Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad

Volvo Ocean Race- Being a Volvo Ocean Race Virtual Sailor

by Lorraine MacIntosh on 1 Jul 2012
Approaching Lorient finish with the toll showing - Volvo Ocean Race Lorraine MacIntosh

We can’t all be Franck Cammas or Chris Nicholsons and sail the high seas, but one can be in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Over 212,000 registrations for VORG show the appeal of going virtual. But beware; the hazards may not be 40 knot winds or six metre waves, but the addictive powers of virtual racing while one tries to live in a normal world.

My own sailor started his virtual sailing life with Oceanic Virtual Regattas back in 2004 and went round-the-world with the Barcelona World Race in 2011.

So as number one supporter, and the Kiwi in the family, I was somewhat accustomed to being a computer sailor’s wife when the he undertook the VORG challenge. The first leg was pretty normal, a few encounters with the land mass of North Africa, several over-sleeps during weather changes, and some real work getting done, so a 95,907th placing seemed appropriate. But the sailor was learning and competition was mounting.

Navigation skills are to the fore in this sailing world and my racer, alias Tempest, was told that another navigator had produced a program after deciding there had to be another way to manage the endless calculations involved by the serious sailor. So taking Zezo on board during Leg 3 somewhere in the Malacca Strait and reduced navigational calculation times up to 90%.

This, along with a bit more dedication to the process, produced a 1491th placing: things were happening. It didn’t stop there with 879th, 176th, and 73rd placings in Legs 4 to 6.

Leg 7 out of Miami and Tempest was getting into a rhythm. It was getting serious. With no computer connection in the house, nights were spent amongst the spinnakers in our nearby sail loft. Not too different from the real stuff. His beard was growing and his hair was going in any direction with showers not a priority. That’s alright when you’re out on the Southern Ocean with everyone else in the same boat, but on land, not so great to be around.

By Leg 8 all lessons appeared to be learned. Even crossing the line in the top 20 in Lisbon to find that hitting land in too short a time after finishing wiped your boat out and kicked you back 40 odd places (although that bug was fixed). Still his second boat on the leg managed 34th place.

For Leg 8 Tempest determined the leg would be won in the up-wind stage so the boat had to get to the Sao Miguel gate in the Azores Islands first, something he managed with all his three boats. Sao Miguel to Lorient it was a run down-wind trying to cover the fleet through storm and raging winds. No broken rudders or record-setting speed runs but the boats can still loose speed by damaging sails and exhausting the crew if you don’t feed them (I like that touch).

[Sorry, this content could not be displayed]We do live in a techo age and virtual racing has allowed an incredible number of sailors and would be sailors around the globe to enjoy the challenge, after all not everyone can make a living sailing.

Mind you the dedicated virtual sailor is seriously challenged in this aspect and often has to hoodwink an employer into thinking they are still working or if it’s your own business to keep some work moving to pay the bills. One racer reported a business meeting during the time when the crucial tack was needed nearing Sao Miguel and his chances in the leg were lost.

The reports from those running in the top 10 overall, and chasing a brand new Volvo with wheels, show daily living has been turned on its head by the dedication that has had to be applied from day 1 to achieve the necessary consistency.

Tempest has been happy to get a seat at the final race in Galway and the prize giving: time to rub shoulders with the real sailors. As in any real race the camaraderie, the country pride, and the obsession with doing it are all there.

If you’re game it’s an option but be warned: for the experienced and inexperienced it’s an addictive pastime.




T Clewring - GenericInSunSport - NZBarz Optics - Floaters

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