Countdown to Volvo Ocean Race >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Countdown to Volvo Ocean Race >> Scuttlebutt Sailing News:

a-solitary-sea-rover:

On October 22 at 1200 UTC, the longest endurance race in the world begins, the Volvo Ocean Race. Libby Greenhalgh, who was navigator for Team SCA in the 2014-15 edition, shares insight as the seven teams prepare for this eight month challenge.

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Race officials finally posted the full replay of the Alicante…

Monday, October 16th, 2017

Race officials finally posted the full replay of the Alicante in-port race on YouTube, though apparently they kept it hidden for a while, which confuses me, but whatever. Commentary after a cut to preserve the dashboards of the non-obsessed.

Boats designed to surf monster waves in the Southern Ocean aren’t the easiest things to get around a short windward-leeward course in 8 knots of wind. But for me this race was surprisingly exciting to watch for one reason: The whole thing was basically over before the starting gun went off.

I’ve linked to that point in the video (around 8:31). Analysis with screenshots follows.

Here’s a helicopter shot with 1:26 to go:

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The wind is blowing from the right. That powerboat sitting by itself toward the lower right is the race committee boat that marks the right end of the starting line; the tiny yellow dot above it is the inflatable buoy that marks the left end of the line.

The seven Volvo 65s are easy to recognize because of their sponsor graphics. Lining up on starboard tack in that group in the lower left, AkzoNobel is in front with the purple and blue sails. They were skippered in this race by navigator Jules Salter, because previous skipper Simeon Tienpont quit/was fired a few days earlier. (There are dueling press releases and much drama; it’s all still playing out as of Monday.)

Scallywag is the boat closest to the camera with the gray sails and the red and white swoosh. Vestas/11th Hour is the light blue main with the dark blue stripe and the white headsail, and Dongfeng is the red and gray sails beyond them.

Coming toward us to the left of them on port tack is Brunel, whose strategy apparently was to swoop in behind the other boats and tack onto starboard at the last minute. But tacking one of these boats with a Masthead Code 0 in light winds is a tricky maneuver.

Just coming into view in the extreme lower left is Turn the Tide on Plastic (TTToP), skippered by Goofball Boat Mom Dee Caffari. They haven’t even unrolled their Code 0 yet. But that’s fine; the boats in front of them are early and will have to kill time.

Way up at the other end of the line, that little red mainsail is MAPFRE. Like TTToP they haven’t unrolled their headsail yet. They’re just hanging out, jogging slowly toward the pin end of the line. The race commentators are going to offer them premature condolences in a minute. But with the benefit of hindsight, looking at this image: They’ve already won.

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With 1:11 to go, Brunel is making their tack. They’re slow rolling up the headsail (a requirement for tacking the Masthead 0), though, and it’s going to hurt them badly. On TTToP, Boat Mom has unrolled her headsail and is starting to move into view in the lower left. Meanwhile, MAPFRE is still just chilling out there at the far end of the line.

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With less than a minute to go, AkzoNobel is bearing off to avoid being over early. Vestas has them pinned to leeward, though, so there’s not a lot of room. Brunel is head to wind with their headsail furled. It’s been 13 seconds since the last screenshot, which means this tack is taking them a long time. Boat Mom is diving down to try to squeeze in to leeward of Scallywag.

MAPFRE still hasn’t unrolled their headsail.

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At 47 seconds to go, the four starboard-tack boats closest to the line are all reaching off to avoid being over early.

MAPFRE’s just hanging out. Um, guys (and gals): You realize there’s a race today, right?

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Thirty-seven seconds to go. The three lead starboard tack boats are a mess. Dongfeng has the right of way as leeward boat, and is holding the other two up toward the line rather than giving them acceleration room. Scallywag is diving down to prevent Boat Mom getting a leeward overlap and doing the same thing to them. Brunel has completed their tack, but they’re so far below the line and in such disturbed air from all the shenanigans ahead of them that they’re basically stuck in the water.

Aboard MAPFRE they finally have a headsail, yay! But that’s not all they’ve got:

  • They’re right up on the starting line, rather than 3-5 boatlengths to leeward of it like the other boats. In these conditions that’s huge.
  • They’ve got clear air.
  • They’ve got an open stretch of water into which they can accelerate.
  • They’ve got a position that in a minute is going to give them the right side of the racecourse, where they’ve (correctly) predicted the wind is going to be stronger during the coming beat.

On the other hand they’re on port tack, and every other boat has the right of way, so they’re basically going to have to duck the entire fleet. But given all the advantages listed above, it’s worth it.

