Archivio della categoria Volvo Ocean Race

Setting a course for a healthier ocean


Co-president Johan Salén revealed the set of commitments at the fifth Our Ocean conference in Bali, Indonesia.

Mr Salén announced that the future work of the organisation would build upon the legacy of the last edition of the race to tackle ocean pollution, by implementing an ambitious Sustainability Programme.

Over the next four years our ambition is to deliver the Sustainability Programme in collaboration with a broad range of stakeholders, including 11th Hour Racing and UN Environment.

© Damian Foxall

Mr Salén said: “By providing leadership and engaging our sailing teams, stakeholders, suppliers and host cities, our clear objective is to deliver a race with sustainability at its core.

“We will advocate for global solutions to the issues connected to marine plastic pollution, supported by institutions, governments, corporate partners and philanthropists.”

The Sustainability Programme will continue the vital work carried out during the last edition of the race by setting a high standard for the integration of sustainability within a high-profile sporting event.

The new programme will feature a series of ten high level Ocean Summits and Innovation Workshops to engage with key influencers to explore industry-led solutions.

The initiative is to be guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and aims to integrate a circular economy approach to policy and business models for impactful systemic change.

© Damian Foxall

The successful curriculum-based Education Programme will use the race as a template to provide unique insight and provide imaginative modules that supply children with the key resources to take action to help combat the plastic crisis affecting our seas.

With input from schoolchildren, this programme is to be extended to include a secondary school element, incorporating Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths elements.

In collaboration with a scientific consortium, groundbreaking microplastic data from seawater samples, collected during the 2017-18 edition of the race, will be used to contribute to the development of an internationally standardised process for ocean sampling and analysis.

There is little information on the links between plastics and human health. Therefore, the programme aims to utilise cutting edge technology that provides valuable data on their potential effects on people.

Anne-Cecile Turner, Sustainability Programme Leader, added: “We are committed to using the momentum gained during the last race to drive action across a range of areas to restore ocean health.

“By using the power of the sport of sailing we aim to showcase best practice and share our vision with politicians, businesses and the scientific community that ultimately accelerates positive change.”

“The impact of the Sustainability Programme in the last edition of the race has been outstanding - we now have a comprehensive set of data that highlights the successes of each area, from operations, to education, science research, community engagement and global commitments towards ocean health. We are thrilled to support the legacy of this Programme and to develop, together with the organizers, a renewed strategy and detailed roadmap ahead of the next race,” commented Todd McGuire, Program Director, 11th Hour Racing.

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

The international Sustainability Programme will run through to the next edition of the race, which will start in 2021 and end in 2022.

The Bali conference focussed on solutions to the key issues affecting our seas including marine pollution, marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries and climate-related impacts.

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Nicholson looking to the future


For Chris Nicholson, his Volvo Ocean Race is only just now finishing.

Nicholson, the six-time race veteran who served as watch captain on team AkzoNobel, has spent the summer running corporate sailing and hospitality with teammate Nicolai Sehested.

“We had some activation going on in The Hague, at Cowes Week, in Copenhagen, Lorient and now we're finally delivering the boat to The Boatyard in Lisbon,” Nicholson said last week from the Yacht Racing Forum in Lorient, France. “The level of response we’ve had since the end of the race has been fantastic.”

© Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race

But finishing out the team hospitality programme has not been the only thing on their minds. A few weeks ago the pair announced their intention to put together a campaign for the next race.

“We’ve had some potential partners come sailing with us in the last weeks and months and at the moment, it’s just about communicating and keeping them updated as the next race takes shape,” Nicholson said. “We’re trying to build off the momentum of the last event and so far these last few months have been very, very positive.”

Nicholson notes the introduction of a new class, the IMOCA 60, adds a completely different element to the race.

“The IMOCA 60 is going to be a showcase, the ultimate of foiling monohulls offshore. That’s for a select group of sailors,” he said. “The VO65 lends itself to a broader range of sailors and provides fantastic racing. I think we’ve never seen as good racing as we had in the last race.

