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23 Mar 2012

VOR: Buckle up, it's about to get lumpy—Sailing news from the U.S. and

Thomas Johanson on the helm in light winds. 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©
Look at recent video and still-image footage from the fleet of six, fully crewed Volvo Open 70s that are racing in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) and things look relatively calm. That postcard is about to change as the fleet reaches the new, 'freshening' weather and big seas that are expected to slingshot them all the way to Cape Horn. In sort, it's going to get fast and rough.

Jono Swain on the helm in fast downwind conditions. 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©

'It feels a bit like the last supper; the table has been set and we're waiting for the wind to arrive,' writes Amory Ross, Puma Ocean Racing's Media Crew Member (MCM), in a nicely written onboard report. 'Everyone's going about life today with a general casualness, trying to enjoy each waning moment of calm before the weather changes for the worse. In the back of our heads we're mindful of the forecast and the tough conditions ahead – 40 to 50 knots are very possible – but it's far from evident in the onboard mood.'

While all the teams brace for the inevitable pounding that's headed their way, Team Sanya has the unfortunate complication of having sort out their boat after a broken rudder allowed water to enter the aft compartment. 'The rudder snapped in between the boat and the deck, which is just the worst thing that can happen because then it just leverages itself off he boat and leaves a pretty messy trail,' said the team's skipper, Mike Sanderson. Until the rudder damage struck, Sanya was leading the pack; now, they are heading back to New Zealand to make repairs. 'We're just gutted, it hasn't even quite sunk in for sure.'

Team Sanya crew sealing the starboard rudder bearing after sustaining damage during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil. (Credit: Andr?s Soriano/Team Sanya/Volvo Ocean Race  Andres Soriano/Team Sanya/Volvo Ocean Race

While emotions range from 'electrified to terrified', as Camper Team New Zealand's (ENTZ) Hamish Hooper eloquently noted, the one constant is that experience breeds confidence. 'Without a doubt the best sailing in the world is downwind sailing in the Southern Ocean, no question about that,' said, Stu Bannatyne, a six-time VOR participant and ENTZ's co-skipper. 'We're about to get a bit of it. Our tactics for sailing from here to Cape Horn—be safe and go fast.'

While positions and fortunes will no doubt change as the fleet slingshots towards the Horn, the usual suspects are all up front, namely Telefonica, Groupama, ENTZ and Puma Ocean Racing. Leader-board positions are changing with each new position update, and all four of these teams are now reporting speeds in the mid-20s, so—with a bit of luck—the situation is ripening for a team to set a new 24-hour distance record for fully crewed monohulls. Chances are beyond excellent that the next week or so will see some of the most exciting sailing of this entire edition, so stay tuned for updates as they develop, and check out this issue for tons of great VOR-related media.

Bolero blasting toward the finish line at St. David's Lighthouse in the 1956 Newport Bermuda Race.   Courtesy of Bermuda News Bureau

And for sailors who love a great read about a wild Corinthian-spirited offshore race, be sure to check out John Rousmaniere's great article that explains how the storied Newport-Bermuda Race earned its distinctive alternative moniker as the 'Thrash to the Onion Patch'. While Bermuda's famous crop explains the second half of the name, the Gulf Stream and its sometimes-wild conditions bespeak the use of the word 'thrash'.

'Consider, for example, the 2002 race,' writes Rousmaniere. 'Early on, a cold northeaster pushed the 182 boats at high speeds into the Gulf Stream, which proceeded to fulfill its reputation as a dangerous weather-maker by churning up black squalls punctuated by waterspouts. Then things really got nasty when the northeast wind gave way to a force 6-7 southwesterly blowing right into the teeth of a long, powerful southbound eddy reaching almost to Bermuda.' The 2012 Newport-Bermuda Race starts on June 15.

