Thursday, June 14, 2012

2011-12 Volvo Ocean Racers safe - could break Ocean Speed Record as gale intensifies

In my last post I worried that lives could be in danger as an intense Low pressure system began to collide with the Azores High. The resultant storm font was creating 45 knot + wind speeds just as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet was sailing into it.

Credit:Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

Over night the fleet has weathered the massive storm - so far - but are still in it's clutches; meanwhile the storm continues to intensify.

This morning (14 Jun 2012, 06:37 UTC - 01:37 EDT) Volvo Ocean Racing media reports,

"It is all about speed! The top quartet of Telefónica, PUMA, Groupama and CAMPER have notched more than 500 nautical miles in the past 24 hours, and there’s still plenty of racetrack left for the teams to break the IWC Schaffhausen 24-hour record.
"As the teams face the ferocious North-Atlantic storm, Team Telefónica continue to lead the race as they chase redemption for some off-form racing of late, but PUMA aren’t far behind in second place.
"Groupama sailing team are slowly clawing back miles they lost after their mainsail got stuck while they were trying to put a reef in as they approached the storm yesterday. The team today edged ahead of CAMPER to claim third place.
"Abu Dhabi remain fourth and Team Sanya are sixth. Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson said his team would play it safe in the hope that the storm may bring one of the other teams unstuck and present his crew with a deserved comeback opportunity.

Read the rest: "At a glance: June 14, 2012" -

For nearly two hours over night, Team Groupama crew struggled to control the boat while crew member Brad Marsh climbed the boat's 31-metre mast three times in more than 20 knots of breeze and rough seas trying to free the jammed mainsail - as gale force winds approached. Groupame finally freed the rigging and dropped the main sail to the deck, then re-hoisted - losing place to 3 boats as the four leaders of the leg battled at the front. By the latest dispatch Groupama is back up with the leaders and the race leg is still as yet undecided.

When the fleet is in absolutely, bloody, murderous seas, the media coming off the ocean's surface almost comes to a halt. It is completely understandable, video taping in these conditions must be near impossible - not only that - satellite phone up-links must be intermittent at best in the midst of these massive storms.

It's too bad though - the parts of the race we'd most like to see a minute by minute account of - are also the least recorded parts of the race.

Image via Volvo Ocean Race Asset Bank


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