o-k-e-a-n-o-s:Volvo Ocean Race

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017


Volvo Ocean Race

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Volvo Ocean Race on Twitter

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Volvo Ocean Race on Twitter:

DF passed MAPFRE in the last few miles and finished only a few boatlengths ahead. Woo! 😀

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For equal time, here’s my other favorite team (Dongfeng) from…

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

For equal time, here’s my other favorite team (Dongfeng) from the previous Leg Zero race around the Isle of Wight. Again, lots of awesome onboard footage, this time with gusts in the 30s! I’m very much in awe of these people.

According to someone with good inside info, the reason DF dropped from a close second to fourth just before the finish in this race was one blown maneuver that resulted in a (brief) headsail fiasco. Wish there was footage of that, though I can understand it not being included, whether because the OBR didn’t happen to get it or because the sponsor isn’t looking for that kind of publicity.

But as a fan I’d watch that all day.

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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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My favorite team this time around is approaching Fastnet Rock in…

Monday, August 7th, 2017

My favorite team this time around is approaching Fastnet Rock in the lead (of the Volvo 65 race-within-a-race). Go Dongfeng! Woo!

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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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Calling it now. No but seriously. It’s a big world, and they’re…

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Calling it now.

No but seriously. It’s a big world, and they’re gonna be spending a lot of time in the Southern Ocean where anything can happen. But if you’re one of the other competitors you’d better get busy.


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aeternamente replied to your photoset: Dongfeng Race Team training for the…

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Huh… when is this starting?

The start of Leg 1 (Alicante, Spain -> Lisbon, Portugal) will happen on October 22. So just under five months from now.

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Dongfeng Race Team training for the 2017/2018 Volvo Ocean Race.

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Dongfeng Race Team training for the 2017/2018 Volvo Ocean Race.

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Volvo Ocean Race newsThere will be another VOR beginning a year…

Sunday, October 16th, 2016

Volvo Ocean Race news

There will be another VOR beginning a year or so from now, and there’s a good chance I’ll be obsessing over that one, too. After a cut is a discussion of some of the changes that have been announced.

Race Leadership

The race will be run by a new CEO, Mark Turner, who was one of the main forces behind the Chinese/French Dongfeng team in the last race. I’m excited about that because in the last race it was Dongfeng that did the best job of sharing lots of detail about what was happening on the boat, not restricting the flow of information due to sponsor concerns nor dumbing things down for a non-sailing audience. From what I can tell that was because of Mark, and there are signs that he’ll be doing the same thing across the fleet in the next race.

The Route

The 2017-18 Volvo will not include a Middle East stopover, nor will it send racers through the Strait of Malacca on their way to China, as they did last time. Instead they’ll start with a short leg from Alicante to Lisbon, then will race south through the Atlantic to Cape Town. After that will come a real monster of a leg, from Cape Town through the Indian Ocean to Bass Strait, then north to Hong Kong. Leg 4 will send them back south to Auckland, Leg 5 will head across the southern Pacific around Cape Horn and then north to Itajaí, and Leg 6 will take them to Newport. All three of those legs are more or less the same as last time.

They’ll cross the Atlantic to a stopover in Cardiff, thence to Gothenburg, and finally will finish the race at The Hague.

Competitors sound excited about the new route. Southern Ocean sailing is what the Volvo (formerly the Whitbread) has always been about, so having more of that should be fun.

Women Competitors

One of coolest thing about the race last time was that an all-woman crew was competing head-to-head with the male teams. Sadly, Swedish paper-products company SCA has pulled out, so the sailors from Team SCA who want to build on what they did last time have had to scramble for new sponsorship.

In the last few weeks the Volvo announced new crew rules that should make it easier for them to participate in the next race. Basically, if you want to do the race with an all-male team, you’ll only be allowed 7 crewmembers. But you’ll be able to add 1 or 2 women for a total crew of 8 or 9. If you do a gender-balanced crew you can have 10 (5 and 5). Or, if you do an all-woman crew (as SCA did last time) you can have 11. Crew configurations can be changed from leg to leg.

The general view is that 7 sailors is too few to race a Volvo 65 competitively, so teams will be incentivized to include women in their crew. Without this rule change it was looking like there might not be any women sailors in the next race. With it, they’ll not only be competing, but they’ll have the chance to sail in mixed crews alongside the most-experienced Volvo sailors, which should help them in their quest to be more competitive than they were last time.

