Archivio della categoria Volvo Ocean Race 2014/2015

What the skippers say

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What a start to 2017-18 Leg Zero has given us! It’s been exciting, intense, frustrating – and a great form guide for how the main event might play out when the teams assemble on the dock in Alicante in October. But what do the skippers think? We got their reactions immediately after crossing the Leg Zero finish line…

I think the decision to shorten the course was a good one…

Xabi Fernández, MAPFRE

We had an email a couple of hours ago from Race Control saying that the forecast was no wind at all and they decided to shorten the race which I think is a good decision because this Leg Zero was already becoming quite long and we are looking forward to finish and have a good rest.

© Jen Edney/Volvo Ocean Race

Leg Zero has been very interesting and we’ve seen a lot of things. We’ve done a lot of training in the winter and I think we’ve seen that we sail very well. We sailed the first time with Joan Vila as navigator and he worked really well with the team. We are sure the work we are doing is okay but we know very well the others, as we saw on the last part of Leg Zero, are improving.

I think the racing is going to be tight and you have to push all the time. Even tonight and yesterday afternoon, sometimes we were dead, then we pass the competition again. We have to push and sail well every watch. We knew all this but again this has been a reminder then you cannot ‘put your hands down’…

I think this race was a good test to see where we are

Simeon Tienpont, team AkzoNobel

What I’ve learnt from Leg Zero… I knew that it was hard to race these One Design boats but definitely you even learn more. How intense it is, how many decision moments there are, especially in these short, coastal races, you know, to get your way. We knew already it’s close action but definitely learnt how important it is to have the routine on board right and keep everyone focused all the time.

© Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

I think this race was a good test to see where we are, especially the upcoming few weeks we still have to look into some more detailed performance and where are the areas we don’t feel comfortable in yet. And have another look at the boat and try to learn as much as possible the capabilities of the boat and where she needs a little bit of extra attention.

We’ve been improving everyday we spend on the boat together 

Charlie Enright, Vestas 11th Hour Racing

There may never be another one quite like that, but we’ll take it… We’ve been improving everyday we spend on the boat together and it’s nice to see that improvement manifest itself in the form of a win. We still have a lot to work on but it gives us confidence in the process as we move forward.

© James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

We’ve got five weeks to fix our weaknesses

David Witt, SHK Scallywag

The racing on Leg Zero has shown us what we’re strong at, and what we’re weak at. We’ve got a month to work on our weaknesses now, which we’ve got to fix. MAPFRE have dominated, they’ve shown everybody how strong they are and they’ve set the bar where we’ve all got to get to.

© Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

We are not weak in all areas, they are some areas we are quite good at. It’s good to find this out now rather than on Leg 2 of the race. And now we’ve got five weeks to fix it – I’ve got a pretty good idea how to fix it and now we’ve just got to get on with it.

We learnt some things and good we slipped along nicely in the light air

Bouwe Bekking, Team Brunel

It was bit of an exciting finish, good come back from us that was really good. The first night was quite tricky but think we sailed really well afterwards, clawed right back into the guys who were ahead of us, and a photo finish between us and Turn The Tide on Plastic. But they switched their AIS off in the last little bit so we couldn’t see them anymore so we will see. But really happy with the race, think we learnt some things and good we slipped along nicely in the light air.

The gains we’ve made are quite impressive in a short space of time so I’m excited about what potentially can happen 

Dee Caffari, Turn the Tide on Plastic

To actually lead the fleet in this final stage of Leg Zero was absolutely awesome. The confidence it gave the team, you could see it, and the focus, the intensity, everyone raised their game because they could see the other boats so close.  Obviously now its dealing with the frustration of losing the miles as quickly as we gain them and I think that’s part of the lessons learnt. In the Volvo Ocean Race it’s very easy to lose places and miles and it doesn’t take a lot as we just saw at the bottom of the Bay of Biscay when the cards were reshuffled in this final leg. But it’s really nice for the guys to follow the fleet, be in the mix, and now having had that experience of leading the fleet and I think they realise there is more pressure leading from the front with everyone chasing you down than it is hunting from the back.

