Archivio della categoria Volvo Ocean Race

The Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag race story: “We never give up”


Skipper David Witt and his team of Scallywags experienced the highest of highs and lowest of lows in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

© Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Race

A late entrant, led by the outspoken Witt, SHK/Scallywag was dubbed an underdog by the pundits, but proved with some bold navigation choices that it could be a force on the leaderboard.

A leg win into their home port of Hong Kong and a strong second-place finish on the following leg meant the team was in a podium position at the halfway point in Auckland.

But those achievements were rendered insignificant by the loss of veteran crew member John Fisher in the Southern Ocean, 1,400 miles west of Cape Horn, on Leg 7.

Following an outpouring of support from the Volvo Ocean Race family and the sailing community at large, the team would elect to sail on, with a focus on finishing the race in honour of Fish, who held sailing in the Volvo Ocean Race as a lifelong dream.

Scallywag Race Review - Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18

On the leaderboard, SHK/Scallywag would eventually settle for a seventh place finish, on equal points with Turn the Tide on Plastic. But that wouldn’t tell the full story of their race.

“It’s an ethos the Scallywags try and live by,” explained Witt at the time. “We never give up, we look after each other and we do it together.

“The support we’ve had from within the Volvo family has been amazing. It takes special people to do this race and I think that character has been exemplified by the way we’ve been supported by the other competitors…”

“I think the race has 100% changed me,” Witt would later say, reflecting as the event came to a close. “I’m probably more tolerant and more patient now… When you go through the loss of someone like Fish, your priorities change and the way I prioritise things has probably changed a hell of a lot. You realise you can’t control everything.”

Witt also expressed immense pride in the development of his young crew, who he’s seen mature and grow over the course of the race.

“The people on this boat, they never give up,” he said. “In fact, they actually work harder when things get hard. I think that’s one of the things we’re most proud of as a team…”

The race in numbers for SHK/Scallywag:
1 --- Best Leg finish: First place - Leg 4
4 --- Best In-Port Race finish: Fourth place - Guangzhou, Newport
10 --- Number of rookies in the race (the most of any team)
16 --- Total number of crew to sail with the team
20 --- Years between races for skipper David Witt who sailed in the 1997-98 event
21 --- Age of the youngest crew in the race: Ben Piggot, 21 years old

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The sailors’ views on plastic pollution


It was also a chance to share their experiences of the ocean plastic crisis, including floating plastic chairs and the need to educate children about ways to improve the health of our seas.

Dee Caffari, skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag's Annemieke Bes, Mark Towill, co-skipper of Vestas 11th Hour Racing, Simeon Tienpoint skipper of team AkzoNobel, MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernandez and Carolijn Brouwer of Dongfeng Race Team joined the discussion on stage.

Ocean Summit The Hague - A View from the Sea... in 228 seconds

Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari said: “We’ve been in places such as the remote Southern Ocean, miles from anywhere, and we were still finding microplastic present there.

“Travelling from Hong Kong to Auckland we passed a beautiful tropical island on one side of the boat and on the other there were bottles and plastic packaging polluting the beautiful waters.

“We’ve been seeing it first hand and it just makes you aware of the scale of what we’re fighting to protect. We’re now acting as ambassadors for the sport and for ocean health.”

Promoting the UN Environment’s #CleanSeas campaign, the Turn the Tide on Plastic boat collected microplastic samples to provide scientists with a better understanding of the scale of the plastic problem.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Team Director Mark Towill, set a positive tone for what the race has achieved in terms of promoting the issues and the solutions.

He said: “These Ocean Summits have been incredible and the progress, as a community we have made is unbelievable and the future is bright.”

Donfeng’s Carolijn Brouwer, added: “For my son who’s been following me around the world, in Newport, for example, there was a kids Exploration Zone, and they were teaching kids about plastic in the oceans.

“I came home one night, and there was a note from my son on my bed, and it said, ‘Mommy, I will not put any plastic in the oceans, and I will put it in the bin.’ This is raising awareness, this is impact – he’s only seven years old, and when he goes back to school he will do a show-and-tell, and these are the kinds of things he will share.”

Team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpoint, reflected: “Our oceans are the most beautiful back garden we have in the world and just as we teach our children not to throw trash in the street, we should also teach them not to throw it in the oceans.”

Annemieke Bes, from Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, told the audience how, even though they were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, she saw a plastic chair floating by.

During the two-day event, a range of announcements helped develop a roadmap for future solutions to improve the health of our sea, setting a course for a healthier future for our oceans.

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Agreement will see IMOCA 60 boats in next race


A partnership agreement has been made with the International Monohull Open Class Association (IMOCA), which provides the exclusivity to use the IMOCA 60 for crewed round the world yacht races.

Last week, during the finish of the Volvo Ocean Race in The Hague, an Educational Session for interested parties was held around the IMOCA Class Rules.

Sailors from the most recent Volvo Ocean Race and IMOCA events, along with yacht designers currently involved in construction of new IMOCA Class boats such as Guillaume Verdier and Juan Kouyoumdjian, came to The Hague to brainstorm around the changes.