On Board Reporters (OBRs)

This time around the OBR (the single crewmember who doesn’t help sail, but just cooks and documents what’s happening on the boat) won’t be paid by the individual team sponsor, but instead will work directly for the race organizers themselves. The hope is that this will mean OBRs will be more free to tell their stories than they have been in the past. For example, in the 2014-15 there was relatively little video from the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing boat that ended up being the overall winner. As far as I could tell it wasn’t that Matt Knighton, the ADOR OBR, was any less accomplished than the other OBRs. It was just that the team sponsor didn’t particularly feel like sharing that video, so fans rarely saw it.

Similarly, one of the more dramatic incidents in the race was when SCA had a bad knockdown on Leg 5 shortly before reaching Cape Horn and essentially stopped racing for a few days, backing way off the throttle and sailing more conservatively until they reached easier conditions in the south Atlantic. Fans could infer some of what was happening from the race’s tracker app, but there was a noticeable blackout in terms of video coming off the boat, possibly because the sponsor didn’t feel like that particular drama reflected well on their brand.

Dongfeng was the gold standard in the last race in terms of letting fans actually see what was happening on the boat. If the same philosophy is going to be applied to the whole fleet next time, it’s going to be great to watch.

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yachtmasters: Salt Water 😆 by straorza The Captioner:I…

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016


Salt Water 😆 by straorza

The Captioner:

I thought I recognized a VOR65 foredeck, and some google image search confirms. That’s the bow of Team Brunel, shot by Kurt Arrigo during the July, 2014 Round Canary Islands Race, in which Brunel beat MAPFRE and SCA in a preliminary event before the 2014/15 Volvo.

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Today is the 10th anniversary of Hans Horrevoets’ death. He was…

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Today is the 10th anniversary of Hans Horrevoets’ death. He was swept overboard from ABN Amro Two and drowned during the transatlantic leg of the 2005/2006 Volvo. The VOR media team put together this video, including interviews with three of his fellow crewmembers and footage of Sophie Ciszek accepting the Hans Horrevoets Rookie Award for the most-recent race.

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The Volvo Ocean Race will be finishing (finishing finishing,…

Sunday, June 21st, 2015

The Volvo Ocean Race will be finishing (finishing finishing, with the last ocean leg concluding in Gothenburg, Sweden) within the next few hours.

A belated thank you to anyone who follows me and stuck with the blog through my obsession with the race.

If the current positions hold up, the final overall result will be:

2. Brunel
3. Dongfeng
4. Alvimedica
6. SCA
7. Vestas Wind

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Leg 8 winners. :-)

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

Leg 8 winners. :-)

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Team SCA entering the Bay of Biscay on the morning of June 9,…

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Team SCA entering the Bay of Biscay on the morning of June 9, 2015. Source.

As of 2043 UTC on June 10, SCA is leading Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race, 63 miles from the leg finish in Lorient, France.

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Guess who’s leading Leg 8 as the teams beat across the Bay…

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Guess who’s leading Leg 8 as the teams beat across the Bay of Biscay? :-)

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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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northsails: Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race got off to an…

Monday, May 18th, 2015


Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race got off to an exciting start yesterday in Newport, Rhode Island. This leg will take the teams across the Atlantic to Lisbon, Portugal.

The in-port race on Saturday was fairly boring, because a windshift turned it into a parade of reaches up and down the bay. But Sunday’s leg 7 start was a proper windward-leeward, and much more fun to watch as a result:

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Dongfeng’s leg 6 OBR Sam Greenfield got great footage from his…

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

Dongfeng’s leg 6 OBR Sam Greenfield got great footage from his quadcopter drone while DF and ADOR were dueling off Block Island in the approach to the finish.

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The VOR leg 6 finish is coming down to the wire. The leaders are…

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

The VOR leg 6 finish is coming down to the wire. The leaders are a couple miles south of Block Island in near-drifting conditions. Dongfeng is leading, but Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is only a few hundred yards behind.

The much-maligned official tracker is live, so if watching little colorful boat icons creep across your screen is your idea of fun, you’re in luck. :-)

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