In One Design news, the 2016 Equipment Trials for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition are taking place in Santander, Spain through the weekend. Here, sailors and ISAF officials are evaluating equipment for the Women's Skiff and Mixed Multi-Hull events. Check out the report and embedded video of the different skiffs, inside.

Day 4 Race 5 - Finn European Championship 2012  Robert Deaves /IFA

Also, if you're of the smartphone persuasion, ( I wonder who is not these days?) be sure to read about PredictWind's new iPhone and Android app. Also, the Clipper Around the World Race fleet has now crossed the International Dateline and has entered the Western Hemisphere, en route to Oakland, California. And the racing action is hot at the Finn class' Junior and Senior European Championship, which is taking place in Scarlino, Italy.

Loro Piana Caribbean Superyacht Regatta  Ingrid Abery /copyright

And finally, for anyone needing a taste of the Caribbean sun, check out the wrap-up report from the Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta, which was recently hosted at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda's Virgin Gorda Clubhouse.

May the four winds blow you safely home,


David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor



Volvo Ocean Race - Camper's Southern Ocean sailing lesson Video
The Sail-World Team,
The Volvo Ocean Race crews are currently on the Southern Ocean sailing in Leg 5. The crews are taking head on a challenge that is testing their endurance in extreme conditions. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand video of their sailing lesson so far in the Southern Ocean.... [more]
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America's Cup streamlines, re-organizes staff to promote efficiencies
America's Cup,
America's Cup organizers today announced that the agreement on the verge of being finalized with the City of San Francisco will lead to organizational changes and staff reductions at the America's Cup Event Authority, the commercial arm of the sport, due in part to down-sizing of the event footprint in San Francisco.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race - Pushed to the extreme of human endurance
Volvo Ocean Race,
In the Volvo Ocean Race, the five teams racing in Leg 5 from Auckland are being pushed to the extreme of human endurance by ferocious weather as they race through the Southern Ocean towards Itajaí in Brazil. Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS) has retained their lead, but conditions are such that it is now not so much about winning, but more about keeping boats manageable... [more]
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Finn European Championship - Leaderboard changes
Robert Deaves,
The final day of the opening series at the 2012 Finn European Championship in Scarlino again produced just one tricky race, but has set up a thrilling finale for both the Senior and the Junior Championship. Alican Kaynar (TUR) won the race, but missed out on the medal race by two points. Third placed finisher, and double Finn Junior European Champion, Ioannis Mitakis, takes the overall lead... [more]
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RS:X Worlds blasted by 40 knots
Rory Ramsden,
At the RS:X World Windsurfing Championships in Cadiz, the morning time had the Bay covered in white caps. The AP wentup. Racing was postponed in the hope that the wind would moderate. It topped out at 40 knots plus mid morning and stayed there until 1500hrs.Up went the AP over A. No racing.... [more]
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America's Cup: Oracle Racing have serious collision in AC45's
Oracle Racing,
During training today on San Francisco Bay Oracle Racing – Team USA's two AC45s were involved in an accident that left one of the boats with damage to the port hull. 'We're always trying to recreate the intensity of racing that rival challengers have with our own in-house racing,' said skipper Jimmy Spithill. 'Unfortunately, we get it wrong sometimes.'... [more]
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BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival - World class racing action
Trish Jenkins,
BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing Festival kicks off in a few days and the organizers are busy preparing for a week of hot racing and legendary parties. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Sailing Festival and a record entry of yachts from all over the world will be taking part.... [more]
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Ratcheting up the program
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor,
American skipper Emma Creighton prepares for the 2012 Atlantic Cup with co-Skipper Jorge Madden (ESP) aboard a Class 40. Chalk it up it to a tough economy or the difficulty of making the grade, but the hard fact remains that only five of the 79 skippers who participated in the 2011 La Charente-Maritime/Bahia Transat 6.50 (AKA, the Mini Transat) advanced from their Class Mini yachts... [more]