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

“This is a first step of many in preparing for the next edition of the race in 2021,” said Johan Salen, co-President of the race. “There is an ongoing co-operation process to put in place the elements we need to make the next race a success from a sporting and business point of view.

“This is a complex matter with many perspectives, and we are respectfully welcoming continuous input from all key stakeholders, from World Sailing to individual sailors, teams and partners. We are confident that this is the right way forward.”

“Moving the race into foiling monohulls under the IMOCA class will motivate more sailors, teams and the wider marine industry to prepare for the next edition. Partnering with the existing IMOCA infrastructure means the professional offshore sailing calendar becomes more unified and efficient, this helps the sport as a whole and helps to build a sustainable business model for teams and sailors.”

“This agreement provides IMOCA owners and sailors with access to the premiere fully crewed offshore race in the world, which is also a great storytelling platform,” said Antoine Mermod, President of IMOCA.

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

“As we work together to bring the most important offshore races in the world – short-handed and fully crewed – to the IMOCA class boats, it will allow us to grow the class internationally and offer more value to our stakeholders.”

The move to include IMOCA boats will ensure the race continues to be at the forefront of yacht design and technology while challenging the best sailors in the world in a fully-crewed, offshore environment.

A joint committee is being formed to draft a specific section of the Class Rules for Crewed IMOCA 60, respecting the spirit and intent of the partnership, which includes cost control, security and sporting fairness.

The rule relating to crew numbers on board the IMOCA class in the next race is among the items under consideration, with the goal of retaining an On Board Reporter role.

The latest Volvo Ocean Race concluded this past weekend having seen the closest racing in the 45-year history of the event. Three teams started the final leg with an opportunity to win the overall race title. With less than 10 miles left in the 45,000 nautical mile, 11-leg race, the outcome was still in doubt, until Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team finally slipped ahead of their rivals to secure a thrilling victory off The Hague.

“This change is very exciting,” Caudrelier said after receiving a briefing on the changes. “The Open 60s are just amazing boats. I really enjoy sailing on these boats and I think when people see it, they will enjoy it. If the two best offshore races in the world are going to join the same class, to me it’s good news.”

“I think as a sailor, this is very exciting,” said Bouwe Bekking, a veteran of eight Volvo Ocean and Whitbread Round the World races. “For the younger generation of sailors, they’re all about foiling and surfing and going fast and you have to get the best sailors involved in the race. With the Open 60s, they’ve nailed it, because this is what the sailors want.”

© Pedro Martinez/Volvo Ocean Race

“Of course there are some hurdles to negotiate,” said Torben Grael, Olympic champion and a Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper as well as a Vice-President of World Sailing.

“But if we manage to join the two worlds together then it will be positive as it opens the race to many new sailors to join and creates a much bigger calendar of events for the teams racing in Open 60s.”

The partnership means the leading designers in offshore sailing will be engaged in the next edition of the race with the goal of producing the fastest fully-crewed offshore round the world racing monohull in history.

“Yachting is a sport that isn’t only about the crew, but it’s also about the equipment, so combining the two elements is what allows you to say you are at the pinnacle of offshore racing,” said Juan Kouyoumdjian, who has designed three Volvo Ocean Race winning boats in the past.

“I think it is a very positive step forward. The future will allow for the sailors and designers to push to the next level which will inevitably trickle down to other classes.”

“We’re trying to make a boat for the future that is capable of doing both short-handed and fully-crewed races,” said Guillaume Verdier, among of the busiest of the current IMOCA class and America’s Cup designers. “My opinion is that it is doable with a bit of compromise from both worlds to meet in the middle.”

The partnership with IMOCA will also ensure that the boats will allow for the production of cutting-edge media, as was the case on the current edition of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Live access to the boats while they were racing in some of the most remote oceans of the world, as well as drone footage and media produced by on-board reporters made for ground-breaking coverage that produced record fan engagement.

This remains an important priority for the next race.

As does crew diversity. The 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race featured 23 female sailors as well as 30 sailors under the age of 30. Both were records for the race. This is a trend to be encouraged for the future.

“The process is just starting,” said Nick Bice, manager of the Boatyard in the current race. “We’ve had four of the current IMOCA designers with us to help us understand the issues we’re going to face.

“We’ll forward everyone’s input to the joint committee and get started on developing the rules that will be used for Open 60s to participate in the next race. Our goal is to have this ready to go by the end of the year.”

The future of the VO65 class of boats, used in the last two editions of the race, will be revealed in the coming weeks.

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Final grant to tackle ghost nets


At the last Volvo Ocean Race stopover in The Hague, Vestas 11th Hour Racing gave their final activation grant to Healthy Seas, an environmental initiative that addresses the  impact fishing nets are having on our seas.

Healthy Seas works in partnership with Ghost Fishing, a group of divers who remove marine litter from the oceans and seas, with a focus on discarded fishing nets that can harm marine life. The funding will support their ‘Journey from Waste to Wear’ initiative, turning the collected fishing nets into textile products such as socks, swimwear and carpets used in Volvo Cars.

