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Six At The Start
A crowd of 60,000 watched as Spain's Crown Prince Felipe fired the gun to set the six boats on their way at 1300 GMT (1400 CET). French soccer legend Zinedine Zidane joined Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing on the inshore course, making it a gala start to the first ocean leg, which will take the fleet over 6,500 nautical miles to Cape Town, South Africa.
Chris Nicholson's CAMPER were the slickest of the six away, as winds gusting up to 30 knots greeted the fleet. CAMPER increased their lead over PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG to 1 minute 39 seconds at the Alicante leaving mark at the end of the eight-nm course, with Team Telefonica another 36 seconds behind.
Abu Dhabi came next, followed by Groupama sailing team, who took a voluntary two-turn penalty after a collision with PUMA's Mar Mostro just before the start, and Team Sanya.
With the boats departing to their team songs blasting out across the Race Village, the spotlight turned to the racecourse where hundreds of spectator boats had gathered to get up-close and personal with the six Volvo Open 70s.
Leg 1 sees the teams take on the unpredictable Mediterranean, the tidal bottleneck of the Straits of Gibraltar and the strong northeasterly trade winds of the North Atlantic before facing the Doldrums, a constantly-moving area of high pressure found a few hundred miles either side of the equator, notorious for being one of the toughest regions on the planet to sail through.
Once through the Doldrums the teams will search out the southeasterly trade winds close to the Brazilian shore, hoping to pick up the meteorological slingshot effect that will fire them through the South Atlantic to Cape Town.
The teams will have to face a baptism of fire in the first 24 hours of the race, with head-on winds of more than 25 knots forecast and choppy seas - potentially boat-breaking conditions.
... And Then There Were Five
A spare mast is being rushed to the Spanish port of Alicante where Azzam and the rest of the six-strong fleet had begun the first offshore leg of the 39,000-nautical mile race in front of cheering crowds of 60,000.
British skipper Ian Walker said the crew was unhurt and the team were now motoring back to Alicante. The boat remains in the race, the toughest offshore event in sailing which will not finish until July 2012 in Galway, Ireland. Azzam won the first in-port race of the event in Alicante last Saturday and leads the standings with six points. The winner of the first leg will reap 30 points.
At 1915 UTC/GMT, Abu Dhabi told race management Azzam had suspended racing after the mast was broken. The boat was 30 nautical miles south of Cartagena on the Spanish coast.
Team media crew member Nick Dana told how crew member Wade Morgan had made a courageous attempt in waves of up to 3.5 metres to rescue the rig.
"The boat's mainsail and J4 were retrieved successfully along with various other parts that we will hope to re-use.
"We put a man in the water (Morgan) to cut away the top of the mainsail at the headboard car. Wade was able to make several attempts at cutting. However, a very violent sea state made it extremely dangerous for him to remain in the water.
"The crew retrieved him promptly and were able to get the mainsail off the lock - allowing it to slide down the rig and be pulled from the water.
"The mast from the first spreader up is now secured to the port side of the boat. About three or four metres protrude from behind the boat. A spider web of lines is keeping the operation intact. The crew are deeply disappointed."
... And Then There Were Four
Mike Sanderson, Skipper has confirmed to Volvo Ocean Race Control that "The situation is very much under control, everyone is obviously disappointed but in good spirits as all are safe on-board," he said.
The boat was approximately 30 nautical miles SE of Motril, on the coast of Spain. The wind was blowing 43 plus knots and the waves were around 10.5 metres.
The watertight doors had already been closed as a precaution due to the prevailing conditions and the boat is making its way to Puerto de Motril. After entering flat water, Team Sanya has suspended racing.
Volvo Ocean Race control is in constant contact with the team while establishing the full extent of the damage so that the crew are given full support to enable them to deal with the situation. Team Sanya's shore team are working on a recovery plan to ensure the yacht can rejoin the Volvo Ocean Race as soon as practically possible.
A Dismast and Keel Loss in the Transat Jacques Vabre
At the time the boat was making around 12 to 14kts in a southerly wind of 25 to 30kts and unruly seas.
Initiatives - Alex Olivier was sailing with one reef in the main and the Solent headsail when the crew heard a popping sound and found that the boat suddenly became unmanageable. De Lamotte and Peron immediately dropped the mainand the Solent and set a storm jib.
The two sailors are on their way steadily now about 7 knots to the northeast, pushed by the prevailing southerly wind in the area. Both have on life jackets and have their all their safety and survival equipment immediately at hand. Skipper Tanguy de Lamotte was keen to stress that the crew of Initiatives - Alex Olivier are not in distress and have not requested assistance.
"We have life jackets on, the safety gear is to hand but we are not in a state of distress. We are both very careful and will not take any risks."
* Around 0330hrs (UTC/GMT) this Friday morning skipper Arnaud Boissieres confirmed that the mast of their IMOCA Open 60 Akena Verandas had broken some 270 miles WNW of the Breton peninsula. The duo had been lying in ninth place in the Transat Jacques Vabre double handed Transatlantic race which set off from Le Havre, France on Wednesday.
