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Crossing

Looks like some potential rules trouble that the VOR might be sweeping under the rug. It would appear that Dongfeng, Mapfre, and SCA entered the feared Traffic Safety Separation Exclusion Zone. Below is Abu Dhabi’s Matt Knighton’s perspective. Jump in the thread here for all the dope!

“I wanted to be in front of Dongfeng so we could control them”, Ian said in frustration as he sat on the bow in the light wind. “Now because of all this Exclusion Zone business, they’ve managed to slip away from us.”
Just minutes earlier, we had gybed several times around an invisible mark in the ocean. The spectators on the last few power boats shadowing us would never have guessed it was there – there was no blinking buoy or square floating mark – it’s marked by GPS coordinates.

This specific mark was the corner of a larger box that forms a Traffic Safety Separation Exclusion Zone. Consisting of two lanes for incoming and outgoing ships with a figurative barrier between, oceangoing vessels use these TSS areas for safety in high traffic areas. Before the leg, race management decided that teams needed to either respect the correct flow of traffic in the lanes or not enter the zone at all.
Dongfeng, Mapfre, and SCA entered the zone.

We watched as their courses on the nav computer sailed deeper and deeper into the red colored box against the traffic flow. Their routes didn’t just cut the corner on a piece of open water with little significance – no, they were the equivalent of riding a bike across an eight-lane highway and then turning left into oncoming traffic.

They had raced several miles down the course while we had to perform several tacks to get around the zone. Ian, SiFi, and the rest of the guys – still buzzing on deck from the magnificent send-off in Newport – were furious at the loss.

The day has now turned to a familiar darkness and below deck you can hear the light drips of water on deck from the dense fog bank we’re sailing through. The deck is faintly glowing through a dull haze lit by the red instrument lights.
Chuny somehow managed to smuggle a half dozen bags of potato chips onboard before we left and just broke a bag open. Sharing it with all the guys gathered around the nav station, there’s a faint crunching sound as every eye is fixed on the gap that’s growing between Dongfeng and ourselves. Will there be a penalty? We don’t know. All we can do now is chase them down as Lisbon grows nearer on the horizon.”

 

May 18th, 2015

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Light sea breeze and gorgeous 80-degree temps mean a great day for watching sailboat racing.  At least if you’re down here in Newport.  Enjoy.

 

May 17th, 2015

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You’ve got 40 minutes left before the start of Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race.  Spend the next 15 getting the very latest news from Mr. Clean’s Dock Walk, finished just minutes ago in a full frenzied Newport.

May 17th, 2015

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mapfre

Big red Mapfre getting the win in Newport. Thanks to Mike Jones / Waterline Media for the shot.

 

May 17th, 2015

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Dongfeng Mainsail Replacement.

Comments in the Sailing Anarchy Forums have even spoken about a conspiracy regarding Dongfeng’s mainsail so I thought it was time to comment, with a few facts thrown in about the real picture.

1. The rules have always allowed the use of a replacement sail – from the pre-race sail inventory if none is available in the race sails.

2. Dongfeng had not potentially “put themselves out of this race” in the words of some less informed anarchists. Their mainsail damage was 100% the result of a mast breakage and the inability (danger to life and limb) of putting someone up the poorly supported remains of the mast resulting in loss of the top section of the mainsail and laminate damage to a significant portion of what was left. Unless of course you believe they deliberately broke their mast, retired from the leg and the resultant 8 points that earned them.

3. SCA’s damage was down to a broach in heavy weather so far more of a ‘racing incident’ than any damage caused to Dongfeng. Still unfortunate but…..

4. The Dongfeng ruling makes two clear points that the SCA ruling does not. A/ it was felt that Option 1 on the repair would have potentially given DFRT a performance advantage by having a less stretched top section especially in heavy air (there were skippers from 2 or 3 other teams present) THAT IS A DEFINATE NO NO. Option 2 would (OK – in the opinion of those present and particularly the IJ if you want to split hairs) would have left a sail that could give way in heavy weather that could cause a safety risk to the boat and crew which is NEVER acceptable.

This whole thing is rather like the footballer (soccer player for our American fans) who falls over in the penalty area. If the referee doesn’t give a penalty one set of fans will cheer, the others will boo him off the field. If he does give a penalty the opposite will happen. That, as I see it, is exactly what we see here.

I wonder if arguments in SCA’s favour, and against Dongfeng, would be quite so strong if gender was taken out of it and FDRT wasn’t a Chinese entry – just saying. I am sure much of DFRT argument was they didn’t want to unnecessarily spend 30 grand (the figure quoted in the North Sails damage report) or take the cheaper option that could put boat & crew at risk should the repair fail (North themselves reckoned that could happen – read their report)and the other skippers certainly didn’t want fresher sailcloth at the top of DFRT’s mast.

The talk here on the forum of DFRT getting a new mainsail, is of course complete fabrication (or total lack of understanding as to how much use the pre-race sails got). The pre-race sail, with the amount of training DFRT did before the race – Round Britain Ireland, half a Sanya-Auckland leg, a TransAtlantic and multiple long training stints means that the ACTUAL mileage between the sail destroyed at Cape Horn and the pre-race sail is far from what some people have suggested, if at all. New mainsail indeed!

