Sail-World.com : Volvo Ocean Race; Two days into Leg 7 and race fleet cop a pasting
Volvo Ocean Race; Two days into Leg 7 and race fleet cop a pasting
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet found themselves in survival mode battling their way out of the eye of a violent tropical storm overnight, suddenly caught in lightning and gale force headwinds.
They thought they were lining up for a quick, relatively easy first stage of Leg 7 – but Tropical Storm Alberto had other ideas, quickly changing direction and turning the downwind sailing of Day 1 into a survival situation sailing straight into 35 knots of gale-force winds.
Only leg leaders Groupama escaped, benefitting from an early gybe east, but for the five chasers it was a different matter altogether as Tropical Storm Alberto swallowed them up, raining down lightning bolts all round the fleet.
In his latest blog from Azzam, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker describes the chaos.
'What a day,' Walker said. 'The whole fleet with the exception of Groupama were caught out when the tropical depression Alberta changed course and moved south east over the top of us. We were trying to ride the windshift and extra wind just to the south of it but a violent windshift headed us straight into the eye of the storm.
Andrew McLean bears the brunt of the force of the water on the aft grinding pedestal, onboard Camper during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal. - Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race© Click Here to view large photo
'There then followed a chaotic 12-hour period as we ended up on the wrong side of it beating upwind in 35 knots. All of a sudden instead of a fast ride east to the south of the storm we were right in it and in survival mode with three reefs and a heavy weather jib.
'We came off some terrible waves but most worrying of all was the lightning. The lightning was crashing all around right down to the water and it didn’t seem possible our carbon mast could avoid a direct strike.
'Nevertheless, we escaped as we managed to sail back on ourselves to the favoured side and eventually again get on our way. Groupama outsmarted everyone by gybing earlier and staying away from Alberta and cashed in a 70-mile lead.
'Thankfully things have settled down now and after an entire day of seemingly non stop sail changes we are now enjoying smoother water and steadier winds. Everyone is tired as it has needed pretty much all hands on deck all day long.
'To make things worse we have a couple of bad backs on board that are suffering and one of us took a fairly hard blow to the head when he got washed back off the foredeck.
'Right now the priority is to get some food and drink into everyone, get people rested and continue the gains we have made in the last few hours. What was billed as a nice easy Atlantic crossing on initial forecasts has so far turned out to be anything but!'
Abu Dhabi had moved up to fourth place by the 0400 position, and by 0700 were 44 miles off the leaders.
by Volvo Ocean Race
Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall
11:31 AM Tue 22 May 2012GMT
Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.
Click for further information on
MORE STORIES ...
2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race
Related News Stories:
Our Advertisers are committed to our sport, please support them!
This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia Pty. Ltd and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.
Photographs are copyright by law. If you wish to use or buy a photograph you must contact the photographer directly (there is a hyperlink in most cases to their website, or do a Google search.) with your request.
Please do not contact
as we cannot give permission for use of other photographer’s images.
Only if the photographer named on the image is Sail-world.com, Powerboat-world.com, Marinebusiness-world.com or NZBoating-World.com.
Ph: +61 2 8006 1873
or complete our
[ Banner Advertising Specification
[Bot Archive ]
Customised news feeds -Marine Industry companies, Clubs and Associations have their own customised version of our news feed on their website.