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Posts Tagged ‘volvo ocean race’

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We can talk all we want about raw shots, OBRs, and which sailor is the most interesting on camera, but this hour and a half broadcast is quite likely the best piece of live offshore racing coverage ever produced.  Not only does it feature 89 minutes of some of the sexiest, live, big breeze offshore racing you’ve ever seen, but the director, spotters, camera op, and helicopter pilot went from one cool situation to another, giving presenters Conrad Colman and Niall Myant a few minutes to analyze and explain while the helo moved to the next boat up the track.

The live shoot (which happened as the fleet headed out the Gibraltar Straits toward Lisbon) managed to catch gybing sequences, a 3 boatlength cross between Caffari and Witt, and a great perspective to compare AkzoNobel and Mapfre’s gybes.  Most exciting of all was a sequence where Charlie and Mark’s leading Vestas 11th Hour Racing, schooning along at 25 knots under full pirate rig (reef + J3 + Fr0)overhauled, passed and crossed a Panamax cargo ship under full steam.

This is the first time we’ve really seen the 2017 VOR’s ‘digital first’ strategy pay, because this kind of live footage will never be able to coexist with broadcast television’s requirements for ironbound schedules and time limits.  But it’s this kind of coverage – big breeze aerials with great commentary and analysis for both the saltiest seaman and the lubberiest lubber – that could provide the first real mainstream breakout for live offshore sailing in the wider world.

If they can just insert audio off the racing boats and maybe get the tiniest bit of female or other international diversity into the commentary team, and reproduce and promote this format in places like Cape Horn, they really do have an innovation that should win awards – and more importantly, win a shitload of fans.

Best in 1080p on your flat screen…

On another note, like many of you we missed this webcast when it happened live on Facebook, in part because the VOR folks don’t seem to have figured out how to streamline the content available to the average casual viewer.  Fortunately, one anarchist has responded with his own log of every piece of race multimedia coming through the web, and while we have no idea how long “JBC” can keep updating this awesome multi-tab Google doc, we’ll take it while it lasts.

November 1st, 2017 by admin

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Brad Jackson and Rome Kirby get the boot while Simeon’s back for the start, and Volvo 65s have to find their way through an uncorralled spectator boat fleet.   Watch it all live here, but watch the Sailor Girl’s dock walk first.

October 22nd, 2017 by admin

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Volvo Ocean Race Breaking

The biggest news in Volvo Ocean Race world is not the impending 1400 start of the first leg of the 2017 VOR – it’s once again recently axed skipper Simeon Tienpont and his contract dispute with AkzoNobel, because he might just be back on the helm when the gun goes off for the leg to Lisbon.

According to a respected publication, Simeon won the emergency arbitration he brought in Amsterdam against the sponsor on Friday, and he is already in Spain to discuss the future setup of the program.  While we don’t know exactly what the arbitration award requires, a look at a fatigued Brad Jackson at the pre-start Press Conference makes us think he wouldn’t mind Simeon’s return at all.

AkzoNobel didn’t have much to say. “We are evaluating the current situation and working with Simeon Tienpont,” said a spokesman.

It’s probably something they should have done last month…

Talk talk talk here.

 

October 21st, 2017 by admin

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With any early-start advantage destroyed by the dispute between sponsor and team owner AkzoNobel and former skipper Simeon Tienpont, it’s left to multi-time winner Brad Jackson to pick up the pieces and get his team off the bricks.  With the skipper announcement just coming out a few minutes ago and the race beginning this weekend, Brad’s job won’t be easy, especially with the continuing conflict likely to play out in court over the next year.

So what was the fight really about?

According to the latest press release from Tienpont’s people, it was all about AkzoNobel not paying the crew their agreed-upon salary…for months, and reading between the lines, it seems to have been a case of the team owner not wanting to pay the salaries they had long ago agreed to…not that any of you owners would ever stiff a paid crew…

Read the Akzo press release here.   Tienpont’s release:

AkzoNobel seriously neglected its sponsor obligations by withholding payments to Steam Ocean. As a result Tienpont was brought in a position where he could not pay the salaries of his crew over the last months.

Last Saturday AkzoNobel offered Tienpont a new contract against worse conditions. Tienpont’s first priority was with his team, reason why he asked Akzo Nobel’s full commitment to an instant payment of the crew and a settlement on the early termination of the sponsorship contract. AkzoNobel did not want to make these commitments.

On Sunday Tienpont had a meeting with his crew and expressed his confidence that arrangements with AkzoNobel can be made in the coming days. He wants to return on board as skipper and is eager to restore the unique opportunity of sailing a safe and promising Volvo Ocean Race with his team.

Last night AkzoNobel invited most crew members to work for them directly under similar conditions and to pay the outstanding salaries, however under the condition that they had to terminate their contractual relationship with Steam Ocean (Tienpont) with immediate effect, putting enormous pressure on the crew to opt for their money and for achieving their personal goal to sail the Volvo Ocean Race.”