Healthy Seas

Every year 640,000 tons of fishing gear is abandoned in the oceans. So far the group has removed 375 tons of fishing nets in five years, not only getting rid of marine debris, but also freeing fish and crustaceans, and preventing the death of marine mammals and sea turtles.

Alongside an education programme that goes into schools to teach children about marine pollution, they also work with fisherman to prevent unwanted old nets being discarded in the sea or sent to landfill.

“Thanks to the generous donation from 11th Hour Racing we will be able to organize about seven diving trips which will allow us to remove approximately 2.1 tons of ghost gear from the seas. We can’t save the world alone, but by doing something good we hope to inspire others to follow,” said Veronika Mikos, Project Coordinator of Healthy Seas. “According to a recent report, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. We all have to work hard against it, not to let it happen.”

This is the final and twelfth grant awarded by 11th Hour Racing during the Volvo Ocean Race, with the team choosing a local environmental issue to focus on at each host city.

“It’s been fascinating and an honor to meet with so many different NGOs from around the world and learn about what affects their local communities,” said Mark Towill, Team Director, Vestas 11th Hour Racing. “It’s been inspiring to see how many individuals are truly passionate about improving the health of the oceans that we crossed as we’ve sailed around the globe. We are incredibly proud of the work we have accomplished as a team in raising awareness about specific environmental issues to millions of fans and followers, leveraging the high visibility of this fantastic race.”

"It's been an honour to learn about the work of each of the 12 organizations we've supported as the team has sailed around the world," said Rob MacMillian, Co-Founder, and Advisor, 11th Hour Racing. “So much of our partnership with the team is about impact and creating positive change, and this grant project has provided a unique legacy that will carry our messages far into the future.”

11th Hour Racing are also working in partnership with Bluewater on Imagine H2O 2018 Urban Drinking Water Scarcity Challenge, designed to address urban drinking water scarcity challenges. 

A diverse list of over 100 ‘waterpreneurs’ from around the world have registered for Imagine H2O’s 2018 Urban Drinking Water Scarcity Challenge. 

The Challenge offers a financial commitment up to a total USD1 million in awards and potential deployment follow-on investment.

Of the 100+ registered startups in the Challenge so far, 48 percent are from North America, 20 percent from Africa, 16 percent from Europe and 11 percent from Asia. The top five countries are in the following order: USA, Canada, India, UK and Uganda.

A specific Asia track supported by Enterprise Singapore will offer additionally deployment grants to Challenge winners working in Southeast Asia.

© V11 HR/Damian Foxhall

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Turn the Tide on Plastic win sixth place overall with final In-Port Race comeback


It took until the final In-Port Race, but Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic moved off the bottom of the leaderboard on Saturday, securing sixth place in the Volvo Ocean Race.

© Marina Garcia/Volvo Ocean Race

The day started with SHK/Scallywag and Turn the Tide on Plastic with equal points on the overall race leaderboard. The tie-break mechanism is a team’s position in the In-Port Race Series and there, David Witt’s Scallywags held the advantage by a three-point margin.

But if Caffari could level the score or get ahead on the In-Port Series leaderboard, then her team would lift themselves into a sixth place finish overall by winning the tie-break.

A lot of things would need to go right for Caffari, and incredibly, it all came to pass.

It didn’t look good early when Turn the Tide on Plastic was penalised for not keeping clear of team AkzoNobel on a close cross. But at the next mark rounding, Scallywag hooked onto the mark, and was stopped while the rest of the fleet sailed past.

Eventually they freed themselves, but they were well behind and running out of time to catch up.

The last place result for Scallywag, combined with a hard-fought fourth place finish for Turn the Tide on Plastic, means Dee Caffari’s team sit in sixth place for the first time in the race.

That wasn’t the only scoreboard move on Saturday. Hometown hero Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel had a perfect start and led the race from beginning to end. That win, combined with a third place finish by team AkzoNobel mean the two Dutch skippers are tied for third on the In-Port Race Series, with Bekking winning the tie-break for the final podium spot by virtue of the better position in the final race.

--- MORE TO COME ---

Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Race Series Leaderboard - Final
1. MAPFRE – 64 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team – 56 points
3. Team Brunel – 50 points
4. team AkzoNobel – 50 points
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 35 points
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 25 points
7. Sun Hung Kai / Scallywag – 25 points

Volvo Ocean Race Overall Points Leaderboard - Final
1. Dongfeng Race Team – 73 points
2. MAPFRE – 70 points
3. Team Brunel – 69 points
4. team AkzoNobel – 59 points
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing – 39 points
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic – 32 points *
7. SHK / Scallywag – 32 points *

* Should there be a tie on the Overall Race Leaderboard at the end of the offshore legs, the In-Port Race Series standings will be used to break the tie.
** Should there be a tie on the In-Port Race Series leaderboard, the tie will be broken in favour of the team with the better result in the final race.


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