Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

Volvo Ten Zulu Report - Record goes in dash south

by Mark Chisnell on 30 Oct 2008
Dave Endean and Joao Signorini celebrate on Ericsson 4 as they set a new 24 hour record Guy Salter/Ericsson 4/Volvo Ocean Race © http://www.volvoceanrace.org

The cliché ‘batten down the hatches’ has its origins in the process of securing square rigged sailing ships for bad weather.

And over the last couple of days, the crews of the Volvo Open 70s have described their own metaphoric and literal battening of hatches – albeit it with sikaflex and sailing bags, rather than pitch and pine. The tension has been palpable as we all waited for the arrival of the eastbound low pressure system, often relieved as humour – as is the way with men under pressure.


At 10:00 ZULU yesterday, we were still holding our breath – 24 hours later we can release it with a little sigh of admiration. All the preparation was not in vain. The cold front hit them right after the TEN ZULU was posted yesterday, the breeze blasting in at 30 knots from the north-west. The fleet took off for Cape Town – PUMA’s skipper, Ken Read described the electric change of pace to Guy Swindells.

At the time, Ericsson 4 and PUMA were side by side – Torben Grael had reversed their earlier stake in the south, sailing a ‘hot’ True Wind Angle (TWA in the Data Centre) – that’s a narrower TWA, and as you can see from the graph, a faster one. I’m not sure if Grael and his navigator, Jules Salter, deliberately closed out their leverage to PUMA – they continued at the same tighter, faster wind angle through the afternoon. The gybe to the south had cost them about 400m (that was how much they were in front of PUMA when they gybed away, returning to be side by side about 15 hours later) – but that loss has become largely irrelevant.

Phenomenal display of power

In a phenomenal display of power sailing (despite being a man down), Ericsson 4 blitzed ABN AMRO TWO’s 24-hour mono-hull record in the early hours of the morning to the regret and admiration of Telefonica Blue’s navigator, Simon Fisher who was aboard ABN AMRO TWO when the old mark was set at 562.96.

Grael and his men kept the afterburners on – and the mileage looks to have peaked at 589nm at 07.55 ZULU this morning. And so far, no one has been able to stay with the pace, as you can see from the 48 hour graph of Boat Speed (BS) and Distance Run in 24 Hours (24HR_RUN). (Which looks like the mirror image of the pound’s decline against the dollar, and just about any other financial index, but apparently the recession is all AC/DC’s fault - or is it the other way around …?).

It’s been gloves and ski-masks (and that was just me getting to the office this morning) since the new weather system arrived from the west, as the centre of the low, positioned to the south, moved east. It brought the tail-enders up to the leading pack, as Aksel Magdahl described in an audio interview with Amanda Blackley. The graph of Gain/Loss to Leader Since Last Report (DTLC) shows the effect clearly.

This was slightly different to the Doldrums, when the leading bunch ran into light air first. In this case, the chasing pack brought new, stronger wind with them, as they rolled eastbound and down with the front. This is a pretty common occurrence in yacht racing, in fact it’s how I lost the first race of the 420 Nationals in 1982 – a setback from which I suspect my sailing career has never fully recovered. But I think Neal McDonald was one of the people to go past on that occasion, and it doesn’t seem to have done him any harm.

'This is insane'

McDonald is a watch captain on Green Dragon, and he started his round the world career with Lawrie Smith, a man who never shied away from sail area when it started blowing – as Ian Walker was discovering last night, 'I think it may be time to open negotiations with Neal about taking the spinnaker down …' to which he added the footnote this morning, 'This is insane …’ Draw your own conclusions about the fate of the spinnaker.

Green Dragon and PUMA have just about hung onto Ericsson 4 – all the while falling into line behind them, and closing out the leverage – the icing on the cake for Grael and Salter. As far as I can tell there haven’t been any big crashes, the gap between them has just crept up steadily. We don’t know if that’s the boat, the sails or technique. Jonathan Swain (watch captain on Telefonica Blue, and the one with cold feet) told me in Alicante that the big masthead spinnaker comes off pretty early with these boats – around 28 knots of True Wind Speed (TWS).

