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Posts Tagged ‘volvo ocean race’

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Talk shows, live sporties, SCOTWs, flying scows, and one of the biggest races in the world.  It’s another Sailing Anarchy video tour!

kind of a big deal

Ian Walker and Jamie Boag began their Volvo Ocean Race adventure way back in the Green Dragon days, and if anyone’s earned the victory in the world’s premier sailboat race, it’s them.  Clean grabbed Walker and Boagie (both late to their own show, of course) as well as Phil “Wendy” Harmer and best overall OBR Matt Knighton for 45 minutes of chat just before the final awards show last weekend.  Plenty to learn and plenty to laugh about as these boys depressurize after a well-deserved few days of R&R in Sweden.  As all of our VOR coverage, this one is thanks to Sperry, where Odysseys Await.

better late than never

It’s only been 6 years since On-The-Water Anarchy broadcast the first-ever live racing action from a Melges 24 Worlds, and thankfully the cameras are better, the network’s better, and the location and fleet size are both far better than those dismal grey days from the Chesapeake Bay.  The racing, unfortunately, is just as bad – ultra light air began the first four shitty races without much improvement in the forecast – but if you dig sportboats, you’ll still enjoy this live action with 95 boats on the line (half of them Corinthian), and significantly more than the next week’s J/70 Worlds in France.  More links here, and results here.

straight talk sally

Remember all that debate about Saving Sailing?  Team SCA standout Sally Barkow gets to the answer in just a few minutes.  One of our favorite all-time sailor chicks…listen to Sally talk about the race, about inspiring the next generation, about sailing instructors and mentors, all here.

the genny fan club

Who knew when superstar skiff/sportboat/match racer/SCOTW Genny Tulloch came to commentate with Clean and JC at the 2010 America’s Cup that it would be the start of a new career?  While we think the TeamSCA boat might have done well to add her to the race crew, Genny did a lovely job of sharing the 2014-15 VOR with the world through her daily shows and live-finish commentary.  Always a great chat and good chemistry with her old friend Clean, the brilliant GT is always worth watching.

23 proof

We’ve seen the stills, but until there’s video, it never happened.  Last week, the world’s first foiling sportboat proved that, indeed, she does.  Where to from here for the Q23? 


July 1st, 2015 by admin

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Don’t expect a lot of excitement from the conditions of the final Volvo Ocean Race In-Port, but do expect some fireworks between MAPFRE and Alvimedica, for whom the final silliness means the difference between 4th and 5th overall.  Plenty of pride is in play as well, with four boats separated by just four points in the final In-Port tally.  Live soon.

June 27th, 2015 by admin

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Mr. Clean’s final dock walk of the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race is a doozie.  The king of Spain, the princess of Sweden, and plenty of last minute inside knowledge of the boats, the crews and what’s to play for on what is likely a very light air race in the land of the Vikings.  Shot by the legend, Petey Crawford.


June 27th, 2015 by admin

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Big Ben Ainslie popped over to Gothenburg for a short break from the business of foiling to receive the Mange Olsson Award (and give two more out to a pair of standout junior sailors), and we grabbed him to catch up on his new sponsorship deal, on Bermuda’s status as ‘home turf’ for Land Rover Team BAR, on multihulls and the next generation of sailing, and much, much more.  Always a great chat with Sir Ben, and keep your eyes on this page for more interviews from the last day of the #volvooceanrace.


June 27th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-06-23 at 4.27.46 PMNo, this is not a new micro-room in your local IKEA – it’s actually a real, live Swedish jail, perhaps similar to the view of two Volvo Ocean Race sailors who were allegedly arrested last night for assault.

In a story that reminds us that the race is still (thankfully) made up of living and breathing sailors, Gothenburg broadcaster SVT Väst reported that two racers allegedly got into a good one last night with several security guards and police officers, and ended up in the pokey, where they remain.

Our own inquiries revealed that a couple of overzealous security guards decided to show how tough they were when the possibly overserved racers asked for more drinks in the exclusive Ocean Race Club.  According to SVT, two guards were taken to the hospital, one after being kicked in the head and chest, the other after having a chunk taken out of his thumb.

When local police showed up, one of the sailors allegedly resisted arrest, assaulting an officer and guaranteeing it wouldn’t be just an overnight cool-off in the drunk tank.

Several witnesses told Sailing Anarchy that both sailors were from MAPFRE. There’s just something about those (allegedly) fiery latinos.

VOR’s official word is typically sparse: “Two men, who suffered minor injuries, have been released from hospital after being examined as a precaution.  We will follow the Swedish police procedure in not naming those involved. We are working with the authorities to establish the facts. It would be inappropriate for us to comment further while the investigation is continuing.”

