Team SCA on Twitter

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

Team SCA on Twitter:

Yeah! Go Sophie!

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Sam Davies at the Volvo Ocean Race post-leg-4 skipper…

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Sam Davies at the Volvo Ocean Race post-leg-4 skipper debrief.

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I have a lot of feelings about this picture.

Sunday, March 1st, 2015

I have a lot of feelings about this picture.

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I went to sleep after SCA finished but before they reached the…

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

I went to sleep after SCA finished but before they reached the dock, so this is the first time I’ve seen the video of their arrival. There’s a good interview with Annie, a heart-warming shot of Carolijn greeting her son, and a couple of shots of Sophie there to greet them on the dock, yay!

I have my fingers crossed that she’ll be able to go on leg 5. Her back injury sounded bad, and the bow of a Volvo 65 in the Southern Ocean is pretty much the worst place I can imagine putting someone whose back is suspect. No matter how well she’s done in terms of recovery, you’d have to think there’d be concern on the team about the risk they — and she — will be incurring if they take her.

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Sophie Ciszek, Team SCA, interviewed by Leighton OConner before…

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Sophie Ciszek, Team SCA, interviewed by Leighton OConner before the start of Leg 1. Source.

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flightofthelbd replied to your post: “Sophie Ciszek of Team SCA, January 25, 2015. Source.”: I…

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

flightofthelbd replied to your post: “Sophie Ciszek of Team SCA, January 25, 2015. Source.”:

I haven’t been following this, but why wouldn’t she be able to do it?

She suffered a herniated disc in her back on leg 2, needed surgery, and is still recovering. There’s more detail in the linked video.

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Sophie Ciszek of Team SCA, January 25, 2015. Source.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Sophie Ciszek of Team SCA, January 25, 2015. Source.

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I wasn’t complaining. I kind of like seeing the little colored boats zooming around cutting each other off. I don’t actually follow it, but there’s something pleasant about the graphics. I was just surprised the race was still happening. I didn’t know they were this long.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

Ah, whew. Thanks for letting me know.

Yeah, it’s a long race. Pretty much the longest in the history of racing, I guess. Though there also are singlehanded versions like the Vendée Globe, where a solo sailor does it, and does it nonstop, which I suppose is arguably “longer”, for some definitions.

Interestingly (at least for me, given my current obsession with the performance of SCA), women have a history of doing quite well in the Vendée Globe. Ellen MacArthur came in second in the 2000-2001 race (to Michel Desjoyeaux, who sailed in this Volvo on MAPFRE on leg 1 before leaving the team). And then Sam Davies and Dee Caffari, both currently on SCA, came in fourth and sixth respectively (out of 30 entrants) in the 2008-2009 race, which also was won by Desjoyeaux.

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ReshuffledHere’s the last four days from the tracker. The…

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015


Here’s the last four days from the tracker. The DTL figures are now actually meaningful, since the boats are on the final sprint toward Auckland.

Yesterday the fleet hit the doldrums proper, which led to a wonderful 5-way park up. SCA made a strong move to the west to try to avoid the mess, and for a while it appeared to be working, but then they, too, hit the light stuff.

The trio of Dongfeng, ADOR, and Mapfre escaped first. Since then Mapfre has fallen 11 miles behind, so at this point it looks like Dongfeng and ADOR are the favorites to win the leg.

The story aboard Brunel has been especially interesting to me. They seemed like they had the win locked up a week ago, but then first one crewmember, and then three more, came down with the flu, and now they’re at the back of the fleet. I realize they’ve had some bad luck wind-wise, but I wonder if their weakened condition was the major difference.

If so, it might mean that the strength deficit aboard SCA is a bigger factor than I’d previously thought. Yes, they have three extra crewmembers, but from what I’ve heard that doesn’t make up completely for the strength issue. Sailing a Volvo 65 is so physically demanding, with upper-body strength so crucial for changing sails and shifting moveable ballast, that maybe an all-woman team has the deck stacked against them, so to speak.

There are a lot of other factors in the mix; I’ve talked elsewhere about what I think might be going on. But seeing the way Brunel has dropped off the pace has me wondering.

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Yay! The pink boat has friends again! (And the orange boat is…

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Yay! The pink boat has friends again! (And the orange boat is pissed.)

Here’s the last day and a half in the tracker. The boats are working their way toward the equator, and though they haven’t reached the doldrums proper they’ve started encountering big convection clouds that suck up the wind, handing out gains and losses on a more or less random basis.