Arnaud Boissieres reported that both he and Akena Verandas' co-skipper Gerald Veniard were uninjured. The mast is said to have broken in several places and the duo have managed to retain only a deck spreader, the boom and a short piece of tube. They are making progress towards the French coast around 2.5 kts. "We are not hurt other than our pride. There was a very large crack.It was as if we had hit a cliff at ten knots The mast is broken in several places." Reported Boissieres to his team early this morning.
* While the co-skippers of the IMOCA Open 60 fleet in the Transat Jacques Vabre race from Le Havre to Costa Rica were today taking the chance to build up their reserves of energy and rest in anticipation of a very active low pressure system which was set to test the fleet through Sunday night and Monday, with winds widely expected to top 50knots, in turn Class 40 competitors had tough conditions of their own and were also setting up for a wild night.
In the IMOCA Open 60 Class Alex Thomson and Guillermo Altadil have topped the leaderboard since the morning the sixth duo to do so from a fleet of 12 still racing. While the British skipper was keen not to take any great store from their position he did say that they were entering the next period of stormy conditions with a certain apprehension given that two years ago the same type of conditions put paid to his race, and that of the boat they are racing.
Thomson, whose best finish in this race was second in 2003 with Roland Jourdain, played down their lead, remarking that their gains in the north and west of the leading pack are as much because they have moved progressively closer to the rhumb line course, cautioning that it is the situation in a week's time which could be the deciding factor in the IMOCA Open 60 race.
With more than 160 miles of lateral separation between Hugo Boss and Virbac-Paprec 3 in the NW and Macif in the SE, the next two low pressure systems will be critical, but -as Thomson warned - with a light winds zone in to the Caribbean and barely established trade winds, this is increasingly proving a tactical race rather than a boat speed test.
Hugo Boss lead Jean-Pierre Dick and Jeremie Beyou on Virbac-Paprec 3 by 13 miles.
* At press time:
Recruitment for Sunset+Vine; Associate Producer for the America's Cup Uncovered Production Team
- At least three years' experience at AP level on broadcast programming
- Technical post production skills (FCP) an advantage, as would experience working as part of a team producing weekly programming
- Strong script writer and story teller
- Thrive in a small dedicated team
- Thorough knowledge and passion for the sport of sailing and the major international sailing events would be an advantage
- Position would be London based with potential for travel to Americas Cup events and stand-alone shoots
- Available from January 2012, salary commensurate with experience
Seahorse Sailor Of The Month
Jose Cusi (ESP)
This month's nominees:
Seahorse Sailor of the Month is sponsored by Harken McLube, Dubarry & Musto. Who needs silverware, our prizes are usable!
Cast your vote, submit comments, even suggest a candidate for next month at
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Nannini and Peggs Take Third with Financial Crisis
In 12-14 knots of breeze, a long, rolling five metre swell and bright sunshine, Nannini and Peggs reached close inshore, sailing under Lionshead Point and Signal Hill to the finish line off the breakwater in Cape Town. Just under three hours later at 11:26:15 GMT, the New Zealand-Spanish duo of Conrad Colman and Hugo Ramon finished in fourth place with their Akilaria RC2, Cessna Citation after the final days of intensely hard racing between the two Class40s.
Having dropped to fourth place, Cessna Citation pushed hard, chasing Nannini and Peggs with both boats sustained breakages due to the increased pressure. "We completely trashed the A6 last night," confirms Paul Peggs and the demise of their spinnaker began a spiral of breakages. "The runner block blew up simultaneously and we then broke the pulpit," he continues, pointing to the twisted stainless steel at the bow. "It all happened in darkness, so we'll have to have a good look and see what the damage is."
With a very tight budget for their GOR campaign, both Nannini and Peggs are aware that any major damage could end the circumnavigation for Financial Crisis: "Surfing down the waves with the speedo reading over 22 knots is really very fast for this boat," Nannini explains. "In the past few nights we were hitting 17 or 18 knots with just the mainsail and Solent and it's right on the risk limit," he continues. "You don't win a race by going balls-out and racing the boat close to the edge," the Italian skipper maintains. "You win by going the right way and that's how we plan to hold on to third place for the rest of the circumnavigation."
Dubarry Storm - Designed To Perform
Dubarry Storm - the calm within the Storm.
Clipper 11-12 Race 5: Geraldton to Tauranga, New Zealand
In one of the closest starts in Clipper 11-12 to date, Welcome to Yorkshire was the first across, coming up on the inside of the other yachts who had timed their run to the start line impeccably. They were followed by New York, Derry-Londonderry, representing the UK City of Culture 2013, and the Dutch team, De Lage Landen. The home port favourite, Geraldton Western Australia, was fifth across the start line followed by Visit Finland, Gold Coast Australia and Qingdao. Singapore and Edinburgh Inspiring Capital completed the order.
Ahead of the teams lies a 3,800-mile race down the coast of Western Australia, rounding the second Great Cape in Clipper 11-12, Cape Leeuwin, the most south westerly point of Australia. It is the first time it has been included in the course in the 15-year history of the event. They will head south again into the desolate isolation of the Southern Ocean and then race east towards New Zealand and the finish line at Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty, where they are due to arrive between 25 and 29 November.