“The IMOCA 60 will definitely be different in many ways. It’s not going to be that same style of one-design racing where you feel like you have to fight at every moment because you can’t lose an inch. But instead you get the technology aspect where you’re pushing the limits of foiling offshore and that’s going to be great.”

For someone who’s competed in each race since 2001-02, Nicholson has seen the event through several changes but he says one thing remains the same – the scale of the challenge.

“What motivates me is that it is hard. It is a massive challenge. If it was easy, I wouldn’t be anywhere near it,” he said. “I enjoy problem solving and this race presents problems day in and day out. It’s just a fantastic part of our sport.

“I didn’t think I’d want to do anything apart from the Olympics until I did my first Volvo and since then I haven’t stopped!”

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Dongfeng Race Team scoops prestigious prizes at World Sailing Annual Conference


Dongfeng Race Team scooped two prestigious awards at the World Sailing Conference in Sarasota, Florida on 30 October – with Carolijn Brouwer and Marie Riou taking the Female Rolex World Sailor of the Year gong, and Dongfeng winning the title of Team of the Year.

The victories mark the end of a dream year for the Chinese-flagged entry, following their last-gasp Volvo Ocean Race win in June.

"This is a huge privilege," said a delighted Brouwer, in Florida. "20 years ago I won it for the first time so to be able to say I won the prize again in a different discipline really shows how sailing is a diverse sport and that it goes across so many different disciplines.

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

"To be able to achieve so much in different disciplines within our sport is a huge honour. Being able to say that Marie and I were the first women to win the Volvo Ocean race is a special thing, we are part of history and it's definitely something that will stay forever."

Brouwer and Riou fought off three other athletes on the shortlist for the award, which featured the best talent from across the sport of sailing.

France's Riou added: "It feels great to win this prize tonight, especially with Carolijn. It's a team prize and it was such a great achievement for a year of hard work with the whole team."

Whilst the spotlight was on the pair, their team won an award, too. The World Sailing Team of the Year Award celebrates teams of two or more sailors who personify the sporting values of integrity, ambition, resilience and resourcefulness. Out of 17 nominations, Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), TeamNL Sailing Team (NED), Team Beau Geste (HKG) and Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (ITA) were shortlisted.

The judging panel included Stan Honey, Chairman of the Oceanic and Offshore Committee, Eddie Warden-Owen, CEO of the Royal Ocean Racing Club, Yann Rocherieux, Chairman of World Sailing's Athletes' Commission & World Sailing Board Member, Andrus Poksi, Classes and Officials representative and Andy Rice, leading sailing journalist.

Dongfeng Skipper Charles Caudrelier was also nominated in the Male Rolex World Sailor of the Year category, but lost out to 2018 Laser World Champion, Pavlos Kontides.

"The team trophy is the best one in my eyes, for obvious reasons," said Team Director Bruno Dubois. "I do feel sorry for Charles who was the man behind all this but extremely happy for Carolijn and Marie. They fully deserve it and are the perfect example of what sailing can be – a great experience in both inshore and offshore sailing."

The Rolex World Sailor of the Year title is a prize that has long had strong roots in our Race – ever since the first award was won by Race legend Sir Peter Blake in 1994.

That Kiwi/Volvo Ocean Race connection has continued over the years, and Team Brunel's NZ star Pete Burling has scooped the trophy in two of the past three years, once with long-term sailing partner, MAPFRE's Blair Tuke.

Looking back to 2014, the award was won by team AkzoNobel's Martine Grael (and her 49erFX partner, Kahena Kunze) – following in the footsteps of her father, Volvo Ocean Race winner Torben Grael, who took the honours in 2009.

MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández stole the plaudits in 2011, when he and partner Iker Martínez grabbed the award, before turning their attentions to a 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race entry as MAPFRE.

