The Volvo trans-Atlantic Leg 7 finish was at sunrise this…

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

The Volvo trans-Atlantic Leg 7 finish was at sunrise this morning Lisbon time/late last night California time. All six boats finished within 4 hours of each other, with the order being: Brunel, MAPFRE, Alvimedica, Dongfeng, ADOR, SCA. Winds got super light in the last few miles, which made things interesting, especially in the battle for third place.

Dongfeng was solidly in third as they approached the land, but Alvimedica got better wind close to shore and managed to pass them. Then in the final beat to the finish under the boats’ masthead Code 0 headsails, Dongfeng initiated a tacking duel. Alvimedica had a poor tack that allowed Dongfeng to escape into better wind, and for a moment it looked like Dongfeng had retaken third place.

It was significant for the overall race standings, because Dongfeng is the closest to overall leader ADOR, so every boat they could put between themselves and ADOR would help them close the gap.

With one final tack to make for the finish line, though, Dongfeng had a disastrous tack that left them in irons, allowing Alvimedica to regain their lead and finish in third place a few minutes later. The live coverage missed the crucial moment when the problem occurred on Dongfeng, but they were getting live audio from my man-crush Yann Riou at the time, and it was heart-breaking to hear him describe what was happening. (Also hard to listen to was skipper Charles Caudrelier screaming in frustration.)

You can use this link to go straight to the climax:

Overall standings (low-point scoring) with two (short) legs remaining:

  1. ADOR: 16 pts
  2. Dongfeng: 21
  3. Brunel: 22
  4. MAPFRE: 26
  5. Alvimedica: 27
  6. SCA: 41
  7. Vestas: 52

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Alvimedica rounding Cape Horn, March 30, 2015. Source.

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Alvimedica rounding Cape Horn, March 30, 2015. Source.

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I usually don’t care for it when the on-board videos are…

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

I usually don’t care for it when the on-board videos are “enhanced” with music; I’d prefer to just see what’s happening on the boat. But in this case I think it worked. I’m not sure if it was Alvimedica’s OBR Amory Ross who did the musical embellishment, or if it was added by the shore team before the video was posted, but either way I think it helps underscore the tense but hopeful mood on the boat.

It’s cool to see Dave and Charlie talking about how they’ve managed to step up on this leg and be competitive with the top three boats of Dongfeng, Brunel, and ADOR. Watching their performance in the tracker you can see it: Alvimedica has been fast on this leg.

They were fast at the start of leg 2 as well, leading the fleet for several days before some strategic missteps pushed them back (and then losing 9 hours while they assisted Vestas, which also took them out of the weather conditions that might have let them work their way back up with the leaders). So it will be interesting to see if they can sustain this.

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Vestas Wind on the reef at Cargados Carajos shoals, Mauritius,…

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Vestas Wind on the reef at Cargados Carajos shoals, Mauritius, shortly after sunrise on November 30, 2014. The photos were taken from Alvimedica, on the west side of the reef, and posted to the @TeamAlvimedica Twitter account.

After the Vestas crew were successfully rescued and had reached shore, Alvimedica resumed racing toward Abu Dhabi.

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Video updates regarding Vestas Wind

Saturday, November 29th, 2014

Some new videos have been posted that give a little more information about what’s going on aboard Vestas Wind and Alvimedica.

  • Call With Charlie Enright Regarding Team Vestas Wind Grounding (official VOR channel) – Genny Tulloch in Alicante interviews skipper Charlie Enright aboard Alvimedica. Alvimedica is currently motoring a few miles away from the wreck, just on the other (downwind) side of the reef.
  • A Long Night Ahead – Team Alvimedica Talk with Team Vestas (Alvimedica channel) – On-board video from Alvimedica, including radio conversations between them and the crew aboard Vestas.
  • Dongfeng Race Team’s reaction to Team Vestas Wind running aground (Dongfeng channel) – Comments by bowman Kevin Escoffier and skipper Charles Caudrelier aboard Dongfeng. Caudrelier’s comments, in particular, shed light on their own (late) discovery of the islands in their path: You have to zoom in closely in the navigational software to even see that the islands are there. In the old-school style of navigation I did growing up, you have to refer to the large-scale chart, not just the small-scale chart. I guess it’s an example of the sneaky way that technological advance can create new risks. Electronic charts are superior in many ways, but the old technology had centuries of hard-won experience baked into it. It takes time (and tragedies like this) to relearn old lessons when the technology changes.

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spoal: Albatross | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 – Volvo Ocean…

Thursday, November 6th, 2014


Albatross | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 – Volvo Ocean Race

Nice closeup from the just-finished Alvimedica of an early morning albatross. I’m not at all knowledgeable about albatrosses, but maybe a juvenile-plumage Wandering Albatross? Awesome shot, regardless.

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Will Oxley, navigator for Alvimedica, interviewed as the boat…

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

Will Oxley, navigator for Alvimedica, interviewed as the boat approaches the doldrums on October 20.

Source: The Inside Track – Episode 7.

Oxley’s bio, as listed at Sailing Scuttlebutt:

Will Oxley, 49, North Queensland, Australia

DOB: April 22, 1965

Will brings navigation depth to this young team having been part of three Volvo Ocean Races, twice as navigator. Will has completed more than 240,000 nm of ocean racing including four round the world races and 14 Sydney to Hobart races. He skippered Compaq in the BT Global Challenge 2000/01 and he was also the weather coordinator for the Swedish Victory Challenge America’s Cup team. He provided navigation and weather support for Puma in the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race. For the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race he was navigator with Camper (Emirates Team New Zealand). Will is also a marine biologist, working from 1992-2000 at the Australian Institute of Marine Science as part of the Long-term Monitoring Project studying the Great Barrier Reef.

There are sailors in this race who have a lot of experience. And sometimes that experience tells them, eh, it’s kind of a crapshoot. Hope we get lucky.

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