The decision of the IJ has NOT handed DFRT an advantage which it was felt an Option 1 repair could have done although it could also be said that it simply didn’t hand DFRT a massive disadvantage had they ruled that Option 2 had to be carried out.  I freely admit to both being a fan and in complete admiration for what Charles has achieved with his crew including the Chinese (can hardly call them rookies anymore) sailors but I have tried looking at this situation taking into account the following

1. As someone on the forums mentioned, the undoubted integrity of the International Jury. I have mentioned my personal experience of two of the members and would back their ability knowledge and integrity 100% and it is a pretty safe assumption regarding the other jury members.

2. I have seen or read the report on the damage to both sails and agree damage to both sails is severe. However the top ¼ to 1/3 of a mainsail may be up the mast in the strongest of winds and that would not be the case for an FC0

3. We don’t know the strength of the arguments in each hearing however the presence of the other skippers in DFRT’s case would point to their concern regarding performance gains and it would appear the IJ have treaded the path between increased performance and reduced safety – not an easy job.

I would add that, Alvimedica apart, I know and/or admire people on every boat which leads me to wish everyone has a safe AND fair conclusion to what – thus far – has been one of the most exciting Whitbread/Volvos and I have followed them all and been involved on the fringes of a few. The decision is what it is and has been made now let’s get back to following one hell of a yacht race! - Shanghai Sailor.

 

May 17th, 2015

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If you’re getting tired of Volvo Ocean Race videos, you’ll probably want to look away.  But if you like straight talk from the leaders of the race about some very serious and some not-so-serious topics, spend another hour with Clean, Nic, Charles Caudrelier, Ian Walker, and Mark Turner and watch this show.

 

May 16th, 2015

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MAPFRE wins the In-Port Race and then hits the bricks as they wave to the tens of thousands of spectators at Fort Adams.  Soundtrack courtesy of Team Vestas Wind.  UPDATE: MAPFRE diver is down prepping ‘a few scratches’ for underwater epoxy.  No hauling allowed without a penalty, no big worries until the repair falls off!

UPDATE 2: Knut said that the Spanish team can haul and repair, but team spokesperson Helena Paz says that it will not be necessary, as the damage is minor.  A happ-ish ending after MAPFRE’s first In-Port victory of the VOR.

 

 

May 16th, 2015

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Don’t even think about watching the Newport in-port race without getting the last-minute goss from Clean and the team.  Here’s yet another excellent Dock Walk at the VOR dockout, brought to you by our friends at Sperry.

May 16th, 2015

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With the Race Village registering just under 100,000 bodies through the gate as of Saturday noon, Newport has now doubled the numbers of every other VOR stopover in the modern era.  With a nice 12-15 knot sea breeze, the weather is showing off too, and the silver-tonghed Kenny Read will be joining Knut, Nico, and Nialls in the commentary chair for today’s In-Port Race.  Watch it live above.

 

May 16th, 2015

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Clean Report

Opinion amongst Volvo vets is unanimous that Newport is light years beyond any of the recent US Volvo Ocean Race stopovers in every way, and we’re extremely glad we’re here to be part of it this week thanks to our friends at Sperry and the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard.

With so much staff coverage available from the teams and VOR media, we wanted to give you something different this week, and today at 1130 PST/1430 EST/1830 UTC, we’re bringing you Sailing Anarchy’s first-ever live, two-camera talk show from the Volvo Ocean Race Boatyard – in front of a live audience!  We haven’t skimped on guests, either, and since we’ve been wanting to sit down with the leaders of Team SCA for some time now, we asked, and they thankfully agreed!  Team CEO Richard Brisius, Performance Director Brad Jackson, and the afterguard of Dee, Sam, and Sally will sit down with co-host Nic Douglass and me for an hour-long chat about everything VOR.  We want to know all about their race, and all about them.  What’s the future look like for Team SCA, and what does their race mean for their careers, for their fans, for their families, for their sponsors…

You’ve already given us some great questions; please head over to the thread and post more, or hit us up on Twitter and use the hashtag @asksailinganarchy if you want yours answered today; the best three questions win Team SCA t-shirts, but you only have a couple hours to get ‘em in.  Wanna learn more about the girls?  Check out the brand new well-produced reality series No Ordinary Women.  We’ve enjoyed the first two episodes, and we think you will too.  And don’t fret if you miss our show today; it will be archived for your pleasure here.

And if you have questions for VOR CEO Knut Frostad, Boatyard Director Nick Bice, the two guys tussling for the race lead; Ian Walker and Charles Caudrelier, or Vestas skipper Chris Nicholson, get those questions in too; we’re recording their show tonight for publication tomorrow morning at around 1000 EST.

Nic’s been doing a great job getting interviews with all the boys and girls; head over to her channel here for a stack of interviews that go far beyond the usual tripe.  And be sure to keep an eye on SA Twitter and Facebook for many more face-to-faces coming up this weekend, especially for the last-minute pre-race Dock Walk video posted to our page, 20 minutes after dock out for the In-Port Race and Leg Start.

 

May 15th, 2015

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