The Awards night was part of the 2018 World Sailing Annual Conference, where Volvo Ocean Race founding principal partner 11th Hour Racing also gave out a sustainability-focused prize.

The World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award celebrates the effective execution or ongoing delivery of high-impact, highly-replicable sustainability initiatives, aligned to the World Sailing Sustainability Agenda 2030.

The Corpus Christi Yacht Club (CCYC) received the award for the work delivered at the 2018 Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA.

Todd McGuire, 11th Hour Racing Program Director, presented event organisers Sandi Carl, Mark Foster and Elizabeth Kratzig with the iconic perpetual trophy that is made from recycled carbon fibre. 

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Volvo Ocean Race report makes suggestions for safer sailing in congested waters


By Chris Oxenbould, Stan Honey and Chuck Hawley

The Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) organisers commissioned an independent report following the collision between Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a non- racing vessel in the final stages of the leg into Hong Kong during the most recent edition of the race. The report has examined ocean racing at night in areas of high vessel traffic density - the Volvo High Traffic Density Report.

The report was not required to investigate the collision incident but was to draw on the experiences from recent editions of the VOR to establish what steps race organisers may consider to mitigate risk in areas of high traffic density in the future.

The authors were appointed as the independent report team with a broad base of experience. During the Auckland stopover they interviewed all skippers and navigators of the 2017-18 VOR and some other sailors who were available and had relevant experience. The team produced a detailed 50 page report that is available on the event website.

Download the full report here 

In recent years there have been considerable changes; offshore racers now routinely sail at high speeds of 25-30 knots and more. They also carry headsails that can restrict the look-out and block the visible arc of deck level navigation lights in some circumstances.

All crews interviewed were familiar with congested waters around the world and noted they had differing characteristics. Some were strictly controlled and quite orderly, like the Straits of Dover while others were unregulated and presented more of a challenge.

The crews recounted their experiences in transiting through the fishing fleet in the approaches to Hong Kong. There were a lot of vessels with lights visible around the horizon on a dark clear night.

Virtually all of the vessels had some form of lighting and exhibited AIS. The fishing vessels were either stationary or travelling at slow speeds of 3-6 knots and they did not form an impenetrable barrier.

In situations where racing boats meet other vessels the international regulations (footnote 1) apply. Three of the most important rules are closely inter-related. They cover maintaining a look-out, sailing at a safe speed, and at night, being seen with appropriate navigation lights. Also of note is that these rules require a sailing vessel to keep out of the way of a vessel engaged in fishing.

The regulations require a ‘proper look-out’ at all times using ‘all means appropriate in the prevailing circumstances’. The rule does not require a continuous 360° visual lookout as it is impractical. However in an ocean racer radar, AIS and VHF radio watch would be important means of look-out where fitted.

As with most modern ocean racers, the VO 65’s visual look-out is often impeded on the lee bow. This required special techniques, such as ‘dipping the bow’ to allow the helmsman to view part of the area blocked by the headsails and, at times, placing dedicated look-outs to leeward. The crews were comfortable that an adequate visual look-out is difficult but achievable.

The boats are fitted with AIS, radar and sophisticated navigation systems that assist collision avoidance. The report team found that although the Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave (FMCW) radar provided very good discrimination of contacts, it was not very effective in detecting weak targets at a reasonable range. Radar detection ranges were about a third of that expected from a conventional 4 kW pulse radar. Some crews reported an unfamiliarity with the radar self-tuning functions, which may have further reduced its performance.

In addition several boats experienced unreliable and degraded performance with the fitted AIS system. These problems, principally caused by a faulty coax connector at the masthead, were rectified during the Itajaí stopover. In the earlier part of the race this important technical back-up to the visual look- out was inconsistent throughout the fleet.

The team made enquiries about the utility of Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) in an ocean racer. With current developments there is a possibility that a small camera producing a stabilised picture could soon be fitted at the masthead. This would significantly improve the look-out.

