SERIOUS CONDITIONS AHEAD AS AGULHAS CURRENT COMES INTO PLAY
As night fell on the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, the notorious Agulhas current came into play. Thirty-knot winds whipped six-metre waves into a hurling mass, caused by the wind blowing against the direction of the current. And it’s much more difficult when it’s dark.
And the crews didn’t have much time to acclimatise to the sea state during daylight hours. Ken Read is very aware of what can happen. It was on this leg in the 2008-09 race, which took the fleet from Cape Town to Cochin in India that PUMA’s Il Mostro launched off a wave and landed with a sickening thud, damaging the main longitudinal frame. Ian Walker also ran into trouble on this leg previously when his boat, Green Dragon broke her steering gear and crashed into a horrendous Chinese gybe and, later, when a 50-knot gust ripped through the fleet, her boom snapped. Currently, the fleet is still in sight of one another, as they tack down the coast of South Africa, something very unusual and unexpected in this race.
Coastal navigation requires constant input from the navigators, who have had very little sleep so far, just catnapping between taking bearings and assessing their boat’s performance against those closest to them. However, according to Will Oxley, navigator of CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS), who was in the lead early yesterday, it is much less stressful when you know where the opposition is, and a lot more fun as the crew of Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA) has discovered after their lonely race during leg one. At 1600 UTC yesterday afternoon, Groupama 4 became the new leader from Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson/NZL) and PUMA’s Mar Mostro and held onto her lead at 1900 UTC to
DRAMATIC VOLVO OCEAN RACE START ATTRACTS
RECORD-BREAKING NEW AUDIENCE
Volvo Ocean Race’s drama-packed opening has captured the attention of a recordbreaking audience around the world. Around 283,000 different people from more than 200 countries hooked up with the www.volvooceanrace.com official website during the Alicante stopover (Oct. 14-Nov 4) with more than 1.6 million visits to the site in the second week of November alone.
The Race has also seen massive growth on iPhone and iPad apps as fans on the move keep track with the latest news. The official app was only launched in late October but has already trebled (55,802) the number of downloads achieved in the last race. Our Tracker and Game are also roaring ahead with the former receiving on average 95,000 visits a day and the latter attracting 83,000 players in less than a month. Communications Director Jon Bramley was delighted with the results.
“Our mission is to bring the unique excitement and drama from the Volvo Ocean Race to a much larger audience around the world,” he said. “Sailing can be a hugely technical sport but we want to de-mystify it to portray across all media the skills and guts these guys show day in day out when their lives are often at risk.”
ABOUT THE VOLVO OCEAN RACE
- The Volvo Ocean Race is the longest professional sporting event in the world
- It’s a nine-month marathon passing through four oceans and five continents
- The VOR covers the greatest distance of any professional sailing event—39 270 nautical miles
- The Volvo Open 70 is fastest monohull in the world
- There are 11 crewmembers on each boat that push themselves to the limit for periods of up to 25 days at sea
- The teams will face extreme temperatures ranging from –15 degrees in the Southern Ocean to 45 degrees at the equator
- Three of the onboard sailing team members must be aged 30 or under. This allows young sailors to gain VOR experience and helps secure the legacy of the race
- The 2011-12 race is the 11th edition of the event
- In addition to offshore legs, in-port racing gives the public front-row seats during this spectacular show of speed, technology and skill as the Volvo Open 70’s race around the host harbours
- Ericsson 4 (Leg 1, 2008-9) hold the world monohull 24-hour speed record— 596.6 nautical miles over 24 hours. This is an average speed of 24.9 knots
- Sailors in the 2011-12 VOR have 8 Olympic medals between them—4 gold and 4 silver
- The VOR has sailors from fifteen nations, including South Africa
- 221, 000 played the official Volvo Ocean Race game during the last race. The prediction for this race is over 1 million players
- Close to 4 million people came to visit the Volvo Ocean Race villages around the world during the last race.
CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA GIVES THE VOLVO OCEAN RACE TEAMS A SPECTACULAR SEND-OFF
On Sunday 11 December the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town was alive with spectators, sailors and yachts as the six teams competing in the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race set off on Leg 2, headed for Abu Dhabi.
The Volvo Ocean Race Village kept the crowds entertained with everything from the Volvo Concept Universe and Volvo C30 Electric to a 3D Cinema on display. And while the public enjoyed all the entertainment, the crews of the six competing yachts were frantically conducting repairs and making last minute adjustments before their departure on the 11th. Spectators had the opportunity to see the gorgeous Volvo Open 70 yachts in action during both the Pro-Am and In-Port races last week.
The course for both races required a lot of tricky manoeuvring and the crews got a chance to show off their skill and their yacht’s agility.
CLEANING UP OUR OCEANS – SKELETON SEA
Together with artist collective Skeleton Sea, the Volvo Ocean Race is voicing a call to arms for everyone to help reduce pollution and share in a simple message through the Keep the Oceans Clean! initiative. Volvo Ocean Race Chief Executive Knut Frostad said Keep the Oceans Clean! creates an opportunity to make a global difference.
“This is the project we have been searching for; it has meaning to the race, the sailors and supporters, who all have the chance to make a real difference,’’ he said. “The rubbish in the ocean is a concern for everyone.
For Volvo Ocean Race sailors the rubbish not only pollutes their sporting arena but it can be problematic when they’re racing because it can catch on the keel, rudder and dagger boards and slow down the boat. Together with Skeleton Sea we will raise awareness of this problem, engage adults and children and inspire them to be part of the solution.’’
The Keep the Oceans Clean! team will lead beach cleans at all 10 Host Ports visited by the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12: From the remote and rugged coastal beaches of South Africa’s Cape Town to the pebbled shores and cool waters of Galway, Ireland. Marine rubbish picked up by the crew of PUMA’s Mar Mostro during Leg 1 has been added to the Skeleton Sea sculpture created from Cape Town beach trash.
IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race IAN ROMAN/Volvo Ocean Race The artists from Skeleton Sea have been working with local youngsters to create a piece of art made from junk collected from a beach clean at Mouille Point, part of the Volvo Ocean Race’s campaign to Keep the Oceans Clean! And now a piece of rope and netting snared by PUMA’s keel in the South Atlantic has been added to the sculpture, which will go on display in Cape Town’s Aquarium.
The sculpture is an underwater scene featuring turtles, penguins, crabs and lobsters all made from rubbish. The sculpture will be on show at the Two Oceans Aquarium in their section dedicated to plastics found in the oceans.