Thursday, March 22, 2012

Repairs For Sanya As Fleet Sails On - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Team Sanya are working to repair damage to their boat after a broken windward rudder caused the aft compartment of the boat to take on water while they were leading Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajaí in Brazil.
Photo: Andres Soriano/Team Sanya/Volvo Ocean Race
The team, skippered by the experienced New Zealander Mike Sanderson, said they were working through the aft deck hatch to pump water from the aft watertight compartment. There is no water leaking into the main compartment of the boat.

Volvo Open 70s have two rudders and each boat also carries one extra emergency rudder. This rudder can be mounted either on the stern or through the same bearings as the original rudders.

The leading pack of five had hoisted masthead spinnakers and were scorching downwind, having hooked into the westerly depression they were hoping for.

The sixth boat in the fleet, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing still has 354 nautical miles to make up after restarting from Auckland 24 hours after the fleet, having returned to Auckland to make repairs. The team have had to head north to evade some lighter winds and the gap between the leaders will grow considerably.

While CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Groupama sailing team and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG are keeping close quarters, Sanya had taken a more southerly course, and before suffering damage had been able to sail fractionally faster than the chasing pack.

On board Telefónica, navigator Andrew Cape warned that the wind strength will soon increase to 30 or 35 knots. Overnight the team saw two huge whales as well as a large albatross confirming that this is the true Southern Ocean at last.

According to Hamish Hooper, Media Crew Member with CAMPER, there is a sense of real excitement on board, as they finally begin some fast downwind sailing in good breeze. As he steered the boat, skipper Chris Nicholson commented that he had forgotten just how fun and intoxicating the Volvo Open 70s are when they light up and take off in conditions they are designed to be sailed in.

Co-skipper Stu Bannatyne, who has often referred to Southern Ocean sailing as ‘the reason we do this Volvo Ocean Race’ said today, “Without a doubt, the best sailing in the world is downwind sailing in the Southern Ocean – no question about that. We are about to get a bit of it. Our tactics for sailing from here to Cape Horn are to be safe and go fast.”

For Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, this leg continues to be a struggle. Despite an exciting day or two gaining many miles over the fleet, it is now clear that the leaders are escaping in strong downwind conditions to the south-east of the team. The result of this is that Abu Dhabi will be alone as they cross the Southern Ocean.

“Our safety net of the other boats will be hundreds of miles away downwind. This is not ideal, but it is situation we knew was very likely when we left Auckland 24-hours after the fleet. It is something we will condition in every decision and move we make,” skipper Ian Walker said.

The next hurdle for the fleet will be to ensure they keep to the north of the western ice limit, 500 nm ahead.
Leg 5
22/03/2012 10:12:00 UTC
Volvo Ocean Race Media

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