Welcome to Sail-World.com's Volvo Ocean Race Newsletter for 24 November 2011
The Volvo Ocean Race has been turned on its ear since the crews round the major turning mark of Fernando de Noronha, 190nm off the Brazilian coast, and headed for the finish in Cape Town, South Africa, where they should finish in about three days time.
Until early this week the race had been one of proving a few of old maxims.
The dice were rolled for this first leg a couple of days after the start in Alicante, when the boats had exited the Straits of Gibraltar. The question of whether or not to go west and when had to be made at the juncture, and the two current leaders, Telefonica and Puma Ocean Racing took the west and put their stamp on the race. The maxim of 'West is Best' certainly paid on this leg, as it did for Green Dragon in the previous race on this same leg.
The foredeck on Telefonica is reflected in the Kaenon sunglasses of Xabi Fernandez, onboard Team Telefonica during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. Diego Fructuoso/ Team Telefónica
Camper hesitated, and as we know, 'He who hesitates is Lost'. The Spanish sponsored, New Zealand crewed entry lost heavily, but pulled back somewhat to round about 90nm behind.
Groupama decided to hug the African coast - a move which gained them plenty of publicity in the first week, however a massive lead evaporated in just over a day, and their gamble didn't pay off. They lost close to 500nm in the process trailing by over 300nm at Fernando de Noronha.
Since then the fleet have negotiated the Doldrums which proved to be less of a hurdle than in previous editions of the race, with Camper reporting they got through windless/squall ridden zone in just eight hours.
The boats have also been visited by King Neptune and the lovely Princess Codfish for the Equator Crossing ceremonies. Of which we have several picture and some great video in this edition of Sail-World.com's Volvo Ocean race newsletter.
Now it is all eyes on South Africa, and after the second dismasting the race has shifted from the race crews to the shore teams, as they race to get their charges ready for the start of Leg 2 on 11 December.
Until Puma dropped her rig, the interest centred on whether Puma and maybe Camper could have reeled in Telefonica, which has made all the running since about the fourth day of the first leg.
For a time it seemed as though Camper might be able to work an edge as the two front runners deviated from the track recommended by the weather routers. But they both closed the door on the Spanish Kiwi entry, and the chapter closed on the leg with Puma's dismasting.
From there another maxium came into play 'to finish first, first you must finish'. The three remaining yachts realised that it was better to make the finish line in one piece and take the leg points than push too hard, cause some damage, lose points. and drop their shore teams into a fortnight of no sleep.
We have a full run down and video on the Puma situation, in this newsletter, plus images from the refueling rendezvous which took place with a large container ship ZIM Monaco - swapping diesel for Puma shirts in mid-Atlantic!
This newsletter is later than intended as we had to enhance our mail system to cope with the subscriber load. All going to plan we will be sending another newsletter after the finish in Cape Town predicted for the 27th November, and when the situation is clear with the three rebuilds.
For the latest updates stay tuned to www.sail-world.com - and click on the Volvo Ocean Race button in the top header bar, to see all stories for all regions from this exciting race - all updated as the race unfolds.
Richard Gladwell Editor@Large
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