And Aksel Magdahl told Amanda in that earlier audio interview that they were already down to the smaller (fractional) spinnaker yesterday morning. Once it gets over 32 knots that comes off as well, and they shift down to a big reaching jib. Jonathan explained that although you have to sail a little higher, you go a lot faster, and like a windsurfer wave-riding down-the-line it gives them the control to carve on the wave and surf the boats to even quicker speeds. The average True Wind Speeds (TWS) overnight have been hovering around 31-33 knots, right on the cross-over that Jonathan Swain described – I don’t know who’s been using what sails, but I’d like to.

No shortage of action

Behind the leading trio the gap has been stretching more quickly, particularly for the boats that found themselves going north of east early this morning – Team Russia, Delta Lloyd, Telefonica Black and Ericsson 3 - visible in the Race Viewer.

Rather than an (understandable) instinct for self-preservation, I think these guys have all been overtaken by the cold front, their True Wind Direction (TWD) is backing round (anti-clockwise) to the south-west, taking them away from the finish, and away from the path of the low. Wouter Verbraak explained the risks of getting overtaken by the front in an email this morning but that fate seems already to have befallen them.

The isochrones (lines that define places the boat can reach in an equal period of time) in the Predicted Routes of the Race Viewer look like an arrow head this morning. And the tip of that arrow is a boat holding onto the cold front for the longest possible time. After that all bets are off, and if you check you can see that the routing now thinks that Team Russia and Delta Lloyd need to gybe back to the south to stop their deficit really blowing out – an option that both boats took just before the 10:00 ZULU this morning.

But – barring a breakdown or crash - the leaders should stay with the front until about 500nm from Cape Town, by then the breeze will be dropping fast on the evening of the 31 October. That’s a couple of days away, so it’s all a bit speculative, but there is still time for another squeeze of the accordion as the leading trio run into the protective wall of light air that’s entrenched around the finish. It looks like there will be no shortage of action all the way to the line.

Volvo Ocean Race Positions - Leg One, Wednesday, Day 19: 1800 GMT

Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) DTF 1624
PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +41
Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +86
Ericsson 3 SWE (Anders Lewander/SWE) +119
Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) +155
Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +172
Delta Lloyd IRL (Ger O'Rourke/IRL) +337
Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) +357

The TEN ZULU REPORT (so called because it follows the 10:00 GMT fleet position report, and Zulu is the meteorologist's name for GMT).