This and everything else we can find is in the thread, and stay tuned for interviews, a live talk show, and more during our Sperry supported coverage of everything Gothenburg this week.


June 23rd, 2015 by admin

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It’s your final chance to catch Genny Tulloch and the VOR Live Arrivals team as they welcome in leg winner Alvimedica and VOR winner Abu Dhabi!  We’ll be out on a RIB to bring in the fleet; go to SA’s Facebook Page for our own take on the finish, and be sure to check back in this week for a live talk show with the winning team, some great interviews, and maybe a hard-hitting question or three.


June 22nd, 2015 by admin

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The first spectator video is up from the nasty amputating accident in Lorient, and while the foreshortening of a long lens makes it less than ideal for unraveling exactly what happened, it’s obvious that neither Spindrift 2 nor the AFP photographer were accurate in their accounts of what happened.  Reality is, as usual, somewhere in between.  What do you see?

Spindrift was somewhere they shouldn’t have been, and the RIB driver appears to have been engaged with other traffic when the world’s fastest ocean racing boat came screaming in at about 20 knots.  And the VOR’s exclusion zone is about to get a lot more exclusive…


June 22nd, 2015 by admin

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Charlie and Mark’s Team Alvimedica have a nice buffer for the Hague restart to the final leg of the 2015 Volvo Ocean Race, which means the live coverage is unlikely to be all that interesting, especially if the VOR production team continues to rely on piss-poor phone-call-level sound and the thick Norwegian accent of Knut Frostad (what’s up with that?). But Mark Covell’s back on the microphone and the atmosphere on the ground is electric, with spectators coming out in massive numbers to support Brunel and Bouwe and the kind of racing that fits the steel-headed Dutch mentality to a T.

Mr. Clean got some local flavor during a quick check-in with the Lemster aak (bilge-board racing barges) fleet just before the VO 65s got in the other day, a prelude to hours of Sailing Anarchy live and video coverage from he and Petey Crawford over the next week from Sweden, including a full hour of live chat with ADOR’s Ian Walker and Jamie Boag, the guys behind three long campaigns that finally resulted in the long-cherished VOR win.  In the meantime, enjoy Genny and friends from the studio and the water.

INJURY UPDATE: The French site 20 Minutes writes that the woman injured in the horrific accident between a VOR Lorient marshal RIB and the maxi-trimaran Spindrift 2 has indeed had her leg amputated.  She lost a tremendous amount of blood, but thanks to emergency services, is apparently stable.  The Spindrift team have suspended training and pulled out of the GC32 Cowes Cup ‘out of respect for the victim and those close to her’.   It brings the GC32 Cowes fleet back down to 5, marking yet another bit of bad luck for a Class that just can’t seem to escape it – though they are being considered as one option for the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series fleet, so there’s that.


June 20th, 2015 by admin

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UPDATE DIRECTLY FROM SPINDRIFT 2: While sailing under reduced sail, the Spindrift 2 trimaran collided with the RIB that crossed her path.  A person who was on board the motor boat was seriously injured before being taken over by the rescue and transported to the hospital Scorff Lorient. “We are primarily concerned about the health of the victim. All our thoughts are with her and her family,” said Spindrift 2 skipper Yann Guichard. “The team is deeply affected by this incident and of course, we are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigations.”

Two photographers were thrown from a Volvo Ocean Race marshal boat and one woman reportedly sliced open by the rudder of the RTW Jules Verne record-owning Spindrift 2 during the Lorient start of the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race.  There is precious little actual news about the incident, though one eyewitness told us it was ‘grisly’, and the three shot sequence of the knife-like rudder of the monster trimaran as it passed through the RIB (shot 1, shot 2, shot 3 via Getty/AFP) doesn’t need too much imagination to see just how bad the wounds probably are.

The woman, in her 40s, was airlifted to hospital, and the other three crew were brought in separately.  The VOR has something of a non-statement here, and we’ve been pestering the Spindrift 2 team for something from them as well.

Having seen the lack of awareness from the ‘stake’ or marshal boats at almost every stopover, we’re shocked this hasn’t happened sooner, and the ease with which the inexperienced underestimate the closing speeds of the latest flying and foiling boats makes it inevitable.

This whole thing brings up a much deeper problem that every organizer must now step up and accept; faster sailboats mean support boat drivers MUST BE BETTER TRAINED, and drone operators must be checked out and permitted by each event.  There is no way around it, and the longer we wait, the more people will lose their fingers, their toes, their limbs…or worse.