The regulations also require boats to sail at a safe speed at all times so that the boat ‘can take proper and effective action to avoid collision and be stopped within a distance appropriate to the prevailing circumstances and conditions’. An absolute speed cannot be specified but there is a list of factors to be considered, including visibility, traffic density and manoeuvrability. The skipper is to judge what is the safe speed for the circumstances and conditions and should not exceed that speed.

Crews did acknowledge the existence of situations in which they would slow down, most notably in restricted visibility. They also provided examples of where they would sail off the optimum course for racing or use a different sail plan and sacrifice speed to improve the visual look-out.

An issue of interest to the team was the visibility of a modern ocean racer at night. Crews spoke of occasions when they had startled other vessels with little warning of their presence.

As with many modern ocean racers, the navigation lights on a VO 65 are fitted at the masthead to avoid being blocked by the headsails on the leeward side. These arrangements comply with the regulations but on a dark night only provide a single red, green or white light, 30 metres above the water to indicate their presence. In close quarter situations, particularly in harbours, other boats may not be looking for lights at this height.

Noting the potential speed of the boats, complex collision avoidance problems can develop quickly and with little warning in congested waters. The report team formed a strong view that the navigation lights should be enhanced.

A number of recommendations were made in the report and included:

• use of an improved coax connector and antenna at the masthead for the AIS system and a new testing and monitoring regime for AIS performance,
• tailored training packages be provided for the fitted, radar, AIS and navigation systems and their use in collision avoidance,
• the FMCW radar be replaced with a more appropriate technology for offshore racing,
• FLIR be further investigated,
• an extra set of sidelights and a sternlight light be fitted near deck level, • an all-round white masthead flashing light be fitted as an anti-collision warning, and
• a set of lights be fitted on the upper spreaders to illuminate the top of the mainsail.

The lighting changes were proposed as available options for skippers to use when considered warranted by the prevailing circumstances. The argument supporting their compliance with the international regulations is contained in the full report.

The report team found that the risk clearly depends on the level of congestion. The organisers should avoid some congested areas around the world and this is what VOR practices. Despite the accident off Hong Kong, the risk in those and similar waters is considered acceptable.

The report team also considers that the VO 65s were being sailed at a safe speed considering their manoeuvrability when sailed by a full professional crew.

The look-out is ‘difficult but achievable’. The look-out and presence of the boat can be enhanced relatively easily and this is the intent of the recommendations which would serve to reduce the risk further.

== END ==

(Footnote 1) -- The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCAS)

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One year on


One year. 52 weeks. 365 days. 8760 hours, or 525,600 minutes (and counting....)

It's that long since the last race began – and for the Volvo Ocean Race sailors, 22 October will always be a day that sticks in the memory.

One year ago, on 22 October 2017, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race kicked off, in true Volvo Ocean Race style. For some, it was the beginning of an exciting new chapter – a round-the-world journey to follow in the footsteps of their heroes.

For others, a continuation of an obsession which has seen them put themselves to the test, against each other, and Mother Nature, for decades.

Thousands of fans arrived from all corners of the planet to see off the sailors from the Start Port of Alicante, creating an incredible atmosphere – excitement, anticipation, inspiration.

When the seven boats left Alicante in the blazing Spanish sun, we knew that we were in for an unforgettable nine months of racing – but no-one quite realised just how dramatic it would be.

In fact, the signs of the most hard-fought race in history were there before we'd even left the harbour – Dongfeng, MAPFRE and Brunel ducking and weaving each other in front of the famous Santa Barbara Castle, and Turn the Tide on Plastic and Scallywag chasing cat and mouse right through the spectator fleet in the first of many heart-in-mouth moments.

These sailors live and breathe competition – and that exhausting intensity never dropped until they crossed the finish line in The Hague in June 2018, with Dongfeng Race Team the winners after nine months of racing.

Nine months of adventure. Nine months of incredible competition. Nine months we'll never forget.

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