The Gulf of Oh, Man Sorry for the pun. But this is awesome. The…

Thursday, December 11th, 2014

The Gulf of Oh, Man

Sorry for the pun. But this is awesome.

The three leaders spent the last 24 hours fighting their way through extremely light winds in the Gulf of Oman. As of yesterday the order was Brunel in front, Dongfeng close behind, and ADOR somewhat farther behind.

Brunel is keeping a tight cover on Dongfeng. But that has opened up a route closer to shore for ADOR, and Ian Walker has taken it. You’d think he knows what he’s doing, too, because over the past several years the Abu Dhabi team has spent a lot of time sailing in these waters during their training.

As of the 1540 update today the tracker shows:

  1. Brunel, leading
  2. ADOR, 2.9 miles from the lead
  3. Dongfeng, 4.2 miles from the lead

At this point any of those three could totally win it, and each scenario would make me happy in a different way:

  • If they finish in the order of Brunel, Dongfeng, and ADOR, then all three boats will be tied for the lead going into Leg 3. How cool would that be?
  • If Dongfeng can manage to pass Brunel and win the leg, I’d be ecstatic. Go Dongfeng! They’re my favorites after SCA.
  • If ADOR can pass inshore and win, the UAE is going to erupt. Adil (the Emirati crewmember who also sailed the last VOR) is a national hero already. But a dramatic come-from-behind victory played out along the coast into Abu Dhabi (which would also give ADOR a big lead in the race overall), and I think the country will basically just shut down. Ferraris for everyone!

I’d love to see that.

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Ian Walker driving upwind like a boss.

Saturday, November 15th, 2014

Ian Walker driving upwind like a boss.

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Good Times Proud dads from Leg 1 winners Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing…

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Good Times

Proud dads from Leg 1 winners Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing greet their families dockside in Cape Town.

ADOR crossed the line around 1511 UTC, with Dongfeng following in second place around 1524. Brunel should be finishing third within the next few hours.

Watching the finish live on the Volvo Ocean Race YouTube channel was fun. There were some technical hiccups, but overall it worked pretty well, with OBRs Matt Knighton on ADOR and Yann Riou on Dongfeng doing a good job of shooting video, answering questions, and trying to stay out of the way.

Then there was live video of the dockside arrivals, for which I’m (as previously mentioned) a complete sucker.

Things are pretty well spread out for the remaining four boats. SCA has closed up somewhat on Mapfre, but unless something dramatic happens it doesn’t look like there will be any position changes, with SCA finishing late tomorrow (Thursday), UTC-wise.

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Skipper Ian Walker of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, November 4, 2014….

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Skipper Ian Walker of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, November 4, 2014. Source.

In the latest update (1840 UTC) ADOR is 255 miles from the finish line in Cape Town. They’ve gybed to put themselves directly in front of Dongfeng, who have closed to within 3.3 miles.

You could see the strain in Ian Walker’s face in that interview he did with Ken Read yesterday, and you can see it even more here. I don’t think he’s getting much sleep. Nor does it sound like he’s planning on getting any tonight.

They’ve sailed more than 6,000 miles over the past 24 days. Now it’s a buoy race to the finish.

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spoal: Inside Track 17 – Bonus material | Volvo Ocean Race…

Monday, November 3rd, 2014


Inside Track 17 – Bonus material | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 – Volvo Ocean Race

Less mediation/gate-keeping = more compelling content. There’s some fabulous stuff here with Ken talking to Ian Walker on ADOR. You get a real sense of the anxieties he (Ian) is experiencing as they try to drive their boat hard over this last day or two, with Dongfeng hanging right off to leeward, matching every move.

And VOR media people: Please just give us the video. And sure, have Genny Tulloch interview people, get Ken Read in the loop; that stuff is great. But just show it all. Make it all available, right away, at least for the obsessives who want it.

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Ian Walker, skipper of ADOR, explains their situation in the…

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

Ian Walker, skipper of ADOR, explains their situation in the boat’s October 31 video package.

My favorite video from the last few days, offering a glimpse into what’s going on on the lead boat, with a rundown on strategy from Ian, and cool footage of an amazing boat being driven flat out.

One of the frustrations for me (and a lot of other people, judging by the SA forum), has been the difficulty of getting access to the latest information from the fleet. The central VOR media operation apparently has made arrangements to provide access to the raw video feeds only to established media outlets. The daily feeds from the boats are cut up and repackaged, then released via posting to YouTube in the following ways:

  • The individual teams’ media operations will post an edited version of that team’s videos to their respective YouTube channels. Depending on the team, this either happens relatively quickly, with the content mostly intact (Dongfeng, Mapfre, and SCA), relatively slowly and/or with heavy-handed and off-putting editing (Vestas, Brunel, and Alvimedica), or mostly not at all (ADOR).
  • The central VOR media operation will put out a package with small chunks of the individual videos edited together, sometimes with inane commentary added. This mostly happens within about 24 hours.
  • After about 48 hours, some third-party media operations (the SailworldNZL channel is the best I’ve found so far) will post a relatively complete version of the videos uploaded from the boats. These are actually some of the most-interesting videos to me, since the extended, uncut feeds include lots of interesting stuff that gets cut from the more-processed pieces released earlier.
  • Later, there’s a weekly (I think?) extended video that is released by the central VOR operation, apparently intended as a weekly show to run on cable TV. Inane commentary and banal musical arrangements on top of the (heavily edited) feeds from the boats.

There’s a hugely compelling (at least for someone like me) story taking place on the water, and a relatively sophisticated operation in place to produce and deliver wonderful content in near-real-time from the OBRs. And then… it goes into a black hole at VOR headquarters and comes out in dribs and drabs, heavily diluted and adulterated. It’s super frustrating.

I assume that someone at VOR HQ believes that this is the way to maximize the value of their product, that if they just give it away by posting the raw feeds straight to YouTube, then no one will pay the big money (or small money, or whatever money it is) for their produced weekly show.

I don’t know. Maybe they’re right. But I know that I, as a potential consumer of their product, am being poorly served, and dearly wish I could route around the damage.

Take the shackles off the OBRs and let them perform the role they’re intended to play. Let people view the videos — the whole videos — as they come off the boats.

Ugh. Done ranting.

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nine4eight: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing tack during strong winds…

Friday, October 31st, 2014


Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing tack during strong winds heading south on leg one of the Volvo Ocean Race between Alicante and Cape Town.

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Skipper Ian Walker of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam,…

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Skipper Ian Walker of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam, October 19, 2014. Source.

As of October 22, Azzam is leading the 7-boat fleet in Leg 1 of the 38,000-mile Volvo Ocean Race.

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Skipper Ian Walker aboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s boat…

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Skipper Ian Walker aboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s boat Azzam, currently leading the VOR.

I haven’t been intentionally neglecting posting about ADOR, as much as I’ve been frustrated by a lack of video content from the boat. As with the other teams, there’s an ADOR YouTube channel, but the only content with which it’s been updated since the start of the race has been videos filmed before the start of Leg 1.

This video, which I love, is not from the team’s own channel; it’s from the official VOR channel, though it’s listed there as “unpublished” and didn’t show up in my YouTube subscription feed. I only learned about it because a helpful user posted it in the Sailing Anarchy discussion for Leg 1.

It looks like this video was shot on the afternoon of October 19, as the boat sailed west on starboard tack after passing north of the Cape Verde Islands.

Go Azzam.

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