© Jeremie Lecaudey/Volvo Ocean Rac

We haven’t had a lot of time, we haven’t got an announced team yet so it’s still kind of difficult to be a team that’s building. But it’s been quite reassuring that we are taking the right direction with the crew selection by the results we’v seen on Leg Zero. The gains we’ve made are quite impressive in a short space of time so I’m quite excited about what potentially can happen now and the time we’ve got before the main event starts in October.

It’s really great this time to have the #cleanseas message, rather than a corporate brand, on our sails and we have a different message on each side of the sail. We want to raise peoples awareness and change peoples behaviour and how they conduct themselves regarding single use plastics. If we can be seen, be liked and raise people consciousness and awareness around their use of plastic, then we are doing the right thing.


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MAPFRE seal overall Leg Zero victory as light winds force shortened course on final stage

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MAPFRE did enough to take the overall Leg Zero honours after the fourth and final stage of the Volvo Ocean Race qualifying series was shortened due to continued forecasts of lights winds.

The stage, which started from Saint-Malo on Sunday and had been due to see the teams race all the way to Lisbon, was brought to a close at 0430 UTC on Wednesday morning.

Fast-improving Vestas 11th Hour Racing took the stage win with the shortest Distance to Finish at 0430 UTC.

team AkzoNobel were second, and third place in the stage was enough for MAPFRE to seal overall victory.

“I think it was a good decision (to shorten the stage) because this Leg Zero was already becoming quite long,” said MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández. “It’s been very interesting. We’ve done a lot of training over the winter and I think we’ve seen that we sail very well.”

The decision to call a halt to the racing came late on Tuesday night as the stage had become a drifting contest, with the teams making a series of expensive gybes in a bid to find some wind, and latest ETAs predicting that the boats would not reach Lisbon until well into Thursday.

“Preparation time for the Volvo Ocean Race is at a real premium and we have to make sure the teams are using that time in the best way to get ready,” said Race Director Phil Lawrence, who had already taken the decision to split the race into two parts because of the lack of wind on the first day of racing.

No actual points are at stake on Leg Zero, which was introduced as a means to give the teams crucial time on the water in racing conditions before the Volvo Ocean Race itself begins in October.

At 1900 UTC on Tuesday, speeds for the Volvo Ocean 65s on the final stage were around 5 knots, with all but Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag just off Cape Finisterre.

After being informed of the decision to cut short racing, the teams had about eight hours to adjust their strategy.

By 0100 UTC on Wednesday, the teams were making slow progress down the north western coast of Spain in isolated pockets of breeze ranging from 2-6 knots from a southerly direction.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing and MAPFRE were at the head of the pack before team AkzoNobel started to advance, sailing slightly to the west and managing to avoid the pocket of light airs affecting their rivals.

On a difficult and frustrating night for the teams, Vestas 11th Hour Racing did just enough to hold on and finish Leg Zero on a high note.

“There may never be another one quite like that, but we’ll take it,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “We’ve been improving every day we spend on the boat together and it’s nice to see that improvement manifest itself in the form of a win. We still have a lot to work on but it gives us confidence in the process as we move forward.”

Leg Zero, stage four rankings

1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing
2. team AkzoNobel
3. MAPFRE
4. Dongfeng Race Team
5. Team Brunel
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag

Leg Zero, overall final rankings

1. MAPFRE 29 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team 24
3. Team Brunel 24
4. team AkzoNobel 22
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing 20
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic 12
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag 9


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MAPFRE invest in west – and it’s looking best

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With the exception of Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, the fleet remained close together to the east of the front throughout the night, experiencing light northeasterly winds as they sailed down wind towards Cape Finisterre.

At 0800 UTC, MAPFRE began to break away from the fleet, by sailing more west and committing to sailing through the front in order to reach the new northerly winds that were beginning to form.

The Spanish team’s navigator Joan Vila took himself away from the computer – and being on deck making observations is key for all the navigators during key moments like these.

This investment to the west by MAPFRE was a key moment in the final stage of Leg Zero which put them screaming into the lead three hours later, sailing 50% faster and in more wind than their rivals.

