Great footage (helicopter, drone, and on-board) of my other…

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Great footage (helicopter, drone, and on-board) of my other favorite team (MAPFRE) rounding Fastnet Rock. Includes a nice close-up of Sophie grinding.

Can I just say as an aside how cool it is that MAPFRE’s team has chosen as their women crewmembers two who specialize in “strength” positions?

I wondered about that a little in the run-up to this edition of the race, when Sophie hadn’t been announced as crew on any of the boats. Because last time around she was talked about as being “a beast in the gym” by her crewmates on SCA, but that was in an all-woman crew. This time, with the modified man/woman crew incentives promoting mixed crews, I worried teams would opt for helmswomen and trimmers, leaving people like Sophie (who admittedly is also known as a good helmswoman) on shore. Because the teams would want strapping dudes for the winches and moving the stack.

But in all the Leg 0 footage of MAPFRE I’ve seen so far, Sophie’s been right in the thick of things, grinding and shifting sails and working the foredeck. And I dunno; I just think that’s cool. She’s a great sailor. They want her on the team. And she’s giving it her all.

There’s such a calm, focused vibe coming off the boat. I’m still betting on Dongfeng to win the whole thing. But I think Xabi Fernández has a good shot at it. Either way I’m going to be excited.

My two favorites are duking it out at the front of the race-within-a-race as they weave through the exclusion zones and past the Scilly Islands on their way to the finish at Falmouth, with MAPFRE just a skosh ahead of Dongfeng:

The only thing that could make this better for me is if they finish in a tie. 😜

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¡Vamos MAPFRE!The 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race won’t…

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

¡Vamos MAPFRE!

The 2017-18 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race won’t start until October, but the pre-race “Leg Zero” series got under way today. Seven Volvo 65s raced as a class in the Around the Island Race, circling the Isle of Wight as part of Cowes Week. Spanish entry MAPFRE, with skipper Xabi Fernández, was the winner, setting a monohull course record of 3h 13m 11s.

I still think Dongfeng (which came in fourth today) has the best chance to win the race around the world. But I can’t not cheer for MAPFRE, given that my favorite sailor from the last edition has a spot on the boat. 🙂

Next up: The 600-mile Fastnet Race, which starts this Sunday, August 6.

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“Very early in the morning we had to throw the anchor for there was zero wind, and the current was…”

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

“Very early in the morning we had to throw the anchor for there was zero wind, and the current was dragging us backwards.”

(via lucerei)

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Source. Back on the evening of October 14, when the fleet was…

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Source.

Back on the evening of October 14, when the fleet was still tightly packed along the coast of Morocco, SCA crossed just ahead of Mapfre. I believe it probably was Mapfre’s OBR, Francisco Vignale of Argentina, who made the suggestion about dining with them to Michel Desjoyeaux on the helm. Michel then called out to the women’s team. I’m not sure what he said at the end, but “Don’t desert us” is my best guess after listening to the audio a few times.

Michel is a sailing superstar in his native France, having won the Vendée Globe singlehanded round-the-world race twice. His presence aboard Mapfre is one of the reasons expectations for the team were high going into Leg 1.

Kind of poignant that the two boats would be so close together again at the end. I assume they’ll all have other plans for dinner Friday, but it would be kind of cool if they did get a chance to sit down together before the Leg 2 start, and if this cross came up in conversation.

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Alvimedica has finished, leaving only two boats still sailing…

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Alvimedica has finished, leaving only two boats still sailing Leg 1.

As of the 0040 UTC update, SCA was 6.2 miles farther from the finish than Mapfre. Both boats are on a close reach with a solid southeasterly wind that looks to remain steady over the 10 hours it will take them to reach Cape Town at current speed.

6.2 miles isn’t a huge lead to overcome, but with identical boats and steady wind it seems pretty unlikely. SCA’s best shot, probably, is to get as close as they can and hope Mapfre gets sucked into a hole under Table Mountain just long enough for them to slide past. Which could happen, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

At this rate the finish will be around 1030 UTC Friday, or about 0230 California time.

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SCA is still in last, but they’ve gained a lot of distance…

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

SCA is still in last, but they’ve gained a lot of distance on the boats ahead of them. Twenty-four hours ago they trailed sixth-place Mapfre by 50 miles. As of 0340 UTC (November 6), they trail by just under 13 miles.

There’s a narrative I’m tempted to impose. The latest videos from SCA show them being upbeat, positive, even a little punchy. You get the sense that after so long in DFL (an acronym I learned recently from the droll commenters at Sailing Anarchy), they don’t feel like they have anything to lose, and would dearly love to move up at least one spot. Meanwhile, Mapfre gives off a sense of unhappiness and disappointment; on paper they really should have been more competitive, and being stuck back here with “the girls” must rankle.

I’m suspicious of that narrative. But how many times has that story played out in sport, where the scrappy underdogs, emboldened by the prospect of an upset, play above their heads, while the struggling favorites tighten up?

More important than any narrative is what the weighted random number generator of the wind does over the next day or so. But SCA appears to have a shot.

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