 

October 16th, 2017 by admin

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VOR BREAKING –  BREAKING UPDATE:

Chris Nicholson is indeed on the move for the Mediterranean, but not for the reason we all thought – at least not yet.  Nicho is headed to Malta for the start of the Middle Sea Race aboard George Sakellaris’ Mini-maxi Proteus.  As both the VOR and MSR start on the same day, it’s pretty clear someone else will be at the helm of Team AkzoNobel, at least until Lisbon.

We EXCLUSIVELY hear that former Vestas Wind and Camper skipper Chris Nicholson is headed for Spain right this moment to take over the AkzoNobel program, and of all the possible choices the paint group could make, this one is probably the best thanks to Nicho’s complete genuineness and the level of respect he gets from all sailors.  Best for getting the crew on board with the new program, best for having a chance to do well in the race, and best for Akzo.  Unfortunately for everyone, it sounds like it will take an Amsterdam judge to figure out who is to blame for the team’s going off the rails. 

Outgoing skipper Simeon Tienpont put out his own release last night with one crucial bit of information inside: According to Simeon,  Akzo’s allegation that he has breached their management contract “is absolutely unfounded and is very damaging to my reputation, especially in view of the timing, just before the start of the race. I can only guess that it is about a small budget overrun on a safety issue, but we have always been 100% transparent to AkzoNobel about our financial affairs and all our expenses have been made with their approval. It is them, not me, who is in clear breach of the contract.”

Meanwhile, Akzo published their own statement a few hours later:

“– Simeon Tienpont’s management company STEAM breached its contract to manage the team AkzoNobel entry in the Volvo Ocean race 2017-18
– The breach was serious enough for AkzoNobel to terminate the contract with immediate effect and AkzoNobel then took over the full management of the team
– Simeon was offered the option to continue as skipper but opted not to continue and has left the team

AkzoNobel has restated to us its unwavering commitment to our entry in the Volvo Ocean Race.  The sailing team and management are working together to move forward and find the best solution for the race which starts in seven days time.  As soon as the new skipper is confirmed we will make sure our sailing fans are the first to know about it.”

So, like any good argument, both parties think they are 100% correct, and that the other is to blame, and Tienpont has himself confirmed that the team was overbudget (some sources say by as much as $2M), but it’s telling that AkzoNobel’s messaging is completely silent – over and over again – on the nature of the breach.  Looking at our crystal ball and knowing how sensitive AkzoNobel’s brand new CEO is to bad publicity, we’d guess Simeon gets a quiet payoff in a few weeks…

 

 

October 15th, 2017 by admin

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Volvo may wish the world was talking about the Alicante In-Port Race – the first event of the 2017 Volvo Ocean Race – but most continue to talk about the last-minute ousting of Simeon Tienpont.  With VOR’s messaging off the rails (and still no information coming out of AkzoNobel other than a short statement) and now crew telling one publication that they are not leaving for Cape Town without Simeon, what VOR needs more than anything else is a breezy, heart-in-the-throat race around the mediterranean port.

Unfortunately, the forecast is for 10 knots or less, meaning the racing is likely to suck.  More fortunately, Andy Green and Sally Barkow are in the commentary booth.  If Facebook is blocked in your country, head over to the VOR site to watch their bespoke, un-embeddable player (yep, somehow, some brilliant media staffer built a bespoke player…in 2017…seriously).

UPDATE: Is the VOR so broke that they don’t even have onboard audio and video for this race?   Holy shit, this thing really is off the rails.  Piss poor graphics, no narrative setup, dockout show, or dock walk – we heard they had cut their video budget way down, but we didn’t realize they had less money in their live budget than the 5O5 worlds…

To be fair, the first in-port race is as much of a practice for everyone – including the media folks – as it is a real race, but if it were practice, you’d think they would at least have all their assets in place. If this is the sum total of the LIVE EXPERIENCE OF THE MOST EXTREME RACE IN THE WORLD as VOR would have you believe?  We all might just be yawning our way around the world.

 

October 14th, 2017 by admin

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VOR BREAKING

UPDATE – Statement from AkzoNobel:

Following a breach of contract Simeon Tienpont left his role as skipper of team AkzoNobel in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race on Friday, October 13, 2017.  AkzoNobel, the owner and title partner of team AkzoNobel, has confirmed it’s fully committed to the team competing in the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race.  An announcement confirming who will take over the skipper role will be made shortly.

