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Posts Tagged ‘volvo ocean race’

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Dee Caffari is quite possibly the hardest woman in the history of sailing.  We don’t need to list her accomplishments here, other than to tell you she was the first – and only – woman to solo circumnavigate in both directions, including an Eastabout trip in a monster steel boat.

Dee’s new challenge may be her toughest yet, and we salute the folks at the Volvo Ocean Race for signing her up for Boat 6 – an environmental and education platform that’s more about PR and outreach than it is about assembling a world-beating team.  That’s not to say she has no chance; with a free hand as skipper and without the big-sponsor politics that came along with Team SCA, Dee may finally be able to show what her project management and teaching skills can do.

But it won’t be easy, and at this late date, it might be a shit show.  No matter: She’s the consummate seaman (seaperson?) and her inclusion in the race means the pro-youth, pro-environmental message will have a hell of a communicator to deliver it.  Listen to The Sailing Show podcast for 22 solid minutes with Dee about the upcoming Team Dee, and as always, hit the VOR forum for the latest chatter.

June 24th, 2017 by admin

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A sharp-eyed Anarchist found the Volvo Ocean Race’s tender proposal for the inshore foiling multihull portion of the VOR’s new format, and it’s as forward-thinking as we hoped.  Will the VOR’s next in-port series provide the kind of kick start to the sport that the Volvo Extreme 40 did back in 2004-5?  Read the full six pages here, or read on for the bits we found interesting:

“boats must be capable of close, foil borne racing in a wide range of conditions…winds of up to 30 knots.”  We likey.

“The design must be capable of stable foiling with minimal adjustment from the sailing team…a design that…provides a stable foiling platform…without complex and/or expensive, constant manual trimming. Stored energy may be considered, as well as the automation of certain trim and foil control.”  In other words, these boats will fly without input from the sailing team. It’s the ‘holy grail’ of foiling that some top foilers have been chasing for a decade; powered, automated, electronically controlled flying that removes most of the grinding and foil-driver positions from the boat.  Good for women and younger sailors, great for spectators.

“A ‘lake’ version should be considered – designed for sailing in considerably lighter winds”.  Because Hong Kong.  Also, because something’s gotta go racing in a series between VORs?

We will consider a solid wing, mast and sail, or a hybrid combination. Tenderers are encouraged to think ‘out of the box’ when developing their submission.  Who knows what you get when you ask designers specifically to ‘get crazy’?

Maximum cost expected c.750,000 Euros for each of the 8-10 boats of 32-50 feet.  Note the cost of the 33′ DNA TF-10 trimaran is not far off this number…

 

June 8th, 2017 by admin

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On the 21st episode of the Sailing Anarchy Podcast, we go straight to the source for an analysis of the new direction announced last week by the Volvo Ocean Race.  First, Clean updates us on the Podcast’s status, tells us his story of hunting and killing a 300 pound alligator in Charleston, and gives us his view on the new Volvo plans.  Then VOR big boss Mark Turner explains the reasons for their decision to use foiling monohulls for the offshore legs and foiling multihulls for the inshore legs of the two or three races following the next one.  Listen for Turner’s views on what other options they considered, what the new 60 footer will look like and how it is expected to perform, how the new lease model will effect the organization, and why teams have had such difficulty finding major sponsors.  The discussion moves to the timetable for full flying boats to take over the race and safety considerations between mono and multihulls, and finally what kind of events would make up the more permanent annual racing schedule for VOR teams.

Next we spoke to Nick Bice, Director of Boats and Maintenance and founder of the Boatyard, about more technical matters: How, exactly, a new-rules VO60 can be converted to an IMOCA-legal Open 60, what kinds of differences does a Volvo require compared to a singlehanded boat, and a whole lot on foil control systems and logistics for a two-fleet race owned entirely by Volvo.  Clean and Bicey got deep into the subject of the continually shrinking crew component and the impact of this shrinking pool to ocean racing and the sport in general, and plenty more.

Finally, we spoke to pro trimmer and former VO70 crew (ABN AMRO2, 2005) and medical officer George Peet on the anniversary of his crewmate Hans Horrovets’ death about a race that remains very close to his heart.  GP and Clean got deeper into crewing issues with a general discussion of the state of professional offshore racing as well as the usual pull-no-punches analysis of the new classes with a guy who always tells the truth.  As a bonus, we got Bear – one of the nation’s top Moth racers – to give us his America’s Cup picks…

Enjoy, and subscribe to the SA Podcast for more great shit (iTunes, Stitcher) , including our full form guide and preview of the America’s Cup dropping today.

