Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Telefónica In For A Wet and Wild Ride - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Action packed adrenalin pumping racing is expected for the three boats left racing in Leg 1 who are hoping to ride a fast moving South Atlantic cold front all the way to Cape Town.
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
Team Telefónica have battened down the hatches ahead of the storm system which has already pushed their boat speed up to almost 30 knots. Despite travelling at breakneck speed navigator Andrew Cape reckons the boat and crew are in complete control and ready to go even faster.
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
“We’re at the beginning of a front so we’re getting ready for the big speeds. We are already seeing 25 – 30 knots of breeze and the next day or so is going to be quite exciting for us.We’re already averaging 24 knots so it’s already getting a bit spooky. We’re preparing ourselves for a lot more than that and for a full 36 hours of it. It’ll be a good ride,” Cape said.
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
Historically the final section of this leg is where 24-hour distance records are set. Mike Sanderson on ABN AMRO 1 (563 nm) and Torben Grael on Ericsson 4 (696.8 nm) respectively turned in record setting performances here in the last two races. Sanderson’s chances of another record attempt in this race ended when bow damage to Team Sanya sidelined him for the first leg.
Salthouse Boatbuilders working on Sanya's new bow section in Cape Town Photo: Mark Bow/Volvo Ocean Race
However, according to race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante, the speed in which the cold front is travelling will only allow for a very small window of opportunity for a record attempt this time around
Photo: Mark Bow/Volvo Ocean Race
“The front itself is moving at around 40 knots so the boats will not be able to ride it all the way to Cape Town. To break the record they will have to average faster than 24.85 nautical miles over a 24 hour period and the record attempt weather window could shut as early 1200 UTC tomorrow,” Infante said.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race 
He believes the timing of the cold front will benefit Telefónica the most, with Chris Nicholson’s second placed CAMPER arriving a little too late for the full effect.

Third placed Franck Cammas’ Groupama sailing team may have to dig much deeper south to avoid being caught by a secondary windless high pressure system which could keep them at sea for days.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race 
With a 130 nautical mile distance to finish lead over CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Cape says Telefónica will have to strike a balance between speed and caution on the run in to Cape Town.

“Clearly we don’t want to break anything but we do still have to push the boat to get in on time. If we delay it just gets worse and worse. We’ve definitely got the racing sails up and going full speed.”
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
He is very happy with Telefónica’s positioning in relation to the chasing CAMPER, but also strikes a note of caution.
Mike Pammenter's recently operated on smile Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race 
“We’re 50 miles due south which is very important. We get a better angle on the breeze and we ride the front for longer. They will get the lighter airs earlier so we will still need to keep an eye on them and make sure we don’t leave ourselves exposed.”
 The tanker is a welcome sight for PUMA Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
As for record attempts, Cape agrees that breaking the monohull world record is unlikely, but believes the IWC Schaffhausen speed distance challenge prize for the fastest 24 hour run on Leg 1 could be set.

“We’ve got at least 30 hours of sailing in good strong breeze and we’ve seen 29 knots of boat speed in the last couple of hours but the potential speed is easily in excess of 30 knots. We could average 26 knots if we choose to do so. I think everyone is pretty happy with where they are right now so the most important thing is not to break anything.”
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Cape also confessed that after nearly three weeks of non-stop ocean racing the Telefónica crew were ready to get ashore.

“Everyone just wants to get in now. We’ve had enough. We’ve been out here 18 days, got three more days to go and they are going to be wet, scary days. I think everyone’s anxious to get in, have a beer, see their families.”
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Latest routing predictions suggest that Team Telefónica could finish the first leg in Cape Town on the evening of Sunday November 27.
Photo: Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
After being forced to retire from the leg, Ken Read's dismasted PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG accepted fuel from a container ship last night allowing them to continue to motor under jury rig to the island of Tristan de Cunha to rendezvous with their shore crew.

Leg 1
Report: 23/11/2011 16:00:51 UTC
-ADORRetired from Leg 1
-PUMARetired from Leg 1
-SNYARetired from Leg 1

Lulu Roseman

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