Wildwind 2016 660x82North Technology - Southern SparsT Clewring AC72

Related Articles

Puma's Volvo 70 - 'il mostro' - for sale!
Puma's il mostro is on the Auction block now - auction ends October 30th 2011 PUMA's il mostro is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. The auction started on September 30 and concluding on October 30, we will accept bids for one of the fastest VOR boats in the world. Puma's il mostro is the perfect platform for a racing owner wishing to compete in offshore racing both under handicap and as a course record breaker. Auction ends October 30th 2011
Posted on 20 Oct 2011
Volvo Ocean Race Legends- Caviar, Cocktails and Central Heating
In the Volvo Ocean Race's 'Legends Look Back' series ahead of next year's first official reunion in Alicante, Butch rem Englishman Butch Dalrymple-Smith was a crewmember aboard the Mexican entry, Sayula II, the winner of the very first Whitbread in 1973-74. In the Volvo Ocean Race's 'Legends Look Back' series ahead of next year's first official reunion in Alicante, Butch remembers the good and bad. 'After each day’s six-hour watch, those coming off the deck would be handed a rum tonic or a vodka or gin...
Posted on 17 Aug 2010
Volvo Ocean Race- Camper announce build, crew and workup for VOR70
CAMPER, and Emirates Team New Zealand have made some key announcements in their project for the Volvo Ocean Race CAMPER, in association with Emirates Team New Zealand have made some key announcements in their project for the Volvo Ocean Race Construction of the VO70 yacht will start in the first week of August. Crew selection is also well advanced and CAMPER said today that experienced Spanish round-the-world yachtsman Roberto Bermudez de Castro has signed on.
Posted on 23 Jul 2010
Stu Bannatyne joins CAMPER/Emirates Team NZ for Volvo Ocean Race
CAMPER announced today the appointment of Stuart Bannatyne as a watch captain for its Volvo Ocean Race project. CAMPER announced today the appointment of Stuart Bannatyne as a watch captain for its Volvo Ocean Race project. Bannatyne has raced around the world five times, most recently in the 2008-09 VOR on board the winning yacht Ericsson 4. The CAMPER campaign for the 2011-2012 round-the-world race is being run by Emirates Team New Zealand. The race starts from Alicante, Spain, in October 2011 and
Posted on 7 May 2010
Second's out for PUMA's Ken Read in Volvo Ocean Race + Video (x2)
The goal is to build a team not only of great sailors but of friends. I think people perform better when they enjoy what 'The goal is to build a team not only of great sailors but of friends. I think people perform better when they enjoy what they do...' For a man with more medals in his locker than a green beret, having to settle for the second step of the podium at the end of a gruelling 2008-09 race was unfamiliar territory for Ken Read. Read’s PUMA Ocean Racing finished behind Torben Grael’s Ericsson 4
Posted on 4 May 2010
Puma announces core team for Volvo Ocean Race
Ken Read, skipper of PUMA Ocean Racing, announced his core crew and management team for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race 20 Today Ken Read, skipper of PUMA Ocean Racing, announced his core crew and management team for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race 2011-2012. The team departs Alicante, Spain today to bring il mostro, PUMA Ocean Racing’s boat that secured a second place finish in the last Volvo Ocean Race, back to Newport, Rhode Island where the team will immediately start training for the next race. il mostro will serve
Posted on 30 Apr 2010
Sports Consultancy secures 10 Host Ports for Volvo Ocean Race 2011–12
The Sports Consultancy, announces the successful completion of the Volvo Ocean Race's brief Coinciding with the announcement of the full route for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 The Sports Consultancy, the bidding specialists appointed by Volvo Ocean Race to manage the competitive tender process, announces the successful completion of the agency’s brief to deliver what is, with over 80 initial bidders and 10 successful cities, believed to be the largest number of cities bidding...
Posted on 26 Apr 2010
Nicholson and Minoprio named for Camper/ETNZ Volvo crew + Audio
Emirates Team New Zealand has appointed Chris Nicholson (Australia) to skipper Camper’s entry in the 2011-12 VOR. Emirates Team New Zealand has appointed Olympic and round-the- world yachtsman Chris Nicholson to skipper Camper’s entry in the 20 11-12 Volvo Ocean Race. Also at the announcement at Emirates Team New Zealand's Auckland base was World Match Racing Champion, Adam Minoprio, who was named as part of the crew.
Posted on 22 Apr 2010
Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 – Schedule announced
The course and dates for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 have been officially announced today. The course and dates for the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 have been officially announced today. This edition of the race will see a new format for the racing programme in the host cities, including the start city of Alicante, Spain and finish city of Galway, Ireland. For the first time, the Volvo Ocean Race will finish with an In-Port race in Galway.
Posted on 20 Apr 2010
Auckland, the City of Sails, to host Volvo Ocean Race for eighth time
Auckland, New Zealand, is back in the Volvo Ocean Race after a gap of 10 years. T Auckland, New Zealand, is back in the Volvo Ocean Race after a gap of 10 years. The city, which has fielded some of the world’s best sailors in the Volvo Ocean Race, last hosted the event in 2001-02. It will stage the leg four finish from Sanya in China and the start of leg five, which will take the fleet into the Southern Ocean once again, round the infamous Cape Horn and up to a finish in Itaj
Posted on 31 Mar 2010