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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

French Fight Hard to Get To Auckland First - Volvo Ocean Race Update

“The mean green reaching machine Groupama 4 is on fire, we’re flying, sailing really well,” says bowman and boat captain Martin Krite as the team consolidates its lead to 80.7 nautical miles with just under 3,000 nm to go to the finish in Auckland.
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Sheets eased and high mileage in the open ocean are exactly the conditions the Volvo Open 70s are designed for, and during today Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) became the fourth boat in the six-boat fleet to break the 500 nm barrier, covering 500.32 in the past 24 hours.
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
But, speed comes with a price. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand split their number 2 headsail and the crew of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) had to repair to their daggerboard crane. Both teams have completed the jobs and the two boats are back up to speed, trying to regain the miles lost.
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
It’s not just the boats that are being battered by the fierce but fun conditions, bodies and minds are suffering too.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
“With another 30+ hours of similar conditions, there is bound to be more action. People are beginning to wear thin and the non-stop fire hosing is taking its toll on bodies and minds,” reported Nick Dana, media crew member (MCM) with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Skipper Ian Walker was pinned between the rail and the heaviest sail earlier today. His shin took the brunt of it and he was struggling to bear weight on his foot. Feeling nauseous with pain, he crawled down below to rest. “Most likely it is just a bad bone bruise, but it hurt like you wouldn’t believe,” the skipper said from the confines of his bunk.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Another casualty onboard the Emirati boat was watch leader Craig Satterthwaite, who when standing just in front of the steering guard cage was engulfed in a massive wave that broke over the boat just forward of the beam, sending a large wall of water crashing over the boat. In the deluge, Satterthwaite’s upper body was crushed against the titanium guard, causing possible bruising to his rib cage; otherwise, he was wet but unharmed.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
“It is becoming difficult to look after yourself out here, let alone trim a sail,” commented their bowman Justin Slattery. “It’s good preparation for the Southern Ocean though, and we needed to do some more of this kind of sailing before getting down in a less forgiving environment,” he said. “This is a walk in the park compared with what we will see down south,” he added.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
At 1600 UTC today, all five boats chasing Groupama 4 had made small inroads into their lead, which stood at 79.10 nm, however at 1900 UTC tonight, Groupama 4 has pulled out two miles on PUMA who is 80.70 nm behind in second place. Telefónica has gained a mile and is 10 nm behind the big cat in third, while CAMPER has managed to stop the bleeding and has her big headsail set. Only five nm behind is Ian Walker and his men. Losing a mile in the last three hour sis Team Sanya who is 156.6 off the lead. Average speeds over the last three hours are all around 19 – 20 knot mark.
Leg 4
29/02/2012 19:02:47 UTC
DTLDTLCBSDTF
1GPMA0.000202989.8
2PUMA80.702193070.5
3TELE90.20120.13080.1
4CMPR105.100193094.9
5ADOR110.50120.33100.3
6SNYA152.60119.53142.4
Volvo Ocean Race Media

CAMPER Rips Headsail and Slows - Volvo Ocean Race Update

The fleet’s adrenaline fueled dash through the Pacific in winds up to 34 knots has seen some near record breaking performances but has also taken its toll on the boats with several teams reporting equipment damage.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Chris Nicholson’s CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand suffered the biggest breakdown last night when they tore their vital J2 headsail in two pieces after the line fixing it to the bow snapped under load.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
The crew quickly got the flogging sail down below and hoisted a replacement but saw their speed slip from more than 20 knots to 17 and lost more than 60 nautical miles to Groupama while they carried out on board repairs.

Navigator Will Oxley said the operation to retrieve the massive sail required the entire crew but had gone off smoothly despite taking place in darkness.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
“Every manoeuvre in these boats is a case of all hands on deck,” Oxley said. “When you’re close reaching like this going over 20 knots the seas are coming over the side are pretty brutal.

“You can’t steer without a helmet and you can’t look into the wind otherwise you quickly get blinded. If you imagine sticking your head out of a car window at 60 kilometres an hour into driving rain. That might give you an indication of what it’s like.”
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
“It took about 20 hours to get the sail back up. It was a massive task. They had to get it below, dry it, find where the rip was and come up with a plan for the repair.

“Then they had to join the two pieces together and lay cloth over the top of that, glue it and then stitch it. It was a very long procedure. Sometimes I’m not sure how they do it. The sail is so big and the boat is so small that putting it back together is very impressive.”
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson confirmed the setback had been costly.

“On the last three position reports we have probably dropped six miles on average on each one. We just can’t afford to have many more of them,” he said.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Meanwhile, leg leaders Groupama sailing team, second placed PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG and fifth-placed Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, each racked up more than 500 nautical miles (nm) in 24 hours averaging speeds over 20 knots.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
PUMA sailed 525 nautical miles at an average speed of 21.8 knots in a 24 period, approaching the current race record of 554 nautical miles set by CAMPER during the first leg.

Groupama were next best posting 520 nm at an average of 21.6 knots with fifth placed Abu Dhabi turning in a 511 nautical miles 24 hour run at an average of 21.3 knots.

“It feels good to be going fast, psychologically at least,” said PUMA MCM Amory Ross. “Sailing this way is fun, and it’s what everyone thinks about when they sign up to sail around the world.

Groupama watch captain Thomas Coville said the conditions were really aggressive for the crew and the driver in particular.

“It’s very wet on board,” Coville said. “We’re sailing 90 degrees from the wind and 90 degrees from the waves.

“We all have burning eyes at the moment from the salt. These conditions are for sure very extreme but it’s a lot of fun going 25 knots.”

At the 1300 UTC position report Groupama was more than 3,100 nm away from Auckland and held an almost 82 nm lead over PUMA with Iker Martínez’s Team Telefónica a further 15 nm behind based on their relative distances to finish.

CAMPER had dropped to fourth ahead of fifth placed Abu Dhabi, the fastest boat in the fleet with an average speed of 22.2 knots.

Mike Sanderson’s Team Sanya remained in sixth, almost 155 nm off the lead.
Leg 4
29/02/2012 13:01:40 UTC
DTLDTLCBSDTF
1GPMA0.00019.83105.9
2PUMA81.60221.73187.5
3TELE95.80219.93201.7
4CMPR109.10120.63215.0
5ADOR118.40522.23224.3
6SNYA154.80120.43260.7
Volvo Ocean Race Media