger winds in the cold front.

'The wind started to fill in around our last gybe,' said Groupama helmsman Erwan Israël. 'We are sailing ahead of the front in 20 to 23 knots of wind and expecting up to 26 knots of wind.

'We kept gybing to get a better angle in the front and stay longer in it. Telefónica gybed a bit later and managed to overtake us. They are controlling us, but now we are in sight of each other and it’s really nice to fight like that.'

Latest estimates suggest the leading boats will complete Leg 7 from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal on May 31.

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignSouthern Spars - 100Zhik ZKG 660x82

Related Articles

Volvo Ocean Race- Official Video of latest edtion
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concluded in Galway, Ireland during July The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 started in Alicante, Spain in October 2011 and concluded in Galway, Ireland during early July 2012. This documentary tracks the fleet during their amazing around the world journey. Catch all the drama and action as the teams sail a 39,000 nautical miles through the world's most treacherous seas via Cape Town, Abu Dhabi, Sanya, Auckland, around Cape Horn to Itajaí, M
Posted on 21 Aug 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- All-Women crew announced for the 2014-15 edition
The Volvo Ocean Race will feature an all-female team for the first time since 2001-02 after global hygiene and forest co The Volvo Ocean Race will feature an all-female team for the first time since 2001-02 after global hygiene and forest company SCA announced they would enter a women’s crew for the next edition in 2014-15. 'The lack of women in the last few editions of the race has meant we haven't been representing half the population of the human race' - Knut Frostad, Volvo Ocean Race, CEO
Posted on 21 Aug 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- And when the race is over.... + Video
Camper, the second placed boat in the Volvo Ocean Race, has returned to her Spanish home. Camper, the second placed boat in the Volvo Ocean Race, has returned to her Spanish home. She will visit the Copa del Rey in Palma de Mallorca. Sponsored by the Mallorcan footwear company Camper, the return of the joint Spanish and New Zealand flagged boat, marks the end of a round the world adventure that started with the yacht’s baptism at the RCNP in September 2011 and the race start from A
Posted on 18 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Calling up the Reinforcements
They say one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity, and that certainly was the case for reserve sailors They say one man's misfortune is another man's opportunity, and that certainly was the case for reserve sailors in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race, who were given the chance to prove they could step up to challenges as big as the Southern Ocean, often with barely any notice. Be it an email with a subject line 'get your boots ready' or a hurried face-to-face with the skipper just minutes before the st
Posted on 18 Jul 2012
The most successful Volvo Ocean Race yet
The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 was not only the closest race in the 39-year history of the event but also the most success The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 was not only the closest race in the 39-year history of the event but also the most successful, CEO Knut Frostad said on Thursday, with hundreds of thousands of fans visiting Galway in Ireland for a buoyant finale and outstanding growth across media platforms set to be confirmed once final data is in.
Posted on 16 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Sanderson wants to go again
Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson will be back racing as early as this weekend but the big date circled in his diary is in la Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson will be back racing as early as this weekend but the big date circled in his diary is in late 2014 when he expects to return for another campaign in the Volvo Ocean Race. Sanderson skippered ABN AMRO ONE to victory in 2005-06 and while his race this time with Sanya was not the same glittering success he is determined it will not be his final appearance in the Volvo
Posted on 16 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Reluctant hero Marsh takes seamanship honour
'It's been an amazing adventure, a fantastic tour, and a great race' - Brad Marsh The title ‘hero’ does not rest easy on the shoulders of Groupama bowman Brad Marsh, but most agree that it is the best way to describe the Kiwi who repaired a sinking yacht, saved a broken rig and scaled a 31-metre mast in a storm front.
Posted on 16 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race - Perfection never enough for Franck Cammas
Volvo Ocean Race skipper Franck Cammas, at the age of just 39, is already assured of his place in sailing history Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 skipper Franck Cammas, at the age of just 39, is already assured of his place in sailing history thanks to Groupama's debut victory in the Volvo Ocean Race. Here we profile the charismatic French sailor for whom perfection is never good enough.
Posted on 10 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Selected Awards announced at Formal Prizegiving
Camper's Hamish Hooper saw nine months of hard work pay off as he was crowned Media Crew Member of the Volvo Ocean Race The selected award category winners were announced at the final formal Volvo Ocean Race prizegiving in Galway Ireland. We present a gallery of images and video of the category winners and their feats including the Media Crew member Award, the Rookie Award, the Seamanship Award, the Shore Crew Award as well as the Designer Award and Speed Trophy presentation.
Posted on 9 Jul 2012
Volvo Ocean Race- Formal Prizegiving - Racing Award winners
The racing award winners and crews were announced at the formal prizegiving for the Volvo Ocean Race, at Galway, Ireland The racing award winners were recognised at the formal prizegiving for the Volvo Ocean Race, at Galway, Ireland after the conclusion of the InPort race on Saturday. All six crews were presented with overall awards or place momentos. The InPort Trophy was awarded as well, the speed record trophy was also awarded.
Posted on 8 Jul 2012