The Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta has had the first race abandoned after a near complete absence of wind that had the fleet adrift for two and a half hours.
Volvo Ocean Race Legends Regatta 2011
Conditions were already very light when the sixteen boat fleet, which includes boats from the first ten round the world races, assembled at the start area off Postiguet Beach at 1300 local time.
To accommodate the fleet's wide range of age, size and performance, a pursuit race format was used, with the smaller boats setting off first to be chased by the larger faster yachts. To compensate for the light airs, the course had been reduced from twenty-two to just twelve miles.
The Italian Swan 55 Tauranga from the very first Whitbread Race in 1973-74 and the Nicholson 55 Dasher, sistership to Adventure from the 1973-74 and 1977-78 races were the first to start, with Tauranga making the better of the early drifting conditions.
The breeze had increased a fraction by the time the fastest boats, the two Volvo Open 70s Green Dragon and Telefónica Black joined in the race almost two hours later, by which time the bulk of the fleet had rounded the first two turning marks and started the long leg out to sea.
The two equally matched IOR Maxi Ketches, Steinlager 2 and Fisher and Paykel, who were racing together for the first time since their continuous round the world battle in the 1989-90 race, were once more locked together in their own private match race for supremacy.
Sailing on board Steinlager 2 was Lady Pippa Blake, wife of the late Sir Peter Blake, who competed in five round the world races and skippered Steinlager 2 to victory in 1989-90 edition.
When wind conditions had failed to improve by 1530 local time, the race committee were finally forced to admit defeat and signaled to the fleet that the race had been abandoned.
Leading the fleet at this point was the beautifully restored IOR Mini Maxi Charles Jourdan from the 1989-90 race. On board as part of the crew for the race was Alain Gabbay, Charles Jourdain's original skipper and a Legends Ambassador.
Happily, much breezier conditions expected for tomorrow's Legends race which will start at 1300 local time. Tonight the crews and reunion guests will enjoy a party at the Legends Bar in the race village.
Legends Race 1 Start Times:
Tauranga Swan 65 1.069 13:00:00
Adventure/Dasher Nicholson 55 1.069 13:00:00
Berge Viking Swan 57 1.110 13:08:52
King's Legend Swan 65 1.140 13:14:57
Galuoises III Holland IOR 62 1.204 13:26:55
L'Esprit d'Equipe IOR 58 Sloop 1.224 13:30:24
GB II / Whitbread Heritage IOR Maxi Sloop 1.350 13:49:57
Heineken / Cuba Libre '93 Whitbread 60 1.420 13:59:19
Assa Abloy /Ambersail '01 Volvo Ocean 60 1.420 13:59:19
Tyco / Team Heiner '01 Volvo Ocean 60 1.420 13:59:19
Rothmans IOR Maxi Sloop 1.428 14:00:20
Steinlager 2 IOR Maxi Ketch 1.432 14:00:50
Fisher and Paykel IOR Maxi Ketch 1.432 14:03:50
Charles Jourdan IOR Mini Maxi 1.450 14:03:04
Telefónica Black '08 Volvo Open 70 1.680 14:27:17
Green Dragon '08 Volvo Open 70 1.680 14:27:17
Volvo Ocean Race website