Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wild Conditions Are Back - Volvo Ocean Race Update

Leg 5 leaders Groupama throttled back to preserve man and boat as the fleet saw a return to the classic Southern Ocean conditions of huge, confused seas and gale-force winds on Tuesday.
Photo: Yann Riou/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
Despite a lead of just 37 nautical miles (nm) Franck Cammas’ crew chose safety over speed to avoid breakages to their Volvo Open 70 as winds hit more than 35 knots and waves grew to around six metres following a brief respite from the thrashing yesterday.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Four of the six-strong fleet have suffered damage so far in the 6,700nm leg from Auckland to Itajaí and Groupama skipper Cammas said in the Southern Ocean, survival must come before speed.

“We had to slow down during the night to nurse the boat and the men,” he said. “We are waiting for the day to come to put some more sails up again.

“It’s more about surviving than racing. For sure it’s been the toughest week since the start of the race.”
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Groupama helmsman Laurent Pagès added: “We have been sailing this way since we got to this part of the ocean where the sea state is really bad.

“When we returned to boat breaking conditions we took our foot off the pedal. We gave some miles to PUMA but it’s all fine because we don’t have any problems on board.”

Despite slowing the boat down, Groupama were hurtling along at an average of 21 knots in the three hours prior to the 1300 UTC position report.
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Hot on their heels were Ken Read’s PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG as both teams passed the eastern ice limit, allowing them to dive south and take the shortest possible route to Cape Horn, around 1,200nm away.

Telefónica slipped to 314 nm off the lead after being forced to hold back to prevent damage to their bow getting worse.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
Still in fourth but heading to southern Chile to carry out repairs to their damaged bow, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand celebrated getting to within 2,000 miles of their destination, Puerto Montt.

“It’s a milestone for us,” said helmsman Tony Rae. “Another step towards getting to land and making the repairs.

“Once we get to Puerto Montt and have a look at the damage we’ll know when we can leave again."
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Just 1415 nm behind the leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were revelling in much less dangerous conditions than the rest of the fleet and looking forward to opportunities further along the course.

“We haven’t seen too much harsh weather since leaving New Zealand so we’re just chipping away and enjoying the downwind Southern Ocean downwind yachting,” said Abu Dhabi’s newest recruit, Australian Olympic sailor Anthony ‘Nocka’ Nossiter.

“We’re happy to be stuck in lighter airs at the back of the fleet if the front guys are going to break their boats in hard core weather. We’ll see how it all plays out.”
Photo: Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
Nocka, who last competed in the Volvo Ocean Race on current CEO Knut Frostad’s Djuice Dragons in 2001-02, added: “We’re quite a long way off the pace with our delayed start time but you never know what could happen.

“The last time I did this race we passed three boats between Cape Horn and the finish.

“It’s like a totally new race after the Horn, it could be a restart.”

Mike Sanderson’s Team Sanya reached Tauranga in New Zealand on Tuesday, five days after a broken rudder forced them to turn back.

Sanya will ship their boat to Savannah in the United States for repairs before sailing it to Miami to rejoin the race for Leg 7.
Leg 5
27/03/2012 13:06:25 UTC
-SNYADid Not Finish
Volvo Ocean Race Media

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