Brunel, having cashed in their northerly gauge to get in front of the fleet, still leads, with ADOR and Alvimedica doing their best to catch them.

Toward the back the three trailing boats have taken a more northerly line. So far it hasn’t done them much good, but who knows?

The big news for me is that SCA is back in contact with some other boats. They’re right on the edge of AIS range with Mapfre ahead of them and Dongfeng behind. It’s a great opportunity for them to get continuous feedback and raise their boatspeed game. Go SCA!

But aboard Dongfeng, being in last place for the first time in the race does not sit well. In the latest video from the boat we see the latest in a string of gear problems (the mainsail track is pulling away from the mast, like what happened to them on leg 2 but higher up). Add that to the big cloud that stomped on them early in the gif animation above, and things really haven’t gone their way. Sam got a shot of Charles banging his hand on the binnacle and cursing that I don’t think was staged; and in his (Sam’s) latest blog post he writes:

Today feels like we’re strapped in the back seat of the family wagon on a road trip to … the bottom of the world.

It’s been a long trip because dad took a wrong turn. Then we got a flat. The radiator overheated and now we’re praying mom will do something miraculous.

Like calm down dad.

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SCA’s Valentine’s Day video.

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

SCA’s Valentine’s Day video.

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Things are definitely looking up for SCA (and Brunel). The…

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Things are definitely looking up for SCA (and Brunel). The official race tracker shows them in last and next-to-last place, respectively, but a consensus is emerging, both from experts on shore and from the boats themselves, that the two boats have effectively taken the lead.

Campbell Field’s latest routing run shows Brunel finishing first, SCA finishing a little under 3 hours later, and the rest of the fleet 15 hours after that. Anything could happen, of course, but that must be a great feeling for those two boats. 

The latest photo posted from SCA, which I’m guessing was taken just before sunset Thursday local time, shows (I think) Sam on the wheel, Dee trimming the mainsheet, and Eloide closest to the camera, all of them smiling.

Meanwhile aboard Dongfeng, currently last in the southern group (though just barely; all four are within five miles of each other), Martin (on the helm) and Eric look less happy. OBR Sam posted this to the team’s blog today:

The morning got off to a grim start, albeit Israel was only telling me the facts as he looked over the positions at the chart desk.

“The teams that went North will smash us, we should have done that.”

At that point we were in last place, or at least near the end of the pack. I never really know for certain. But smash is such a strong word.

“It was a mistake,” admitted Charles. “We wanted to go north but no one else was so we stayed with the group.”

I didn’t say anything, only gave him the look, which has become code for give me something better than that.

“It was a lack of courage,” he admitted.

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The northern route could be in the process of paying off. In the…

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

The northern route could be in the process of paying off. In the latest update Brunel and SCA are in 23 knots of wind, surfing at 19 knots. The four to the south have 9 knots of wind and 9 knots of boatspeed. It’s still early on, and they have a lot of distance to make up, especially given that Auckland is SE of them. But so far they’re looking pretty good.

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“The following day and night are a bit of a blur. I remember huge waves, lots of spray and the back…”

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

The following day and night are a bit of a blur. I remember huge waves, lots of spray and the back of the boat where I have my little office behaving like the last car on a roller coaster that has lost its grip from the track. I remember trying to fulfill my tasks and the very touching support from the rest of the crew that covered my back despite the hard work they had to put in themselves to push the boat forward.

Today I’m back in business.

Team SCA on board reporter Anna-Lena Elled, Leg 4, Day 4 Race Blog

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I believe this is the first on-board video (besides the LiveX…

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

I believe this is the first on-board video (besides the LiveX interview the other day) from SCA on leg 4. Go OBR Anna!

You basically know as soon as you see the forward-facing cockpit view that something is coming. They generally leave that as the “selected” camera, which means if something dramatic happens they can hit the “crash button” at the media station and save the previous few minutes of video.

It’s interesting to compare this video to the one of Wolf getting slammed by the wave on Dongfeng the other day. In that case he seemed to be caught unawares, probably dealing with some seasickness, and the wave was able to tear him loose. In this case it’s Sam (the skipper) who’s on the pedestal, and when the helmswoman (I think maybe Liz?) calls out the warning, you can see Sam crouch down to avoid the worst of it.