The remainder of the fleet were facing slow upwind conditions associated with the southern extent of the decaying cold front, producing a light westerly airflow. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag had invested in the west very early on in this leg to find the new northerly wind flow, however this strategy has now placed them much further north and upwind of the fleet.

At 1300 UTC, MAPFRE were leading the way into Cape Finisterre with 340 miles to the finish. The wind will settle in the north with fast downwind sailing along the Portuguese coast all the way to Lisbon.

The Spanish team are clear Leg Zero leaders after three completed stages of four, thanks to two wins and a runner-up spot.


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MAPFRE move pays off but it’s slow going on Leg Zero

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With the exception of Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, the fleet remained close together throughout the night, experiencing light northeasterly winds as they sailed down wind towards Cape Finisterre.

At 0800 UTC, MAPFRE split from the rest of the Volvo Ocean 65s, sailing more west and committing to a path through the front in order to reach the new northerly winds that were beginning to form.

The Spanish team’s navigator Joan Vila took himself away from the computer – and being on deck making observations is key for all the navigators during moments like these.

This investment to the west by MAPFRE was the crucial move in the final stage of Leg Zero which put them screaming into the lead three hours later, sailing 50% faster and in more wind than their rivals.

The remainder of the fleet were facing slower upwind conditions associated with the southern extent of the decaying cold front, producing a light westerly airflow. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag went west very early on in this leg in search of new northerly wind flow, however this strategy placed them much further north and upwind of the fleet.

Update at 1500 UTC:

MAPFRE are holding onto a lead of nearly 3 miles as the boats approach Cape Finisterre in dying wind.

The fleet is now in a critical situation, sandwiched between Spanish rocky cliffs to the south and a zone of no wind dropping down on top of them.

We’re in this sort of north westerly breeze but it’s not going to last long. It’s a race against time for us to get south and down the Spanish/Portuguese coast before a ridge of high-pressure squashes over us

Simon Fisher, Vestas 11th Hour Racing

Nobody has more than 4 knots of wind at the moment and the crews will be struggling to keep the sails filled as the boats wallow in the swell generated by the approaching depression to the north west of the fleet. Frustrating times but still good practice as the Volvo Ocean Race includes four passages through the doldrums and whatever they can learn now about light wind sailing could win the race later. 

For now, the Spanish team have a strong Leg Zero advantage thanks to two wins, one second place and a clear lead today. 


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Leg Zero latest – which side will pay?

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Since the restart of the fourth and final Leg Zero race off Brittany, Vestas 11th Hour Race have set the rhythm in the south, with MAPFRE, team AkzoNobel, Dongfeng Race Team and Turn the Tide on Plastic in their wake.

At around 1900 UTC on Monday, it looked like the western flyers, Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag and Team Brunel, had finally got the new wind and would sail around the other group who were struggling.

Now, the southern group, still led by Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Sun Hun Kai/Scallywag, have pulled off a pincer manoeuvre on Team Brunel.

The fleet is now spread over 50 miles of the Bay of Biscay, the biggest split we have seen so far in Leg Zero.

The boats being so far apart means they are sailing in completely different wind. Vestas 11th Hour Racing have 11kts of wind from the west, while Sun Hun Kai/Scallywag have reached the new wind first and are in over 15kts from the north. Team Brunel are stuck in the middle, trying any route that will get them to the new wind.

At 0700 UTC the situation is as follows:

1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing.
2. Turn The Tide on Plastic. Distance to Lead 0.9 nm
3. team AkzoNobel DTL 1.5 nm
4. Dongfeng Race Team DTL 1.7 nm
5. MAPFRE. DTL 5.6 nm
6. Team Brunel. DTL 18.3 nm
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag. 23.7 nm

Perhaps the really significant thing is that for the first time in Leg Zero, MAPFRE are trailing the leaders and their overall advantage in the pre-Volvo Ocean Race qualifiers could be vulnerable. That’s because the first boats to Cape Finisterre will benefit from stronger winds and will be able to extend further.

The latest ETA into Lisbon is for 1900 UTC on Wednesday – and there could be a significant time difference between the first and last boats.


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