Highs and lows—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
Two days ago Groupama 4 enjoyed a narrow lead over Telefonica and Puma Ocean Racing's Mar Mostro with ENTZ's Camper in close pursuit—in the light, upwind airs that the fleet must negotiate before rounding São Miguel in the Azores and then spinning their bows towards France and Leg Eight's finishing line. 'So far the three of us have been glued to each other for the entire race. It's no wonder that three nearly identical boats are on top of each other,' said Puma skipper Ken Read of the three Juan K-designed Volvo Open 70s that have been leading the chase since Alicante.
But with the massive low now in place the six Volvo Open 70s are going at full pace in the North Atlantic with plenty of runway ahead.
The breeze has been steadily buildings as a depression moves in from the Atlantic. As the wind increases, so the speeds climb - and this morning comes the news that the race distance record, set by Camper on Leg 1, has been broken by Telefonica.
ABN AMRO ONE powers along during the 2005-06 race Oskar Kihlborg/Volvo Ocean Race
Also VOR-related, the event's media team has put together a piece that looks at what it takes to win this grueling offshore event, both in previous years and also in this highly contested edition. 'When we won the race it was something we just chipped away at from the start,' said Mike Sanderson, winning skipper of ABN Amro One in the 2005/2006 edition and skipper of Team Sanya> in this lap. 'We built a lead from the first night of the race really, so it was a very different situation.' Get Sanderson and Rob Greenhalgh's (Sanderson's 2005/2006 team mate aboard ABN Amro One and currently a watch captain aboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's Azzam) thoughts on what it will take to win the 2011/2012 edition, which is by far the most competitive in the race's storied history. More, inside.
Also offshore but closer to home, crews competing in the Newport-Bermuda Race—as well as the race organizers—are making their final preparations before Friday's start. 'The participants attending are an extraordinary group from boats that were built in the 1930s to boats that just came out of the mould six months ago,' said Newport Bermuda Race chairman, John Osmond. On the organizational side of things, Osmond reports a well-run ship. 'Everything is going along quite smoothly... All the pieces have come together and everybody has been working very hard.' Sailors can no doubt look forward to a fantastic race; those of us who are stuck shore side, be sure to stay current with the website for the latest updates, as they unfurl.
PORTO CERVO, ITALY. 2012. Azzurra crew in action during the free practice day in Porto Cervo on June 11, 2011 in Porto Cervo, Italy (photo by Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries) Xaume Olleros/52 Superseries
Meanwhile, on the waters off of Sardinia's Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, six TP52 teams and six Soto 40s are lined up for the Audi Sardinia Cup, which starts Wednesday. The mistral winds have been blowing this week, testing crews and boats alike as teams prepare for the main event. 'We are in good shape,' reported Ed Reynolds, general manager of Quantum Racing. 'The crew communication has improved and we have been working on making the boat go fast... But everybody is going to have to be on their best game here. They are here to beat us.'
And on a somber tone, a US Sailing Independent Review Panel has concluded that the cause of the fatalities on April 28th during the Newport to Ensenada Race was a grounding on North Coronado Island. This tragically led to the deaths of four sailors aboard the Aegean, a Hunter 376. According to a press release, US Sailing arrived at their conclusion by reconstructing the Aegean's position reports, along with a meeting with the U.S. Coast Guard's San Diego Sector's investigation team. The full report from this terrible accident is expected out in late July.
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