May 27th, 2017 by admin

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The best-kept secret in sailing (outside of ETNZ’s wing control) comes at the end of a long press conference from Volvo HQ in Gothenburg, SWE.  Here’s a synopsis of Mark Turner’s speech, in order of importance (to us), and we encourage you to post any comments or questions you have for Turner and the VOR in the synopsis thread so Clean can fire ’em at Turner later for an interview to be published this weekend.

1) The offshore portions of the 2019 or 2020 Volvo Ocean Race will be contested in what the new design chief calls a ‘Turbo IMOCA’; 60 foot foiling monohulls with adjustable-flap foils; while the in-port racing will happen in foiling cats.  The 60 footer will be ‘convertible’ to an IMOCA, and the VOR in-house design team led by Guillaume Verdier.  The cats are being opened up to a design tender process starting today at between 32 and 50 feet.

2) The 2020 Race has a wishlist of 8 teams, and all boats will be owned by VOR and leased to teams in an attempt to reduce the initial barriers to a new team/sponsor.  Turner says the new lease program and pooled services program allows a similar budget for future races to that of today’s programs. This lease thing is a BIG deal, and speaks as much to Turner’s cred with the Volvo Board as anything.  One paper calls the new moves (including the design and build process) a USD$50 million price tag for Volvo.

3) Sustainability looks to be a real goal this time rather than just more lip service to ‘green’ sponsors.  VOR spent the last ten years bowing primarily to the god of social media – their new pet deity is now a clean ocean, and they’ve got funding and support from 11th Hour, Akzo, and the United Nations, and their goal is a fleet of Zero Emission races.  2017/18 sustainable goals will be met with help of rules requiring team use of official RIBs, hydrogenerator minimums, fuel maximums, etc.

4) It’s obvious the VOR has struggled pulling in team sponsors – that’s why you saw the Hong Kong team’s offer accepted yesterday, why there are still 3 empty boats, and why VOR is still trying to find someone to run a ‘clean the oceans’ entry for an all-women/all-youth/50/50 mixed team for the coming edition they say is already half funded.

5) Volvo and the VOR have formed a major partnership with World Sailing, principally to help create a pipeline for young sailors to become offshore pros and VOR crews.  This includes new VOR Academies (presumably in partnership with existing organizations) and keeps Turner and his hefty experience involved in the possibility of the offshore racing Olympic event that World Sailing has been chasing from the IOC.

6) Course may be radically different, especially for the 50th anniversary 2023 event.  More racing between races or a straight up 2-year race cycle, with race activity every year.  Maybe a crewed non-stop race around Antarctica.

 

May 18th, 2017 by admin

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We reported on two dismastings last week (one of which including a full de-boating as well), and the rest of the story – or at least more of each – has popped up in video format.

First, a fairly short look at Mapfre in their training accident, with no actual footage of the bang (though we all know they have it!), but some pre and post-dismasting work getting things tidy.  The Volvo thread is the place to talk about it.

Second is way more terrifying – it’s the full, 8+minute long shot of the Martin 242 we reported getting washed under the Long Beach pier last week on its way out to beer can racing.  This video includes some rescue and even a look at the boat bashing itself to pieces.  Watch carefully, never repeat their mistakes, and head over to the thread to tell everyone how you would’ve done it. 

 

April 4th, 2017 by admin

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Screen Shot 2017-03-20 at 9.47.15 PMClean Report

UPDATE: WATCH THE ANNOUNCEMENT LIVE FROM 0930 HERE.

As we mentioned when we broke the exclusive news that a true blue US team was back in the VOR, we were going to leave a little to the imagination about some of the moving parts of the new team.  Both title sponsors were extremely sensitive about their message and branding were presented at the right time, which is tomorrow (Tuesday) at an 0930 press conference at Sail Newport.

With all those months of secrecy amid toothy nondisclosure efforts, it was something of a surprise to see the well-guarded name of the new team – including both organizations behind it – pop up on Facebook the day before the big, live reveal.  As you’ll note from the pic to the left, the joint US/Danish effort will come with backing from the massive Danish turbine builder along with an environmental organization that’s been balls deep in smaller boat sailing for years.

You can certainly understand why Vestas wants to control their message so strongly, seeing as how they were something of a laughing stock in Denmark after their unscheduled date with an Indian Ocean reef and the months of ensuing mayhem. You can also understand 11th Hour Racing’s cautiousness; we all know that bad shit can happen when the scent of billionaire hits the water in this sport, even if the water is that much cleaner thanks to the Schmidt Family Foundation and fortune.

You can also understand the color scheme we previewed for you with that spy shot of Bicey last week; blue for Vestas, and blue/orange stripes for 11th Hour Racing.  Check back here in the morning for the live stream of the newest eco-team in the sport, and let’s find out which Dane(s) will join Charlie and Mark in the upcoming race.