Photo from AFP via this story in Le Telegramme.

June 17th, 2015 by admin

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Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.16.17 PMAs Wouter Verbraak’s book tour gets underway, Danish newpaper Jyllands-Posten took the opportunity to stir up some controversy about Chris Nicholson’s escaping the TVW grounding without consequence.  We’ve already said our piece about it, but it’s worth having a look at what locals are saying in the title sponsor’s home town; especially about the yacht’s port of registration (Cayman Islands).  Huge thanks to SA’er ‘peterdane’ for the full translation; get into the forum to be part of the debate.

Wouter Verbraak had never before been trapped. Properly trapped. He had never experienced being in a situation he could not envisage a way out of. Not until now.

Wouter is together with eight others on board the yacht Vestas Wind, one of seven yachts competing in what is billed as sailings Formula 1, the Volvo Ocean Race. But Vestas is no longer a racing yacht of carbon and sails. It is more like a timber raft after it has rammed into a reef in the Indian Ocean at 30-35km/h.  Both rudders have broken away, but the boat is not stuck on the reef, it is with the help of the wind and waves being thrown further onto the reef which it has hit 5-10 minutes earlier. Again and again. The impact is huge and it is difficult for Chris Nicholson and his crew to hold on.

The crew tries, but does not succeed to get the boat off the reef. Big waves washes over the boats bow and side, Wouter Verbraak thinks they must be three to four metres high. And as Wouter later says to Sailing Anarchy, “Everything on that reef is there to destroy you”.

The time is just after 19:00 on 29th November 2014. The sun has set and that makes it harder to handle the situation. The nine men cannot get off the boat, the waves are too wild, the surroundings too uncertain.
They call Mayday over the VHF, the local coast guard answers, as does a local fishing vessel. But this is the Indian Ocean. 300kms north of Mauritius, more than 400 kms east of Madagascar.  The fishing vessel says it can only get to them at dawn.

Skipper Chris Nicholson gets hold of Volvo Ocean Race, Race Control. “We are on a reef, we cant get off. We are fucked” says the Australian.
The crew survived on what appears to be a Danish boat in the world’s toughest and biggest race, the Volvo Ocean Race. It was “noteworthy” that no one died, according to the 80-page independent report, which was made after the grounding. The report was commissioned by the Volvo Ocean Race and written by the Australian Admiral Chris Oxenbould, the American navigator Stan Honey and the American sailor and lecturer on maritime safety Chuck Hawley. We shall call it the “Volvo Report”.

Jyllands-Posten has looked at the causes of one of the most dramatic events in Danish yachting history after having gotten wind of that skipper Chris Nicholson should have broken Danish Navigation Code and face a fine or 1-2 years in prison. The picture turned out to be more nuanced than that. Nicholson has not broken Danish law, but three experts criticise him, Volvo and Vestas in several areas.  Amongst others for violating the international maritime rules and Vestas’ own Code of Conduct.
Navigator and meteorologist Wouter Verbraak has admitted that he made a big mistake before the grounding. He was, according to three new critics of Vestas, Volvo Ocean Race and skipper Chris Nicholson mistakenly made into the only scapegoat.

“Absolute responsibility “
Unlike the Dutch navigator Wouter Verbraak, it was the Australian captain, Chris Nicholson, who was awake when Vestas Wind hit the reef. He had the watch, and a on boat the captain decides. Nicholson knew this well.
“He was fully aware of its absolute responsibility as the person in charge of the safety of the boat and the people on board,” says the “Volvo Report”.

Yet Verbraak and not Nicholson got fired. By Nicholson. Not by the Australian skipper’s employer Vestas who instead handed the decisions about the consequences for the crew to no other than Nicholson.

“It compares to sailing from Elsinore with a new navigator and sail into Anholt. It cannot be the sleeping navigators error. The responsibility lies with the person who takes over the watch and takes responsibility, “says Philipp Shank-Holm who is one of three critics.  He is an experienced sailor and trained navigator, who has over the last 40 years sailed more than 100.000 nautical miles on the worlds oceans. He has participated in four Admirals Cup’s, used to be deemed as the World Championships of ocean racing. He is one of four people who criticise Vestas, Volvo and Chris Nicholson in this matter. The other three are Campbell Field, Peter Ingham and Fritz Ganzhorn.

Field is from New Zealand and has participated in three Volvo Ocean Races and was navigator in two of them. He was also technical manager for a team in a fourth Volvo  and is a professional navigator. Peter Ingham is a naval engineer and qualified yacht master to the highest level in Denmark, Ganzhorn is director of Sjøfartens Ledere (Seafearers managers), a union for employees in the naval industry. The three has looked carefully into the grounding of Vestas Wind.