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Thirty seconds. The lead group of starboard tackers has hardened up for the line, though they’re still a little early. Each of them is trying to create a gap to leeward into which they can accelerate. But since they’re all trying to do it in the same place none of them is being particularly successful.

Meanwhile, MAPFRE is reaching off with the Masthead 0 trimmed for speed.

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Twenty seconds. The leading five starboard tackers are all using whatever gap they have to try to build speed. Brunel is still stuck to leeward.

MAPFRE has started to bear away to go below the starboard tackers. It’s a controlled maneuver, though, unlike the speed-killing gyrations the other boats are doing.

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Ten seconds. The starboard-tackers are all hardening up for the line. Brunel is basically parked.

It’s hard to see them, but MAPFRE is screaming in (relatively speaking) on port tack, aiming to shave the sterns of the fleet.

Here’s what that moment looked like from MAPFRE’s perspective, courtesy of the video they posted to Twitter:

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They’re approaching Dongfeng, the lead boat in the starboard-tackers. Antonio Cuervas-Mons (”Ñeti”) is on the bow. As bowman his job is to tell the helmsman (Pablo Arrarte) where to go, because it’s easier to judge the distances from the bow.

The closed-fist gesture means “hold your course.” The wind-it-up gesture means “go for it; head closer to the starting line.”

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Ñeti calling the duck of AkzoNobel. This is a key moment. Looking around the front of the headsail, Ñeti sees something that Pablo on the helm can’t see: Brunel is going so slowly that a gap has opened up in front of them, and MAPFRE has a chance to squeeze through. So Ñeti gives the wind-it-up sign: go for it.

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That same moment, two seconds before the starting gun, from the helicopter’s perspective.

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MAPFRE charging through the gap just after the gun. They’re now in disturbed air, but only for a few seconds, and the speed they’ve built up lets them punch through.

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And they’re off, heading away from the fleet in clear air toward the stronger wind on the right. When the fleet comes back together at the top mark MAPFRE is ahead, and with mistake-free sailing they never give up the lead.

And that, long-suffering readers, is how you win a boat race before it’s even started.

¡Vamos MAPFRE! 😀

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First win for MAPFRE in Volvo Ocean Race

Saturday, October 14th, 2017

First win for MAPFRE in Volvo Ocean Race:

a-solitary-sea-rover:

Alicante, Spain (October 14, 2017) – The local heroes on Xabi Fernàndez’s MAPFRE were a popular winner when they won the first In-Port Race of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race.

Fernàndez and his team made a bold call at the start to duck behind the entire fleet in order to sail up what turned out to be the favoured right hand side of the course, coming from behind to earn a narrow lead at the first gate.

The video of the race was streamed on Facebook, which is a little disappointing because the FB video player is inferior to YouTube. Hard to obsess properly when the fullscreen video gets way pixellated. :-)

But yay for MAPFRE! The in-port standings only count if needed for a tiebreaker in terms of the overall race, but this is real (finally). And now it’s less than a week until the first ocean leg starts.

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Annalise Murphy on Twitter

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

Annalise Murphy on Twitter:

tfw one sail on your new boat weighs more than your whole last boat. 😜

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jaeschkethomas:Martine Grael aka RAINHA DOS OCEANOS…

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

jaeschkethomas:

Martine Grael aka RAINHA DOS OCEANOS
#martinegrael #teamakzonobel #volvooceanrace #brazil #brasil #rio2016 #goldmedalist #photooftheday #happy #girlpower

Someone on the SA forums the other day commented that she probably had an “in” making the team because of who her dad is. To which someone else replied that she didn’t need an “in” and also wtf is wrong with you? Which pretty much sums up the SA forums.

She’s a world champion and Olympic gold medalist. And yeah, she’s also a *second-generation* gold medalist, but you have to be a particular kind of dense to think that’s how she got her ride.

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karro6ped:#volvooceanrace

Thursday, October 12th, 2017

karro6ped:

#volvooceanrace

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a-solitary-sea-rover: lies: I haven’t been obsessing publicly…

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

a-solitary-sea-rover:

lies:

I haven’t been obsessing publicly over it, but the Volvo boats just had another non-scoring pre-race race (the “Prologue”, not to be confused with the previously completed “Leg 0”). This race was from Lisbon, Portugal to Alicante, Spain.* Basically it’s a preview of the upcoming Leg 1, except sailed in reverse.

There were light winds nearly the whole way, with just a bit of a breeze as they entered the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar. MAPFRE got an early lead and never gave it up, and at one point they and Brunel extended by going inside and picking up a land breeze while the other five boats stayed parked offshore.  After that it was a match race between those two boats.