Positions at 1200 UTC, Sunday 6 November
1. Gold Coast Australiam 3696nm to leg finish
Running The Rhumblines
Archer who contested the blue water classic in 2010 as a member of the Ocean Affinity crew will be a first time entry as an owner skipper.
He is not the first and will not be the last 'rookie' skipper to have the personal ambition to record a Sydney Hobart in his offshore racing log book.
Questionable Logic designed by the leading New South Wales team of Iain Murray, Ian Burns and Andy Dovell and built by Sydney Yachts has raced competitively in short course events including the Airlie Beach and Audi Hamilton Island Race Weeks but has rarely been tested on long ocean passages since joining the more relaxed fleet racing in the warm Whitsunday Island waters.
Her delivery crew will face a serious test during the long haul from Airlie Beach to Sydney to complete the pre-Hobart formalities including a stringent safety inspection before the enthusiastic Terry Archer has the chance to fulfil his ambition.
However the enthusiasm will take on a more demanding role when the comparatively smaller Questionable Logic tests her handicap rated ocean racing speed against a number of high profile yachts including the 2010 Audi Australian IRC champion Loki and the Mark Richards helmed super maxi Wild Oats X1.
None of the many Whitsunday Sailing Club supporters of the Questionable Logic Hobart Race challenge are prepared to make a pre-race prediction but believe both skipper and crew have the skill and determination to share a mooring in Hobart's historical Constitution Dock.
But meanwhile Questionable Logic and the Leo Rodriguez skippered Volvo 60 Merit winner of the Rolex Performance Handicap class trophy in 2008 continue with their pre-Hobart race preparations.
Merit racing under the Stratco sponsorship was the 18th to finish last year and the crew will be hoping for a more favourable spinnaker sailing breeze to beat their relatively slow 7.7knot average and 3 day 9 hour 18 minute 53 second elapsed time.
Terry Archer will remember stepping ashore in Hobart for the first time and despite being a maiden race skipper will positively focus on steering Questionable Logic to the required boat speed to challenge his personal best target of 3 days 15 hours 42 minutes 52 seconds when Ocean Affinity finished 22nd last year. -- Ian Grant
Champions Come Out for Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship
This annual event will feature a showdown between some of the sport's heavy hitters, such as the winner of last year's SSORC IRC Ocean Passage Division defending Blue Water Point Score champion, Loki, owned by Stephen Ainsworth, who is also chasing the title of the fastest boat around the track - for the John Hurley Gun Boat Trophy.
Ainsworth's Reichel/Pugh 63 will be joined by other gun boats, including Marcus Blackmore and his TP52 Hooligan (the ex Emirates Team New Zealand), winners of Class A of the four-event Audi IRC Australian Championship. Blackmore has proved to be the class act, almost unbeatable when racing in a regatta format.
Blackmore was looking forward to trading blows with Victorian Rob Hanna and his new Shogun (the former Audi Azzurra), but it is not to be. Hanna says his new boat will arrive in Sydney mid this month and won't be ready in time.
Victoire, Darryl Hodgkinson's Beneteau First 45, and The Philosopher's Club, Peter Sorensen's Sydney 36CR from MHYC are two further championship winners.
Sorensen won the Australian IRC Championship overall in 2008 and won Class C this year after a change in format resulted in three Class winners being crowned. 'Sorro' also scored a divisional win in MHYC's Sydney Harbour Regatta in March and drove away in a new Audi after also winning the company's Drive Challenge.
The winner of last year's Sydney Short Ocean Racing Championship IRC Grand Prix Division, Rob Reynolds' Exile, representing MHYC, is again set to provide the benchmark. Reynolds is an old hand, so won't be letting the opposition intimidate him.
Racing will be conducted on three separate course areas. The main event will be windward/leeward courses on the Manly and Macquarie Circles just off Sydney Heads, the Passage racing will start and finish on Sydney Harbour and the Farr 40 One Design windward/leeward racing and Seven Islands Race will be conducted on Sydney Harbour.
With entries closing at midnight on Friday 18 November, prospective competitors have only two weeks to sign on, so enter online now where the Notice of Race can also be downloaded from the official website, -- Di Pearson
Alacrity (formally Bird) is a modern high performance racing/cruising trimaran from the board of well-known multihull designer Dick Newick. She was expertly built by Lone Star Multihulls of Brownsville, TX, USA under the close supervision of her original owner, a composite design expert who undertook a conversion from the originally designed WEST System® construction to state of the art composite construction utilizing Core-Cell® foam, carbon fiber, glass, and epoxy resin. Every component was weighed and core/skin laminate samples were tested for strength. Construction was completed at the design weight and the yacht has proven to be extremely fast and rugged. The original owner won several ocean races by large margins.
Brokerage through Multihull World: www.yachtworld.com/multihullworld/
Complete listing details and seller contact information at uk.yachtworld.com
The Last Word
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