VOR Rerouted—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
Pirates captured by French commandos with Jean de Vienne navy ship .. .
In a precautionary move, the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) has announced that it is re-routing Leg 2 and Leg 3 of the 2011-2012 event due to escalating fears of piracy off the coast of Somalia. 'This has been an incredibly difficult decision,' said Knut Frostad, the VOR's Chief Executive. 'We have consulted leading naval and commercial intelligence experts and their advice could not have been clearer: ‘Do not risk it.'
According to an official release, the VOR consulted with Dryad Maritime Intelligence and the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). Rather than risk problems—or worse—with pirates, the fleet will instead race from Cape Town, South Africa, to an 'undisclosed location'. From there, boats will be transported 'closer to Abu Dhabi', where they will sprint into the emirate. Current plans call for a reversal of this process for Leg 3, which concludes in Sanya, China.
Thus far there has been no reaction from any of the teams, but it's safe to say that a few wives/girlfriends/mothers of VOR sailors will be sleeping better tonight (and maybe even a sailor or two), given that pirates kidnapped 1,181 mariners in 2010 alone. 'The measures taken by the Volvo Ocean Race are very much in line with the advice that the International Sailing Federation has been giving for some time,' said Jerome Pels, ISAF's Secretary General. 'The ISAF strongly urges all yacht skippers intent on sailing anywhere in the area to seek an alternative, which the Volvo Ocean Race is now providing.'
While this was a prudent move for the VOR, it is a sad day when an around-the-world sailboat race has to be re-routed due to lawlessness and piracy, and the international community's failure to effectively 'manage' the problem.
223762 206073699445720 130926090293815 515408 4942724 n - Rambler 100 capsize Fastnet Rock August 2011 Nigel Millard/RNLI Baltimore
In Fastnet news, Rambler 100 has been righted and pumped (mostly) free of water, following the loss of her keel bulb in this year's Fastnet. The boat was towed to Barley Cove Bay, Ireland, a few days ago but she was only righted—sans stick and sails—yesterday. Divers have found her rig and marked its location on the seafloor; they have also been assessing the integrity of the hull before she is hauled. Be sure to check out the photos and the videos, as well as interviews with Rambler 100's owner George David and offshore legend Erle Williams, inside.
Also Fastnet related, Niklas Zennström's Rán has pulled off the first pair of consecutive wins for the coveted corrected-time winner in more than 50 years. 'You may say ‘we're going to race to win', and that is really what we were going for, but also these races have so many different variables that you cannot really take into account,' said Zennström. 'The achievement of winning two back-to-backs is pretty amazing and more than we could have hoped for. After the first win—and when we started to think about this year's planning—this was the thing we had to go for.'
And Cup circles, China Team and skipper Mitch Booth have 'decided to part ways' according to a team press release. This move comes after a disappointing showing at the first America's Cup World Series event, which just wrapped up in Cascais, Portugal. Team China is expected to announce their new skipper shortly. Stay tuned.
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