Sail-World New Zealand: 1 April 2012 - Volvo drama ...Coutts' America's Cup reflections...Round New Zealand Race

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 02 Apr 2012

Sail-World New Zealand: 1 April 2012

Former New Zealand Sailor of the Year, Brad Jackson, gets ready for two hours at the wheel, onboard Puma Ocean Racing during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil.   Amory Ross/Puma Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race©
Welcome to's New Zealand newsletter for 1 April 2012

The Volvo Ocean Race has more than a few sailing aficionados scratching their heads over the fact that 66% of the fleet have suspended racing, or have signalled their intention to do so, at some point on Leg 5.

At one stage today, there were only two boats actively racing of the six that started in Auckland.

Quite why this should be so, is not 100% clear, but clearly the fact that the crews can take more than the boats is becoming very apparent.

On only one of the five legs have all boats finished (discounting the Leg 2A/B and 3A/B which become a matter of semantics). The reality is that the Volvo Ocean Race is more the Volvo Ocean Rally, with its mix of full legs and special stages - more the diet of car rallying.

Justin Slattery is lowered over the side of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to fix delamination damage, sustained during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.  Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing /Volvo Ocean Race

Once you think of the event in those terms, the points and tactical situation, becomes a lot easier to comprehend.

That is not to take away anything from the sailors, or the boats - but this race/rally is a long way from the four stop classic, of the 70's and '80's, with the winner being decided on the basis of fastest elapsed time around the world. It should not be looked at in that light.

Team Telefonica in Martial Creek, Cabo de Hornos National Park, ready to rejoin leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.  Diego Fructuoso /Team Telefónica/Volvo Ocean Race

Clearly Camper skipper Chris Nicholson has had a bit of time on his hands, and has worked out the points possibilities in this rally. He explains his thinking in a video in this edition.

The points permutations on this Leg are not infinite. The best situation for Camper would be for Puma to win (at which she is making a very good attempt), with Groupama second and Telefonica third.

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's repaired hull, which was fixed by the racing crew, at sea in the Southern Ocean during leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajai, Brazil.   Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing /Volvo Ocean Race

Camper should finish fourth albeit a week, maybe ten days, later than Telefonica - but only loses five points on the Spanish entry - the same five points as Camper picked up on Telefonica in the Auckland InPort Race. Those five points were for one and a half laps of the inner Auckland Harbour. The special stage was shorter distance than is sailed for a Wednesday night club race.

DHL prepare to transport replacement parts for the repairs which will be carried out on Camper in Chile.   Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ ©

Add into the mix the fact that Telefonica has to square away a report from the Measurer lodged with the International Jury, and could suffer a points penalty, if she does not - then the permutations get quite interesting.

Boat builder Ben Tapper packs replacement parts for the repairs which will be carried out on Camper in Chile.   Emirates Team New Zealand / Photo Chris Cameron ETNZ ©

Many thanks to those who have contributed to this edition, particularly those using our online submission and image loading facility which can be accessed by clicking here

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

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