I’ve commented before (and Sam has commented herself) about her relative inexperience in her current role. But one thing she knows backwards and forwards from her years of solo and shorthanded racing: how to take care of herself offshore. And just generally, there’s an air of quiet competence in how the crew handles themselves in this clip. I know it’s just one moment. But this is what their training in the Canary Islands focused on: Sailing the boat safely and efficiently in stronger conditions. 

They may not be as fast in the light stuff, not as experienced as the Figaro-honed French sailors on Dongfeng or the top teams aboard ADOR and Brunel at the challenges specific to this race. But these women can seriously sail their boat.

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anonsally replied to your photoset:Going their own way Twice since the start of leg 4…I’ll…

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

I’ll keep my fingers crossed for them!

They’re still going! It’s pretty exciting; this is the first time so far in the race that there’s been this dramatic a split so early in a leg.

It’s a little freaky seeing the “Distance to Lead” number in the tracker suddenly spike up to 130 miles and more, but it’s not real. As far as I’ve been able to find out, there basically are two options for how to handle this part of the course: Stick close to the northern edge of the Philippines, short-tacking along the coast to avoid the strong adverse current that flows through the Luzon Strait, or sail way north toward Taiwan, then cut east and have the benefit of better wind when you finally turn south.

SCA and Brunel are taking the northern route, and we won’t know for a while whether it’s going to pay off or not.

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spoal:Rough Conditions | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 – Volvo Ocean…

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015


Rough Conditions | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 – Volvo Ocean Race

A compilation from all (well most) of the boats from the last couple of days. The only one not represented is SCA, where new OBR Anna-Lena said during today’s Inside Track episode that it’s been a challenge adjusting from her previous role in the team office. Hopefully she’ll be feeling better soon, and able to share more video from the boat.

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Going their own wayTwice since the start of leg 4 SCA has split…

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Going their own way

Twice since the start of leg 4 SCA has split from the fleet. Both times are shown on the tracker screen captures above.

The first time was as they were leaving Sanya a few hours after the start. Apparently there was some ambiguity in the race instructions (I think?) that caused most of the competitors to think they needed to go one way, but Libby and Sam (or someone) on SCA realized that under the rules they could actually take a different, faster route. So they went that way, and it put them briefly in the lead.

The second time was a just a short while ago. The fleet has been on a long port-tack beat toward the northern edge of the Philippines. The lead is a little tricky to judge in the tracker; the boats are going to have to tack onto starboard to get through the Luzon Strait, so they’re actually closer, race-wise, than it appears from a casual glance.

Around sunrise this morning local time, as the fleet sailed into the persistent header around the Philippines, SCA tacked, the first competitor to do so, with Brunel tacking to cover almost immediately while the rest of the fleet continued on port. If it’s the wrong call it could drop them off the back of the fleet. But if it’s the right call it could put them in the lead.

The last two legs have mostly been sailed in light winds, conditions that SCA didn’t train for very intensively. But what they did train for was heavier conditions like these. I’m looking forward to seeing whether the months they spent pounding into the trade winds off Lanzarote will help them be more competitive on this leg.

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Volvo Ocean Race Leg 4

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

The boats left Sanya yesterday, and now are beating east into the South China Sea. In a few days they should round the northern edge of the Philippines via the Luzon Strait, then will head south through the Pacific toward Auckland.

More boat chatter after the cut.


Dongfeng won the Sanya in-port race and currently leads the tightly packed fleet as they finish their first night at sea since the start of the leg. Current overall standings are:

  1. Dongfeng Race Team (5 points)
  2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (6)
  3. Team Brunel (9)
  4. Team Alvimedica (12)
  5. MAPFRE (15)
  6. Team SCA (18)
  7. Team Vestas Wind (20)

Crew changes:

Aboard Dongfeng, Erwan Israel, 34, of France is replacing navigator Pascal Bidégorry. Returning to the boat are Martin Strömberg and Chen Jin Hao (Horace), who previously sailed Legs 1 and 2, and Yang Jiru (Wolf), who previously sailed Leg 1. Besides Pascal, the other crewmembers leaving the boat are Jack Boutell, Liu Xue (Black), and Chen Ying Kit (Kit).

On SCA, Corinna Halloran is off the boat as OBR, replaced by 39-year-old Anna-Lena Elled of Sweden. Liz Wardley (who previously sailed Legs 1 and 2) is back, replacing Sara Hastreiter.

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Sophie Ciszek, Team SCA, January 24, 2015 Source

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Sophie Ciszek, Team SCA, January 24, 2015


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