In June 2014, Vestas gets an offer they cannot refuse. Volvo Ocean Race has an opening in their race and they offer it to Vestas.  “It is by far the largest sponsorship we have ever partaken in… we do it after careful consideration and we know exactly what we want from it” explains Morten Albæk the then communications and marketing director for Vestas. He is telling us about the first Danish only sponsored boat in the Volvo Ocean Race.

Many things about the boat is Danish. The sponsor is Vestas, the crew are all members of the Royal Danish Yacht Club. The boat belongs in Tuborg Havn, and Vestas Wind carries a Danish marine flag during training. The boat is 22 metres long and carries a crew of 9.   According to Danish Maritime law, any leisure vessel over 15 metres, but below 24 metres, that sail outside Scandinavia and the British Isles, has to have a skipper with the highest Yacht Master qualifications in Denmark, or equivalent. The so called Yacht skipper 1 exam. Chris Nicholson is the skipper of Vestas Wind, but he has no such qualification.

One would therefore think that the “law regarding the ships crew” that includes all Danish vessels apart from combatting ships and crew carrying vessels had been broken. The responsible would be the skipper, Nicholson and the owner, in this case Vestas, according to the Maritime Agency. If the law was broken, those responsible would face imprisonment for one year and as well as fines. The punishment could increase to two years if the breach was intentional and with gross negligence, and if an economic gain was gained or intended, hereunder also a saving.

Cayman Islands
But all this changes though by the fact that Vestas Wind does not have to abide by Danish legislation. It is owned by VFS Commercial Services in Spain, who have registered Vestas Wind in the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. The Cayman Islands are a part of the Commonwealth and boats here sail under the legislation of both the islands and British’ legislation.

The requirements for qualifications of a skipper is much more lenient in the Cayman Islands than in Denmark.  According to the authorities on the island, Cayman Maritime, the owner of Vestas Wind, VFS Commercial Services just have to ensure that the yacht is appropriately crewed.

The registration in the Cayman Island is criticised by Fritz Ganzhorn from Sjøfartens Leders. He gives a comparison: “If you board the DFDS boat to Oslo, you have faith that it is in fact a Danish ship. We can see the Danish flag, it has Danish crew and we have an expectation that Danish rules are being followed. It would create an uproar should we find out that the boat to Oslo was in fact a Cayman Island boat and therefore could adhere to a lower standard of qualification of the crew”
The challenge to get to the start of the race is enormous for Vestas Wind. Never before has a boat had such a short preparation time for an around the world yacht race. The minimum requirement is that each boat has to sail 3700nm non stop on the ocean before the start of the race, and be in Alicante, Spain, by 9AM on 8th September 2014. Vestas Wind can just manage a continuous week at sea before they arrive in Alicante just hours before the deadline. As a comparison, Brunel has sailed 30.000 nm and Team SCA has more than ten months longer preparation time than Team Vestas, and several boats sail across the Atlantic and back. This short preparation time is in the Volvo Report named as one of the causes behind the grounding of Vestas Wind. “We did not have much time with Vestas, so we did not manage to do all the preparations” said Wouter Verbraak when he held a talk on amongst other things, the grounding, in Denmark on May 5th.
Volvo Ocean Race’s Managing Director Knut Frostad says regarding the registration in the Cayman Islands: “It is one of the best places to register larger sailing yachts. They don’t have as much bureaucracy and it is a fast registration with low fees. Cayman Islands have also got a good legal structure, which is important to the owner to safeguard their values” explains Frostad, and he denies that the registration has anything to do with avoiding the stricter Danish legislation.  “There is nothing illegal in this. I can understand that some think that the boat should be registered in Denmark when you have a Danish team, but I dont agree with them. There is no law saying that you should register a boat in Denmark because the main sponsor of the boat is Danish.”

Unethical and bad business moral
The registration is met with criticism.
“It is unethical and bad business moral to have a Danish sponsored boat, representing Denmark in a race, and then behind the scenes have it registered in a country that significantly reduces the safety of the crew due to very convenient rules regarding the qualifications of the boats skipper and navigators”, says yacht master teacher Peter Ingham. “You proclaim to the whole world that we have a Danish yacht, with Danish crew, sponsored by a Danish company and then it turns out that they mislead people to think this is a Danish boat, but in fact, it has nothing to do with Denmark. Nothing” explains Ingham.

Read the full translation in the thread here.

June 17th, 2015 by admin

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