And if you’re in the social media business, give the team a shout; they may be looking for someone new after today’s unintentional leak!

 

March 20th, 2017 by admin

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Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15 - Leg 7 to Lisbon

Clean Report – WORLD EXCLUSIVE

The folks at VOR love to tease you with cutesy non-announcements, but there’s a reason you rarely see similar tactics in the world of high-flying PR.  The reason? Because it gets guys like me charged up to dig into the story before Volvo deigns to release it.

So when we got the “Team 4 Confirmed” news from the VOR staff, we started burning the FaceTwitSkype lines, and it didn’t take long to get the world exclusive story for our readers – and that story is great news for anyone who wants to see offshore racing in the USA reach the kind of audience that only the VOR can.

We can now confirm that an American-led team is BACK in the race under the able leadership of Charlie Enright and Mark Towill.  While we won’t tell you who they are, we can also confirm that the two sponsors we’ve learned of are great partners for the sport of sailing, and we’re stoked to see them involved in the race. There are also some interesting dynamics involved in the new team, but now that we’ve busted open the biggest mystery, we’ll save that news for you for a bit.

If you’re in the Newport area you can find out more at the Tuesday press conference, and we promise to have the first big interview with the boys once the news has been officially announced.  Talk about it here.

Amory Ross Photo

March 15th, 2017 by admin

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Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 1.12.51 PMBig Pimpin’

What do the Vendee Globe champion, the Volvo Ocean Race winner and the solo mono 24 distance record holder all have in common? They all trust one company to keep them warm and dry wherever the hell on the globe they find themselves.

Armel Le Cle’ach and his entire Banque Populaire team stood out amongst the throng in the Vendee start village with their smart and sexy shoreside Musto gear, while Armel showed just how smart he is offshore with a brilliant, textbook race that let him finish some unfinished business.   Congratulations to both Armel and Alex and to Musto – pwning offshore for generations. Learn more at Musto’s site.

January 20th, 2017 by admin

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screen-shot-2017-01-02-at-1-11-41-pmWe suspect this little nugget is simply yet another example of the mess that is the Vendee Globe’s official English coverage, but maybe – just maybe – there’s more to the lower/thirds title slip up caught by an observant Anarchist watching the 28 Dec “Vendee Live” show on Facebook.

Look carefully under Alex Thomson team member “Neal McDonald” and you’ll note it says “Alex Thomson Racing Volvo Race Skipper”, and we’re not quite sure why.  Did the VG producer simply forget to put Mac’s ‘title’ on another line, or did someone sending over title graphics make a freudian slip because they know too much?  Could it be possible that Alex – and Hugo Boss’s – next big challenge will be a crewed one?  VOR boss Mark Turner and Thomson go way back and there’s precious little going on in IMOCA world for quite some time…and of course, much stranger things have happened.  What do you think?

 

January 2nd, 2017 by admin

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The MUSTO + Torqeedo “Cleanin’ Up Europe” report continues with this hour-long jaunt in Western France.

Easily one of the most influential people in all of sailing over the past decade and a half, Mark Turner has done it all.  A naval officer turned Mini racer, Turner jumped into the management side of yacht racing with his wildly successful running of Ellen Macarthur’s campaigns – and he’s never looked back.  The creator of modern “Stadium Sailing” and innovator of sailing events in dozens of countries, Mark moves into the top spot in the world’s most widely followed ocean race against a fast-changing landscape in boat technology and event marketing, and he shared a full 1h40 with Mr. Clean at the Vendee Globe this past Friday to talk about it.

The boys got into some of the most important issues touching sailing, and Turner’s characteristic bluntness is refreshing as hell.  Wanna get into the groundbreaking new rules to integrate more women into the VOR?  we got that.  Or the deadline for the decision on the next Volvo Ocean Race boat and the possible boat choices? It’s in that chat.  Or maybe you’re looking for info on the $1M refit of the existing VO65s or the new AIS rules and incentives to pull a flier?  Click “PLAY”. Want to know exactly what’s wrong with ISAF and why Turner leaked an internal marketing document a few weeks back?  Listen.  What about emerging nations, the loss of Abu Dhabi as a sponsor, and how the recent Omani and Chinese offshore tragedies have effected those new sailing countries?  Give us an hour and forty.  And like all conversations with Mark, if you want to understand more about the commercial end of event and sponsor management, this guy knows it ALL.

Enjoy, and a big thanks to MUSTO and Torqeedo for presenting all of our Vendee, ISAF World Council, and METS coverage this month.  Also thanks to Bruce Schwab and Ocean Planet Energy for their support of our coverage.

November 5th, 2016 by admin

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