VOR: Boats loaded at a safe haven—Sailing news from the U.S. and beyon
For millennia, piracy has been an issue for sailors. But until recently, most sailors thought of pirates as a nostalgic hangover from yesteryear. No longer! Piracy off the coast of Somalia has turned into a multi-million dollar a year business, with prisoners taken and exorbitant ransoms extorted.
To quell safety concerns, the Volvo Ocean Race's (VOR) second leg, which takes the fleet of Volvo Open 70s from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, has proved to be the most unconventional in the race's history. As a precaution against fishermen-cum-gunsligers, the powers that be at the VOR wisely decided to avoid this issue entirely.
So, instead of sending the fleet directly from Point A to Point B, the race organizers established an undisclosed 'safe haven' where the fleet has now crossed a theoretical finishing line before being loaded onto an undisclosed ship and then transported to a re-start area not far from Abu Dhabi, thus allowing the now five-strong fleet to blaze into the VOR's first-ever Middle Eastern stopover.
Yet this wasn't without risk. The orthotropic VO70s had to be carefully loaded onto the ship, with any unforeseen sea state oscillations potentially causing big worries, should delicate carbon swing into unforgiving steel. Fortunately, things have gone smoothly and the fleet has now been loaded up, in the order in which they crossed the finishing line, with Telefonica taking the cradle of honor, followed by Emirates Team New Zealand's (ENTZ) Camper and Puma Ocean Racing's Mar Mostro. 'Things are going exactly to plan so far,' said the ship's captain, whose identity has been withheld for security reasons.
This leg-within-a-leg race proved triumphant for Telefonica, who is quickly proving to be the boat to beat. Impressively, ENTZ crossed the finishing line just one minute and 57 seconds astern of their Spanish rivals. Puma had to settle for third. 'We went into this leg with confidence,' said Mar Mostro's skipper Ken Read. 'It's a bit of a shame because we had a couple of points in this leg where we did really the right thing and put ourselves in the right position.'
The ship is expected to reach the United Arab Emirates in early January. Then, the boats will be unloaded, the race restarted, and the sailors can scorch into Abu Dhabi under sail—not power. Get the full VOR scoop inside.
Also offshore, the Sydney-Hobart Race is in full swing. The first few days saw rough, upwind weather and a serious melee between the super maxis Wild Oats and Investec Loyal. The two wind machines have been trading leads and are rushing towards the finishing line in Hobart. Be sure to comb through this issue for the latest news from this classic ocean bash.
Ross and Campbell Field - Global Ocean Race 2011-12 Global Ocean Race
And in the Global Ocean Race (GBR), Conrad Colman and Sam Goodchild, aboard their Class 40, Cessna Citation are leading the charge, followed by the father-and-son team of Campbell and Ross Field aboard BSL. At the time of this writing, Cessna Citation had roughly 400 nautical miles to go before enjoying their first proper pint in Wellington, New Zealand, although there's no question that the Field's will be keeping the pressure on full-blast between now and the finishing line. 'We had thick fog the whole day with visibility to a couple hundred metres at the best of times,' reports Sam Goodchild. 'However, the bright side was our three-day wait for wind finally came to an end as we started covering some decent miles again and by the evening we were slamming upwind in 20-25 knots.' More, inside.
Also in this issue, be sure to check out the latest from the Clipper Around the World Race, the Optimist Worlds, as well as the Mission Bay Yacht Club's 'Hot Rum' series. Enjoy!
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