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Ficker Cup day 1 - Never too young or to old to match race
Rich Roberts,
Today was day 1 of the Long Beach Yacht Club's Ficker Cup. The ultimate winner after 14 races over two round robins of the Grade 3 event will claim the open 10th berth in next week's Grade 1 48th Congressional Cup... [more]
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International Rolex Regatta preview
Barby MacGowan,
Hundreds of sailors on 68 teams are preparing for the 39th International Rolex Regatta being hosted by St. Thomas Yacht Club in the USVI. Conditions today came with plenty of wind for practicing and did nothing to dampen the excitement building for the next three days of racing.... [more]
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America's Cup World Series Naples countdown
America's Cup World Series,
The first championship races in 2012 in the America's Cup World Series are scheduled to begin in just under three weeks. A revised format for the event has been issued which provides a balanced schedule of match racing, fleet racing and speed trials across the five days of competition that climaxes on Sunday April 15 when the winner of the Naples Fleet Race Championship is crowned.... [more]
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RS:X World Windsurfing Championships underway + Video
Rory Ramsden,
The RS:X World Windsurfing Championships are now underway in Cadiz, Spain. The men went out into a building breeze for a 1200hrs start. The wind was 8-18 knots along with big holes, shifts and testing times to say the least. It was the orange group who started first and Shahar Zubari [ISR11] who lead on the first upwind and all the way down to the bottom of the outside loop.... [more]
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2012 J/24 North American Championship
Eric Faust,
The International J/24 Class Association has selected the Florida Yacht Club and its J/24 Fleet 55 to host the 2012 J/24 North American Championship Regatta.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race - Camper leads as Sanya go back
Volvo Ocean Race,
In the Volvo Ocean Race, Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand are leading the fleet across the Southern Ocean as Mike Sanderson turns Sanya round and heads back up the track towards New Zealand after shearing their starboard rudder earlier today. The team is expected to take between four and five days to reach New Zealand and they continue to assess their options... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Team Sanya returns to NZ for repairs
Sail-World and Volvo Ocean Race,
Team Sanya are heading towards New Zealand after suffering damage to their starboard rudder earlier today. The team expect to take between four and five days to reach New Zealand and they continue to assess their options in terms of how to get back in the race as quickly as possible.... [more]
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Finn Junior and Senior European Championship - Race 5 + Video
Robert Deaves,
Another mixed up day at the 2012 Finn Europeans in Scarlino, Italy brought wins for Slovenia and Croatia, but Italy ended the day in pole position. A second race win for Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) and a first win for Ivan Klajkovic Gaspic (CRO) significantly improved their championship chances, but it is Filippo Baldassari (ITA) who holds a narrow overnight lead into Friday's final opening series races.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race Leg 5 - Mentally prepared onboard Puma's Mar Mostro
Amory Ross,
Volvo Ocean Race, Day 4 of Leg 5. Amory Ross, MCM for Puma Ocean Racing powered by Berg, reports on the crew's progress: It feels a bit like the last supper; the table has been set and we're waiting for the wind to arrive. Everyone's going about life today with a general casualness, trying to enjoy each waning moment of calm before the weather changes for the worse.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Busted rudder costs Team Sanya in Southern Ocean
Sail-World and Volvo Ocean Race,
Team Sanya are working to repair damage to their Volvo Open 70 racing yacht after a broken windward rudder caused the aft compartment of the boat to take on water. Sanya, who were leading Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí in Brazil at the time, reported the damage to Race Control in Alicante at 0800 UTC.... [more]
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Newport Bermuda - The thrash to the Onion Patch
John Rousmaniere,
There's a good reason why the Bermuda Race's nickname is 'The Thrash to the Onion Patch.' Many good reasons, in fact. On the 40th anniversary of the toughest Bermuda Race in history, in 1972, when the tail of a hurricane lashed the big fleet, let's remember that rough weather and the Newport Bermuda Race are hardly strangers.... [more]
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San Francisco's Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show all set
Shelbi Okumura,
