Monday, April 20, 2009

Volvo Ocean Race fleet halfawy through to Boston

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race]

The halfway point on leg six of the Volvo Ocean Race has been reached and long-term leader, Telefónica Blue is in the enviable position of being able to watch the battle unfold over 100 miles behind them.

“We have been keeping pace with the guys behind which gives us some comfort, although we are still pushing hard to maintain our position,” noted helmsman Simon Fisher.

Telefónica Blue is at the same latitude as the island of Trinidad, but 1000 nm to the east and 1100 nm from the Caribbean island of Antigua. Behind them, the closest racing is between Ericsson 3, now in third place, just holding off Ericsson 4 who is a mile behind, and PUMA who is three miles behind. Thirty-three miles back, Telefónica Black and Delta Lloyd are also engaged in combat with just eight miles separating the two, while Green Dragon is threatening, just two miles behind.

During the last three hours, the chasing pack has been averaging approximately a knot faster than Telefónica Blue has and it is PUMA who has covered the furthest distance since 1300 GMT yesterday, sailing 486 nm.

PUMA’s skipper, Kenny Read, describes the sailing as beautiful but wet, reaching in 18 – 20 knots of wind in the northeast trades, a band of wind about as predictable as any in the world. According to Kenny, it leads to a different style of sailing. “Not the ‘sail-changing world championships’ we have bad over the past week, this is more the ‘throw up all the rag you can and hold on’ style of sailing,” he says.

Ericsson 3 has made some gains on the fleet in the last 24 hours, moving up to second place. “We even gained on Ericsson 4, something almost unheard of,” explained navigator Aksel Magdahl. “We know what sails to use and have set the boat up nicely. We also have very strong helmsmen and trimmers, who can tweak a few tenths of a knot extra out of the boat,” he explained.

Leg Six Day 9: 1300 GMT Volvo Ocean Race Positions
(boat name/country/skipper/nationality/distance to finish)

1. Telefónica Blue ESP (Bouwe Bekking/NED) DTF 2,449 nm
2. Ericsson 3 SWE (Magnus Olsson/SWE) +104 nm
3. Ericsson 4 SWE (Torben Grael/BRA) +105 nm
4. PUMA Racing Team USA (Ken Read/USA) +107 nm
5. Telefónica Black ESP (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) +140 nm
6. Delta Lloyd IRL (Roberto Bermúdez/ESP) +148 nm
7. Green Dragon IRL/CHN (Ian Walker/GBR) +150 nm
8. Team Russia RUS (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) DNS

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sailing history to come alive in Portofino in May

NORTHERN LIGHT Sail Number: 14 Elizabeth Tiedemann 12 Metre New York Yacht Club Race Week Photo: ©ROLEX / Dan Nerney

The Portofino Rolex Trophy is a new regatta that will be celebrating its inaugural edition this year in one of Italy's most iconic port villages. From May 7-10, 2009, the picturesque port of Portofino, on the Ligurian coast, will be the venue of choice for a series of races dedicated to the "barca d'epoca," vessels that have helped make sailing history, namely the classic yachts.

Open to the 23-Metre, 12M and 8M classes, the Portofino Rolex Trophy is an invitation-only regatta that promises spectacular racing along with a host of onshore activities. Read on…