I love this video of them crossing the finish line. Things I love about it:

  • How low-key they all are. This was a really slow, intense, difficult race, and they’re all exhausted. But it’s the good kind of exhausted. 🙂
  • My unproblematic fave Sophie.
  • Speaking of low-key: Check out how on-board reporter Jen Edney (the only woman among the OBRs) included a shot of Xabi talking about the race that just happens to include Támara Echegoyen in the background hiking up her foulies after (one assumes) peeing off the stern. It’s just a little thing. But the more I think about it the more cool I think it is. You want an example of real equality? This is what it looks like.

Ten days until the race proper starts. Closer…

¡Vamos MAPFRE!

* Technically they ended the race early, at Cabo de Gata, due to the light winds. Now they’re all motoring to Alicante.

I just noticed Xabi and Pablo have their first names on their shirts while the others have their last names.

I wondered if that was due to length of the names (i.e., not having room to stencil the whole last name). If you order all of them by length you get:

  • Cuervas-Mons (12)
  • Greenhalgh (10)
  • Echegoyen (9)
  • Fernández (9)
  • McDonald (8)
  • Altadill (8)
  • Sinclair (8)
  • Arrarte (7)
  • Ciszek (6)
  • Tuke (4)
  • Vila (4)

So that doesn’t support my name-length theory very well. Maybe it’s just a personal preference thing, and speaks more to a low-key approach to leadership that Xabi and Pablo have? Rob is listed as the other watch captain, and his should have his first name under either theory, but I think his say “Greenhalgh.” So who knows?

I’m guessing it falls into the “not important enough to have a policy” category. And like having Sophie and Támara working the grinders and moving the stack (and casually peeing off the stern on-camera) alongside the rest of the crew, I just really like the casual vibe that comes across about what it’s like aboard their boat.

It’s easy to look relaxed when you’re winning, and it will be interesting to see if the mood on the boat changes when they face more adversity (like MAPFRE did on Leg 1 in the 2014/15 race). Whatever system they have for determining what is and isn’t important enough to worry about, though, it seems to be working so far. 🙂

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I haven’t been obsessing publicly over it, but the Volvo…

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017

I haven’t been obsessing publicly over it, but the Volvo boats just had another non-scoring pre-race race (the “Prologue”, not to be confused with the previously completed “Leg 0”). This race was from Lisbon, Portugal to Alicante, Spain. Basically it’s a preview of the upcoming Leg 1, except sailed in reverse.

There were light winds nearly the whole way, with just a bit of a breeze as they entered the Mediterranean through the Straits of Gibraltar. MAPFRE got an early lead and never gave it up, and at one point they and Brunel extended by going inside and picking up a land breeze while the other five boats stayed parked offshore.  After that it was a match race between those two boats.

I love this video of them crossing the finish line. Things I love about it:

  • How low-key they all are. This was a really slow, intense, difficult race, and they’re all exhausted. But it’s the good kind of exhausted. 🙂
  • My unproblematic fave Sophie.
  • Speaking of low-key: Check out how on-board reporter Jen Edney (the only woman among the OBRs) included a shot of Xabi talking about the race that just happens to include Támara Echegoyen in the background hiking up her foulies after (one assumes) peeing off the stern. It’s just a little thing. But the more I think about it the more cool I think it is. You want an example of real equality? This is what it looks like.

Ten days until the race proper starts. Closer…

¡Vamos MAPFRE!

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Race Experts on Twitter

Wednesday, October 4th, 2017

Race Experts on Twitter:

Closer…

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Closer…

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Closer…

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I’m on the record as being a non-fan of the “2-minute music…

Monday, September 18th, 2017

I’m on the record as being a non-fan of the “2-minute music video” approach to Volvo Ocean Race media. But this is an exception. I really like this one.

It turns out what I dislike is bad 2-minute music videos. (Okay and also, not being able to figure out what’s going on because the action has been cut up too much to watch what is, you know, an actual sport.) But this one isn’t like that.

The race village in Alicante, Spain opens on October 11. The first in-port race will be on October 14. And the first ocean leg (a relatively quick dash out the Mediterranean to Lisbon, Portugal) starts on October 22.

Closer…

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Oh wow oh wow oh wow. I’ve been a fan of Annalise since…

Friday, September 8th, 2017

Oh wow oh wow oh wow. I’ve been a fan of Annalise since her incredible (ultimately, kind of heart-breaking) performance at the London Olympics in 2012, and then through her silver medal in Rio. She’s awesome! I’m so excited to get the chance to see her race the Volvo.

I now have three favorite teams. 😀 (Eh, technically I was already a fan of Dee and TTToP. But now they’re right up at the top of the list with MAPFRE and Dongfeng.)

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

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

o-k-e-a-n-o-s:

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.

Source

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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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