Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 40+ 728x90

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.




Bakewell-White Yacht DesignZhik Isotak Ocean 660x82PredictWind.com

Related Articles

A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Sydney Hobart Race-Dark and stormy, well because it is Dark and Stormy
Proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart Well it is now dark and the rain 'storms' have passed, but proving that there is a lighter side to the frustrations that is a race to Hobart, the custom Murray 37, Dark & Stormy had a wonderful exchange on the radio. Quite possibly it was co-owner and Navigator Terry Courts on the VHF in the super-frank exchange with Hobart Race Control at around 1928hrs on 29/12/16.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Wicked
ather and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery Father and Son outfit, Wicked, are Matt and Mark Welsh from Melbourne. Matt is at home on the couch after knee surgery, but Mark is out on the water, approaching Hobart. From on board he said, 'Amazing race. Barely any windward work. Just does not get better than this. Bit of gear damage cost us early, and we had to sail a little conservatively.'
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - Accepting the Challenge
When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South When you buy a boat like the late Lou Abrahma's Sydney 38, Challenge, you're almost obliged to keep taking her South at Christmas time. Luckily this has not been a problem for Chris Mrakas and his new crew, which includes Bruce Reidy
Posted on 29 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race – 67 out of 70
It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite It's a pretty awesome score in anybody’s language. When it is the number of hours you spend under kite in the 72nd Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race so far, then it is more than A+++. Anto Sweetapple from on board the Jones 40, Quetzalcoatl, reports in from at sea for us.
Posted on 29 Dec 2016