500 : Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for July 8, 2012
The 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race came to a conclusion, on Sunday morning (NZT) with the completion of the tenth InPort Race in Galway, Ireland.
As most will be aware it was mathematically possible for the second and third overall placings to be reversed, depending on the InPort race. But more appropriately the winner of the overall InPort Trophy did hang on the final race – and Puma was a convincing winner of the race and the overall InPort Trophy.
New Zealand sailors and crews did very well in the formal Prizegiving held on Saturday night, local time.
Well known match racer, David Swete (Team Sanya) won the Rookie Prize, Hamish Hooper (Camper/Emirates Team NZ) won the Media Trophy and Brad Marsh won the Seamanship Trophy.
We have two image galleries from the formal Prizegiving, and another two from the public Prizegiving held after the conclusion of the InPort Race. Around 30,000 spectators filled Galway for that event – a big turnout considering the town only has a population of 70,000.
The Volvo Ocean Race itself will be remembered as a very close run event – the most keenly contested in its Volvo history. It will also be remembered as the war of attrition. Every boat in the race suspended racing at some stage. Three boats broke their masts, including the overall winner, Groupama. A fourth, Team Sanya was forced to suspend racing with rigging issues.
Sadly this race was determined not so much by speed on the water, but by the downtime lost through breakages.
In assessing performance in the race, it must be remembered that it was not so much what was broken that determined the outcome, but where it broke. Groupama were fortunate that they broke their mast within motoring distance of the South American coast, and were able to suspend racing, effect repairs and resume racing, with relative ease, and without the time penalty that others sustained because of the remoteness of the location of their misfortune.
Groupama's navigation faux pas on Leg 1, when they cruised down the Moroccan coast, resulted in them finishing three days behind leg winner Telefonica. We now know that was a massive margin to be astern at that point and would certainly resulted in a last place for the leg. The fact is that due to breakages aboard others, she finished third.
Similarly with her hull delamination – a day or so out of Auckland – while she slowed for a while – she was fortunate to be able to continue racing for the final day, hold her place, and get the repair done after finishing.
Winning boats often get the luck, and Groupama was a lucky boat in this event. Her crew were also very good, in the way they could overcome adversity, and it is fitting that one of her crew, Brad Marsh, won the Seamanship Award.
From here it will be interesting as to how the Volvo develops. Amongst the skippers there seems to be universal support for the one decision Volvo 65, but quite how many will make it to the line in 2014 remains to be seen, as does the whole viability of the one design concept – primarily in the negating the advantage that some teams will have with access to their boats a year before the last teams accept delivery of their boats.
MOD70's racing in New York City, July 2012 George Bekris
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
Foncia tunes up their skills on the Hudson River in New York City on July 5, 2012 in preperation for the long journey across the Atlantic back to France in the Krys Ocean Race. Linda Wright
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