The jury is definitely still out on whether Simeon breached his contract with Akzo, or Akzo breached their contract with Simeon, and there are undoubtedly lawyers somewhere billing a lot of hours on this one.  We’ve also learned that Simeon’s crew will take the AZ on the water tomorrow without him…

Two time VOR racer and America’s Cup winner Simeon Tienpont was the first in with the only brand-new VO65 in the race, but weeks of rumors that his job was on the rocks have crescendoed today with the first In-Port Race on the air tomorrow.  While Tom Ehman (now the second person in the world to bother breaking VOR news) reported a few minutes ago that Simeon’s been excused from further duties with the team, we’ve heard from several sources that the decision hasn’t been made yet and that the Dutchman may still salvage the situation…with about 16 hours to go until tomorrow’s race.

No one will talk on the record so there’s just one way to find out what’s happening.  Tune in tomorrow as the 2017 VOR shitshow begins!

 

 

October 13th, 2017 by admin

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We were pretty surprised to see that North Sails is the only sailmaker allowed to make sails for the upcoming Volvo Ocean Race. What kind of bullshit is that? Why should it be North? Why not Doyle? Surely they have proven to make fabulous offshore sails? Quantum?  Or how about any competitor can choose whatever fucking sailmaker they want?

Just like the exclusive North deal with the new Melges IC 37, no other sailmaker gets a shot at making sails. Sure, it’s all praying to the gods of One Design, but it all seems just a little too cozy.

Regardless of the legality of the thing (and we expect ‘monopoly’ to be something the sport will have to deal with more and more in the age of single-manufacturer one-designs), it’s definitely no good for the sport in many, many ways.  Diversity of design? Gone. Diversity of employers? Going away.  That inexorable price creep as the monopoly takes hold?  Undoubtedly.

If all the arguments about how single-manufacture sails that North uses when they win these bids are accurate,  why doesn’t the entire sailing industry insist that every single sail that is made be North? Here’s our proposed rule: Competitors not using North Sails will have their eligibility removed for all events run under the RRS.

Title inspiration thanks to The Dead Kennedys. Simply replace ‘California’ with ‘North Sails’ and you get the idea.

UPDATE: Nick Bice, who with Mark Turner’s departure becomes BMOC of the VOR (and the guy who’s been working on VOR campaigns for most of his adult life), sends in a response.

It’s not really my style to get involved in any sort of back-and-forth but some facts are required here.  The VO65 is a strict One-Design class which includes sails.  We decided that would be the best approach from the very beginning of the project, as sail development was always a significant percentage of the team budgets from the previous race.  

So to bring costs under control, it was agreed that everything should be one-design.  It worked in controlling costs for the 14-15 Race, so we decided to continue the approach.  Even though every VOR since 2001 has been dominated by North Sails – as selected by independent teams – we again put the selection out for tender for the 2017-18 Race.  The process was:

-Request For Tender (RFT) sent out 8 May 2016

-RFT invited proposals to become sole official One-Design Sails Supplier for 17-18 VOR

-Aspects assessed were (but not limited to): design, consistency of manufacture, reliability, inventory, number of sails, manufacturing lead times, branding, finished sail weights, reparability, individual costings, sail bags, accessories, package and freight.

-After receiving numerous proposal, both Doyle and North were taken to the next stage, which included more details required to the topics above.  

-After much deliberation, both proposals had their own strengths and weaknesses, but based on the criteria laid out above, we chose North. 

-We did consider the option of opening up part or all of the inventory to other manufacturers for teams to choose on their own, but we concluded that the intention of the VO65 has always been to ensure that each and every team has the same opportunity to get on the podium regardless of how late they are to the game or how deep their pockets are!  

May the best team win!

-Bicey

October 1st, 2017 by admin

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As one of the loudest supporters of the Volvo Ocean Race’s continuing effort to get more women aboard the world’s leading crewed ocean race,  we’re extremely happy to see long-time SA contributor Jen Edney on the Volvo Ocean Race’s OBR squad.  But as you’ll see from the above shot, Mark Turner’s media team has completely failed at getting even a modicum of gender parity to the On-Board Reporter job.

What makes it even more odd is the frequency with which the VOR mentions the ‘10,000 ultra-highly qualified applications’ they received for the job. We ask Mark Turner directly: Does this mean that there was only 1 woman out of 10,000 qualified to do the job?  And why do you bother pushing the teams towards bringing female sailors aboard when you can’t even do the same thing for your own OBR crew?

 

August 30th, 2017 by admin

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VOR BREAKING

It sounds like Volvo 65 Hull Number 8 will indeed be on the starting line in a few short months, and our dockside insiders tell us it will be carrying a GBR sail number!

A slightly weaker rumor has skiff legend Chris Nicholson running the show, which leads us invariably to the speculation that number 8 might just be funded – in part anyway – by the British guy he’s often raced for, who we told you is the world’s most interesting racing yacht owner.

We’re also hearing that one of the existing skippers may be looking for a new job soon.  We’re not quite sure who it is yet, though fortunately there is a place to speculate on just that sort of thing.

 

August 17th, 2017 by admin

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