Volvo Ocean Race - Newsletter - Leg 1 12 November 2011
Xabi Fernandez and Iker Martinez, both from Spain, are named ISAF Sailors of the Year 2011. Team Telefonica during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Diego Fructuoso/ Team Telefónica
Welcome to Sail-World.com's Volvo Ocean Race Newsletter for 12 November 2011
The action has continued in the Volvo Ocean Race, even though Leg 1 is less than a week old.
Today comes the news that Abu Dhabi has elected to pull out of Leg 1, clearly they realise they have no hope of catching the frontrunners, some of who are now hitting 23 kts while Azzam was in light conditions trying to exit the Med. Clearly they had no chance of catching the the frontrunners and the gain of a few points over Team Sanya wasn't worth the risk of dropping an untuned rig.
We have a story from Ian Walker, skipper of Azzam in this edition, where he backgrounds the decision.
'As we said when we left Alicante we were just coming out to see how the new spare mast set up and we are carrying on our investigation as to why the original mast breakage occurred.
'It's been an agonising period but on balance today we made the call that we needed enough time in Cape Town to make some modifications to our rigging.'
Skipper Ian Walker and the crew of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing retire from leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Staying with those shoreside, we have a conducted tour with crew member, Richard Mason, through Team Sanya and check the damage. It is not until you see the inside of the boat for yourself that you realise the enormity of what has happened, and how close they were to losing the boat completely.
Clearly the decision to close the watertight bulkhead when the weather cut up was what saved Team Sanya, and they will live to fight another day.
Rob Salthouse trimming in the rain onboard Camper with Emirates Team New Zealand during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12. Hamish Hooper/CAMPER/Volvo Ocean Race
On the water, the bout continues between the three boats to the north, Telefonica, Puma and Camper and in the south corner, we have Groupama, ably led by the wily Franck Cammas.
Brief picture is that against all conventional wisdom, Groupama hugged the African coast, and should have been spat out long ago. However Cammas must know something the computer does not, as he rode the thermal breeze and got sucked down the coast, stretch out to a lead well in excess of 200nm over the three in the north corner.
Major damage sustained to Team Sanya during leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. (Credit: Andres Soriano/Team Sanya/Volvo Ocean Race) Andres Soriano/Team Sanya/Volvo Ocean Race
As matters stand the boats behind are flying, Groupama is slowing and has to find her way through the widest point of the Doldrums.
By rights Groupama should get done like a dinner. But then again that should have happened a few days ago, and didn't. Will he be able to get Groupama through and into the Tradewinds - we'll know the answer in a few days.
In this edition we done an analysis of the state of the play, and tried to explain how one boat can be hundreds of miles in front, but will really come fourth inside a week. Top international sailing journalist Justin Chisholm of the Volvo Ocean Race, also explains on video.
Route options for Groupama, at 0655hrs GMT on 11 November, with the options for Telefonica in the lighter track. Computer routing has always told Groupama to head west - always more extreme than this option. PredictWind.com
Those of you who subscribe to Predictwind will recocnise the graphics we are using in our coverage, which are invaluable in sorting out what is happening, and who is is going to be in the money in a few days time as they round the first gate off the coast of Brazil and head for Capetown.
Our pick is that the fleet will be a lot closer together than they are now and that the second stage of the leg to Capetown will be a hell of a fight. However one thing is for sure - what you see today will be completely different tomorrow. So stay tuned to www.sail-world.com for the latest updates.
We have an editorial team on watch around the world 24x7 bringing you all the latest developments.
Casey Smith caddies a sail on the foredeck as it goes up the rig. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG during Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 Amory Ross/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race
From here on we will are publishing weekly. All going to plan we will be sending another newsletter after the fleet have rounded the gate off Brazil - predicted for the 17th November GMT. For the latest updates stay tuned to www.sail-world.com - and click on the Volvo Ocean Race button in the top header bar, to see all stories for all regions from this exciting race - all updated as the race unfolds.
Richard Gladwell Editor@Large
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