North Atlantic drubbings—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
Competition is fierce amongst the fully crewed, around-the-world Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) fleet, which is now quickly closing on Lisbon, Portugal and the end of Leg Seven, which is their last serious offshore leg of this edition of the race. At the time of this writing, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing was leading Puma Ocean Racing and Groupama 4 by less than fifty miles, with the leg straggler—Team Sanya—a mere 65 miles out of contention. Given that teams have been rolling 500-mile days on this leg, the final miles to Lisbon will be quickly reduced, thus adding a highly combustible accelerant to an already-blazing competitive fire.
|Ryan Godfrey braces for impact no the main pedestal. Onboard PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Miami, USA to Lisbon, Portugal. (Credit: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race) Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race© |
'Now, how much fun is this leg?,' asked Puma Ocean Racing's skipper, Ken Read, from aboard the team's Volvo Open 70, Mar Mostro. 'Not a lot. Groupama had a big lead only to get ground down. Telefónica had a big lead only to get smoked by a weak front that approached from the rear and they were last out of the old breeze. Now Abu Dhabi is in the unenviable position of being way ahead with a front that has come from the back at almost exactly the same speed as [a] Volvo 70—22 knots or so. And they are the unfortunate benefactors of this breeze last. Which means that their lead is hemorrhaging at this stage.' Get the full VOR report, inside this issue.
|Day 9 - Pure speed on board Groupama 4 - Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Leg 7 Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team © /Volvo Ocean Race|
Also offshore, the Global Ocean Race fleet is preparing to tussle with a serious low-pressure system that's forecasted to generate 50-knot winds and large seas. 'We're being stalked by a deepening depression in the North Atlantic that will hit us tomorrow with anything up to 50 knots,' reported Cessna Citation's co-skipper, Conrad Coleman. 'Despite sailing through some really strong conditions in the Southern Ocean legs, this is the first time I've seen the single, triangular wind barb [Force 10 ‘Whole Gale' 55-63mph] for 50 knots on a forecasted storm that is about to hit. It doesn't look that scary from an armchair, but out here it really gets your attention!' Stay tuned for more info on how the four-strong fleet of Class 40s competing in the GOR fairs the blow, and take the time to savor your armchair as these boats will be anything but comfortable for the foreseeable future.
Today Richard Gladwell has exclusive views from the Emirates Team NZ AC72 project.
And in One Design news, the amazing sailors who make up the newly re-branded US Sailing Team Sperry Top Sider are putting in their final hard miles as the calendar rapidly counts down to this summer's Olympic medal races. 'With 60 days until the Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, every day of training and competition counts for US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider athletes,' said Dean Brenner, Chairman of the Olympic Sailing Committee and the US Olympic Sailing Team Leader, earlier this week in a press release. 'Over the past four years, our athletes and coaches have broken down their individual training plans to examine every detail required to perform at a high level. Now is when those plans come together and start to pay off.'
|Finn World Masters 2012 Day 2 start Robert Deaves /IFA|
And finally, be sure to get the latest news from the Finn World Masters, the World Match Racing Tour's Match Race Germany, the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race, and the wrap-up report from the 67th edition of the annual Block Island Race, inside this issue.
May the four winds blow you safely home,
David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor
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