VOR: Limping forth—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyond
This weekend's sailing headlines were dominated by the ongoing Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), with the lead boats—Puma Ocean Racing's Mar Mostro and Telefonica—enjoying a down-to-the-wire finish that saw Mar Mostro picking up their first leg win of the 2011/2012 VOR.
|PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, skippered by Ken Read from the USA and Team Telefonica, skippered by Iker Martinez from Spain, battle it out in the final miles of leg 5 from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil, during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. (Credit: PAUL TODD/Volvo Ocean Race) Paul Todd/Volvo Ocean Race© |
'Unbelievable!' reported Puma's skipper Ken Read. 'Nobody quit and the atmosphere on the boat today was really cool – laid back and everybody was ready to tackle the task at hand. I'm very proud of this team. It's a great feeling.' Given that Read and company ran out of food some 36 hours prior to crossing the finishing line, you can bet anything that the Mar Mostro boys are putting a hurt on Brazil's fabled beef supply.
But the true feel-good story of the leg belonged to overall race leader, Telefonica, who managed a finish that was only some 12 minutes slower than Mar Mostro's, despite having to stop for 12 hours to make repairs en route. While Telefonica was carried by the strong breezes of a private low-pressure system that eluded Mar Mostro, the Spanish juggernaut proved a touch too little, too late. Still, it is a proud piece of seamanship, sailing and navigation that allowed the Spanish-flagged team to post such an impressive finishing time, given their pit stop.
Meanwhile, Emirates Team New Zealand's Camper has rejoined the hunt, with some 2,000-plus miles remaining to the finishing line. Their six-day stop in Chile gave the team the time they needed to make important repairs to the bow section, which delaminated en route from New Zealand, but will likely not prove to be a quick enough turn-around time to beat Groupama 4—now dawdling along under jury rig— from claiming third place-honors and more crucial leaderboard points. While Groupama 4 is sailing with a tiny rig, the skeletal crew (shortened, no doubt, to save weight in both men and food) was still sailing at over 12 knots at the time of this writing, and, with less than 300 miles to go, will likely claim the final remaining podium spot. Stay tuned as the battle between Camper's hare and Groupama 4's tortoise continues.
Team Sanya and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing have both opted to ship their boats to Miami and Itajaí, Brazil (repectively) where they will be repaired and from where these teams can rejoin the fight. Get the full VOR scoop, inside.
Also offshore, the four Class 40 boats that are competing in the Global Ocean Race (GOR) are battling upwind conditions in Leg Four as they race from Punta del Este, Uruguay to Charleston, South Carolina. 'In the space of half a day we went from sailing downwind to beating upwind again, progress has been very slow since, especially as we are pushing against the unfavorable Brazil Current, which runs from north to south decreasing our speed by nearly a knot,' said Marco Nannini aboard Financial Crisis. 'Our eyes are firmly set on the easterly trade winds a few days sailing ahead of us. Once we manage to feel the gentle flow of their predictable air, we should start making fast progress towards the Equator and the Doldrums; another challenging part of the race.'
|43 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia - Kol © Jesus Renedo / Sofia Mapfre|
And in One Design news, the Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia Mapfre just wrapped up in Palma, Majorca, with plenty of light-air racing testing sailing in many different Olympic class boats. US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics faired well, as always, with the truly impressive Team Maclaren (Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer, and Debbie Capozzi) taking top honors in the Women's Match Racing event. Also, in the Finn class, the 2008 Olympic Medal Race repeated itself, with Ben Ainslie (GBR) taking top prize, and USSTAG Finn class representative, Zach Railey, taking second place. The U.S.'s Charlie Buckingham earned a fourth-place finish in the Laser class, beating out USSTAG's 2012 Laser rep, Robert Crane, who finished in 36th place. The USSTAG Paralympics team also sailed well, with Mark Le Blanc taking a fourth place in the 2.4mR class. Get the full Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia Mapfre wrap-up reports, inside.
|Spinnaker Class racing - Les Voiles de Saint-Barth 2012 © Christophe Jouany / Les Voiles de St. Barth|
Also finally, be sure to check out David Edwards' great piece on winning the 2012 Etchells Worlds, and the wrap-up reports from the Les Voiles de St. Barth, the Rolex China Sea Race 2012, and the XXX Garda Optimist Meeting, which made it into the Guinness Book of World Records for the world's largest single-class regatta.
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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