The 2012 Strictly Sail Pacific Boat Show will sail into Jack London Square in Oakland San Francisco on April 12th and run through the 15th. There will be hundreds of new sailboats, the latest sailing gear, free sailboat rides, 2013 America's Cup preview and more.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Telefonica to appear before Int Jury in Brazil
Sail-World,
Volvo Ocean Race reports that the International Jury will schedule a hearing during the next stopover in Itajaí after receiving a report from the head of the Measurement Group over the sails carried by Team Telefónica during Leg 4 from Sanya to Auckland.... [more]
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Finn Junior and Senior European Championship - Race 3
Robert Deaves,
Three days into the 2012 Finn European Championship with just three races completed is not what it said in the brochure. Another light day with a fitful wind produced just one race on Wednesday in Scarlino, Italy. But it was a home win for 2008 Olympian Giorgio Poggi (ITA) from Alexey Selivanov (RUS) and Gasper Vincec (SLO).... [more]
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Clipper Round the World Race fleet crosses International Date Line
Heather Ewing,
Clipper 2011-12 Round the World Yacht Race fleet crossed the International Date Line into the western hemisphere. In a 40,000-mile circumnavigation in which the crews are people like you – from all walks of life and representing more than 40 nationalities – such milestones are to be celebrated, as much from a reflective viewpoint as a spur to overcome the challenges ahead.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race; Auckland Stopover all but a Hazy and Fond Memory
Crosbie Lorimer,
As the Volvo Ocean Race fleet finally reach their natural environment in the Southern Ocean, the hammering that the crews have taken in the three days since the Leg 5 start last Sunday must have rendered their recollections of that short but popular stopover in Auckland a distant and hazy memory.... [more]
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PredictWind launch new wind forecast App for iPhone and Android
Zoe Hawkins,
PredictWind have launched a new wind forecast application for iPhone and Android that offers accurate and detailed wind forecasts, enabling convenient planning for anyone on the water in any location around the world. The marine wind forecast tool is the most advanced available on an App and allows users to set up and receive forecasts for specific locations and check the latest wind observations... [more]
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London 2012 Olympic Games - 60,000 a day predicted for Sailing
Kirsty Hillier,
London 2012 - It is anticipated that Weymouth and Portland will be a major attraction during the Games, with in excess of 500,000 people expected to visit during the Sailing events. Part of the nationwide ‘Get Ahead of the Games' campaign, the new adverts will highlight the fact that roads in Dorset, particularly routes into Weymouth and Portland, will be much busier while the Games are on.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Images from Auckland - To the Horn we go!
Richard Gladwell,
Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race got underway from Auckland on Sunday afternoon. Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water and followed the fleet from the start to when the fleet exited the Waitemata and headed for Cape Horn. Team Sanya led around both legs inside the Waitemata before rounding the top mark for the final time and headed off to a final rounding mark off Auckland's East Coast Bays... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Images from Auckland - The run down the Waitemata
Richard Gladwell,
Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race got underway from Auckland on Sunday afternoon. Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water and followed the six strong fleet from the start to when the fleet exited the Waitemata and headed from Cape Horn. Team Sanya rounded the top mark first and headed back down the Harbour pushed by a strong easterly breeze and favourable tide.... [more]
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Volvo Ocean Race: Images from Auckland - The First Beat
Richard Gladwell,
Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race got underway from Auckland on Sunday afternoon. Sail-World's Richard Gladwell was on the water and followed the six strong fleet from the start to when the fleet exited the Waitemata and headed from Cape Horn. Here is how he saw the day, after the Start there was the Beat down the Waitemata, past the Wharves on the south side, and past the Naval Base and Devonport... [more]
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2016 Equipment Evaluations - RS900s 3 days in and looking good
Martin Wadhams,
Three days into the trials and we are very happy with the feedback on the RS900 so far. Teams from nine nations have now sailed the boat, and another four teams should sail today.... [more]
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