Editorial: No love lost in Volvo fracas

movistar has made a big jump on the rest of the Volvo fleet - behind her it is a line-up © Oskar Kihlborg/ Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006
Overnight a real back alley knife fight has developed off the South American coast as movistar has pulled a move on the rest of the fleet and jumped into a 23 mile lead, which at one point was out to 31 miles. Next is Pirates of the Caribbean and then, sensationally, the remaining four boats are all within a mile of each other!

If you look at Virtual Spectator (yes, you can download it for free), you’ll be able to see the ducking and diving that has gone on in fickle airs, as the boats try to get that vital jump that may allow them to get into a different wind pattern, and sail away from the rest of the fleet.

The bad news for the competitors is that there are 4400 miles to go!

As we have said before, this race has copped a fair amount of criticism, most of it premature. It was a bold move producing the Volvo 70 class. But from this scribe’s perspective, there’s no gain without pain, and you have to expect teething problems with a boat of this type trying to race at full pace around the world. The sort of positioning that we have seen in the latest report is unprecedented in any Round the World Race, and is testimony the calibre of the boats and sailors.

Hopefully, movistar skipper Bouwe Bekking (NED) copped this cut from an on-board accident, and not one of the competitors they passed overnight!
As race leading skipper, Mike Sanderson, commented earlier in the week, the difference between ABN Amro One+Two and the rest is that they broke everything the others have, before the race started. Now that the wrinkles have hopefully been ironed out of the rest of the fleet, we can enjoy some great racing in the half of the course that is left.

We have our new style Volvo Reports running properly now. We trust you enjoy them and find them very informative. Sail-World.com can do the same style of report for any event from Volvo racers to Optimists.

We feature a report on the Black Heart Finn Masters championships sailed at Waiuku last weekend. A great report from the class, which we are pleased to run. There’s no doubt there is a real growth in Masters events as the Baby Boomers outgrow their kids, and the good numbers that we have seen in both the Finn Masters and Nationals are backed up by similar fleets in the Laser class and the 80 plus sailors who turned out for the Zephyr Nationals easier this season. It’s a great way to enjoy what you used to do and get away from the mobile phone!

If your class has a club, national or international event that you’d like others to know about please send a report and photo through to nzeditor@sail-world.com Not only will you get exposure for your class in New Zealand, but these stories get picked up by other Sail-World regions. The Finn Masters story is already on our UK website and being read by Finn sailors and others in the UK and Europe. And it was on the web, within a few minutes of being received by us.

Where else, but Sail-World.com, can your class get this sort of free publicity and Instant Reach?

Until Friday.

Good Sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor