Welcome to Sail-World.com's Volvo Ocean Race Newsletter for 28 March 2012
Ten days ago the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, all six of them, left Auckland in the teeth of a strong NE breeze and big seas, which set the scene for the high attrition rate which has been the feature of Leg 5.
As we write, just two boats of the fleet have not either signalled their intention, or have actually suspended racing, on the Southern Ocean leg - supposed to be the highlight of the race.
Instead we have a trail of broken boats, as crews have found that these boats can be red-lined almost too easily, and underscoring the comments made in Auckland by several experienced Round the World racers, that the 2011-12 event, had to that date, been one of the easiest they had experienced.
Well no more. The fleet have had their backsides kicked by King Neptune. The two boats who have not suspended racing, past or future, are carrying some significant crew injuries, and there may well be replacements for Leg 6, when they reach Itajai in Brazil.
Groupama and Team Sanya cross tacks in from of a packed waterfront - Inport-Auckland-VOR - Volvo Ocean Race: In Port Race, Auckland March 17, 2012 Richard Gladwell
Oddly enough, the mishaps that have struck the fleet will probably have the effect of compressing the points table. Maybe even more so after Telefonica has appeared in front of the International Jury in Brazil, to answer a report from the Measurer, that she carried two storm jibs on Leg 4, when only one was allowed.
Latest report from Abu Adhabi: 'Not only have we finally joined the war in the Southern Ocean, but we just hit 40 knots while surfing down a wave,' wrote Media Crew Member Nick Dana. The boat is averaging 23-24 knots with one reef in the mainsail and the J4 headsail set. Overnight, the crew were on deck ‘hooting and hollering' at whoever was at the helm, geeing them on for a good shot at the next wave. 'The boat is handling fantastically – this is the first time we have really had her in this kind of situation and everyone is very pleased,' Dana concluded.
Puma, Volvo Ocean Race - Pro-Am March Richard Gladwell
The forecast predicts the team will stay with the depression for at least 24 hours, which will provide 25-30 knots of breeze with a following sea. 'We're pointed right at the barn door and we should tick off the miles nicely now,' Dana says.
The deep south biffo of the past 10 days, is in stark contrast to the festivities of Auckland. The City of Sails welcomed back a long lost friend, after an absence of ten years. And and put into good use all the practice celebration sessions of the 2011 Rugby World Cup - which also had its social epicentre in downtown Auckland and the Viaduct harbour.
Crowd estimates were in the multiple tens of thousands with an estimated 40,000 cramming vantage points for the finish; maybe 100,000 for the start; and a counted 300,000 passed through the Viaduct Harbour - in just over a week.
Those are numbers to make any sailing event organiser drool - particularly from a city of just 1.5million. Don't forget to add in the numbers who watched the InPort Race and Leg 5 Start live on free-to-air TV, and you have an event with significant local and international impact.
In this edition of Sail-World's Volvo Ocean Race newsletter we feature the best of the Auckland stopover, and the opening week or so of Leg 5.
Richard Mason explains how the damage occurred the the broken rudder stockon Team Sanya arriving in Tauranga Gareth Cooke/Volvo Ocean Race
One thing is for sure, the action hasn't stopped. Stay tuned to www.sail-world.com as the drama and action continues to unfold.
Richard Gladwell Editor@Large
If you wish to see Sail-World's complete Volvo OR coverage, go to www.sail-world.com - and click on the Volvo Ocean Race button in the top header bar, you'll see all stories for all regions from this exciting race - all updated as the race unfolds.
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