VOR: Leg Five off to a smashing start—Sailing news from the U.S. and b
Talk to your average weekend warrior about the size of waves and you're likely to hear a fish story or two. Yet if you ask a Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) sailor or around-the-world veteran the same question and you're likely to get a far more jaded, been-there, sailed-that attitude. If anything, amongst this crowd, the waves seem to get smaller and the winds lighter with each telling...
|Tony Mutter lowers his shoulders against a giant wave over the deck. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race) Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© |
Unless, of course, your question was aimed at any of the sailors who are currently racing in Leg Five of this year's VOR. Then, you're likely to hear the stripped-down, bare-naked truth of how violent ocean racing can be, especially when the steed in question is a high-strung Volvo Open 70. 'Without a shadow of a doubt, that was the hardest opening night of a Volvo leg I have ever done,' reported Emirates Team New Zealand's co-skipper Stu Bannatyne, a six-time circumnavigator and one of the most highly respected sailors in the Grand Prix offshore game. Others with impressive resumes agreed. 'It's certainly the roughest 24 hours I can remember for the last four editions of this race,' said Emirates skipper, Chris Nicholson, a veteran of four VORs. 'Going over the waves is like playing Russian roulette every time when you just hope for the best.'
|Martin Krite and Brad Marsh setting up the J4 during high speed sailing onboard Groupama Sailing Team during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race) - Volvo Ocean Race, Leg 5, 20 March 2012 Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race|
Elsewhere in the fleet, conditions were equally boisterous. 'We've been in windier, we've been in wetter, and we've been in rougher, but it's the combination of it all that makes doing anything effectively hopeless,' reported Puma Ocean Racing's Media Crew Member, Amory Ross. 'I can't speak for the ten other guys on the boat, but I wasn't prepared for that kind of a start and it's taken me a while to get up to speed.'
Others onboard Puma's Mar Mostro have been fairing worse, specifically Thomas Johanson, who dislocated his shoulder after being swept from a wheel, and bowman Casey Smith, who blew out his back during a routine sail change. The onboard med team was able to reset Johanson's dislocated wing, but the latest reports from Mar Mostro are maintaining that Smith is still bunk-ridden. Moreover, there's talk of possibly having to evacuate Smith when the boat approaches Cape Horn, if his pain level doesn't improve.
[Ed. Note: Having suffered a broken back in my youth, I can only imagine the horror-show experience that Smith is experiencing as the boat rockets down waves and creates holes in the ocean. May his situation improve, and quickly!]
Get the full VOR media experience, including some great image galleries and video footage, inside this issue.
|Singapore's Cecilia Low and Rachel Lee sail the ARUP Skiff at the 2016 ISAF Equipment Evaluation.
Image copyright free for editorial use. This image may not be used for any other purpose without the express prior written permission of ISAF. - 2016 Equipment Evaluations ISAF ©
Meanwhile, in Olympic sailing news, the ISAF Olympic Women's Skiff Trials, which are being used to select the Olympic equipment for the Women's Skiff and Mixed Multihull events for the 2016 Games, are under way in Santander, Spain. Check out the report, inside, as well as the image gallery (and embedded video footage) of the different designs that are being considered. The evaluations wrap up on March 25, so stay tuned for more info, as it becomes known.
Also inside, read about the Opti regatta that's trying to earn its way into the Guinness Book of World Records with 1,000 registered sailors; learn about Conrad Colman's new co-skipper aboard Cessna Citation for the Global Ocean Race, and get the latest report from the Clipper Around the World Race, which has just reached its halfway mark around the planet.
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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