Telefónica Surges To Victory In Capre Town V&A Waterfront In-Port Race
Team Telefónica surged to victory in Saturday’s Cape Town V&A Waterfront In-Port Race to strengthen their overall lead after PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG had briefly hinted at a fairytale comeback to the Volvo Ocean Race.
Telefónica, first into Cape Town at the end of Leg 1, led from the start in warm sunshine and breezes averaging 14 knots in Table Bay, only for PUMA’s Mar Mostro to sneak past them at the first mark.
Ken Read’s team, who only arrived in Cape Town midweek after becoming the third team forced to retire from Leg 1, then looked to be in a strong position but a sail handling mistake allowed Telefónica and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand to streak past them on the way to mark 5, after which there was no way back.
Telefónica, last in the first in-port race in Alicante, finished the Cape Town V&A Waterfront In-Port Race in 52 minutes 55 seconds, with CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in second 43 seconds back and PUMA third a further nine seconds behind them.
“We are very happy,” said skipper Iker Martínez. “It was important for us to do well here in Cape Town after struggling in Alicante.”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were fourth, Groupama sailing team fifth and Team Sanya sixth.
The result sees Telefónica consolidate first place overall with 37 points, followed by CAMPER with 34 and Groupama 24. PUMA and Abu Dhabi are tied on nine points, with Sanya on four.
"Second is good but unfortunately it puts us further behind the leaders on points,” said CAMPER skipper Chris Nicholson.
“The start cost us but after the start we had a nice march on. Hats off to the guys on board. The crew work was very nice. There were some high pressure manoeuvres that came through nicely."
For PUMA and the other two teams forced to retire from Leg 1 – Abu Dhabi with a broken mast and Sanya with a massive hole in their hull – it was a real achievement just to make it to the start line.
That PUMA hinted at one of the great comebacks in the race’s history was scarcely credible.
PUMA, who lost their rig in the south Atlantic in Leg 1 and had to seek refuge at the impossibly remote Tristan da Cunha, only got the boat back to the shore base in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
After hours of round-the-clock graft, they had the replacement mast back in and on Saturday it looked like they had never been away.
Telefónica led from the beginning, blasting through the start line with their spinnaker flying to take an early gain.
PUMA and Telefónica, both latest generation designs from Juan Kouyoumdjian, had raced neck and neck at the front of the fleet for days on end in Leg 1 and Read’s team stuck close once again.
By mark one PUMA had reeled them in, rounding 14 seconds ahead of their Spanish rivals. After splitting from the leaders after mark 1, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Groupama took advantage of a shift of wind direction and pulled back vital ground, all six teams rounding mark 2 within two minutes of each other.
It was a lead PUMA were to enjoy until a crucial moment after the fourth mark.
Telefónica made their move by gybing away from PUMA and were followed by CAMPER.
Sail choice – PUMA having to go for reaching sails while Telefónica and CAMPER went for downwind sails – proved critical and by the time the split boats came back together Martínez’s men were in front, PUMA having to settle for third place rounding mark 5.
Read explained that they had been forced to gamble on their sails.
“We blew our kite at the leeward mark when we were leading and we had to take a chance and it didn’t work,” the American skipper said. “Iker gave us a bit of an opening and I put too much pressure in the kite so I will put my hand up to that mistake.
“It was good to be racing again. The boat did its part today and I think we let the boat down. We live to fight another day. We are on the podium and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Once out in front Telefónica didn’t look back, crossing the line 400 metres ahead of CAMPER, who took second place ahead of PUMA.
The teams are straight back in action on Sunday with Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi, starting at 1300 UTC/GMT.
The route has been redrawn for the second leg because of the threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean, with the teams due to make for an undisclosed safe haven port and then be transported by heavy lift ship to a position off the Sharjah coastline in the northern Emirates. From there they will sprint in to Abu Dhabi for the finish.
For further quotes, check www.volvooceanrace.com
In-Port Race Results:
1. Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez), 52:55
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson) +0:43
3. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG (Ken Read) +0:52
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker) +1:19
5. Groupama sailing team (Franck Cammas) +1:49
6. Team Sanya (Mike Sanderson) +4:10
Full Strength Fleet Returns To Racing Action
For three teams it will be an achievement simply making the start line of the V&A Waterfront In-Port Race in Cape Town on Saturday (1300 GMT/UTC) but don’t expect the competition to be anything less than full-blooded when all six boats get to race against each other for the first time in over a month.
Team Sanya, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG were all forced to retire from Leg 1 and have been working against the clock to get their boats ready for the weekend.
For the three teams that made the Leg 1 podium – winners Team Telefónica, second-placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand and Groupama sailing team in third -- it has scarcely been less frantic with a shorter than usual Cape Town stopover meaning all have had to graft to complete their work lists.
Given the lack of time to put anything right for Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi, which starts on Sunday, you could forgive all the teams for choosing a safety first approach for the in-port race but that would not sit well with the competitive nature of the six skippers.
“I’d love to say we’re smart enough to ease off but I’m not sure we are,” said Ken Read, skipper of PUMA’s Mar Mostro.
The leaderboard heading into Saturday has Telefónica with 31 points, CAMPER with 29 and Groupama with 22, followed by Abu Dhabi on 6, PUMA with 5 and Sanya 3. The winners of the in-port race will scoop 6 points, with 5 for second and so on down to 1 point for last place.
In total, the in-port racing delivers close to 20 per cent of the points and with the 2011-12 edition tipped to be the most competitive ever, the value of the shorter races – which are scheduled to last less than an hour and give the public a chance to see the boats in close-quarter competition – is not lost on anyone.
“I’ll try and win the race,” said Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker. “It’s even more important for us now because we’re behind on points, so one way we can claw back some of those points is to try and excel in the in-port race. We’re just going to work; we’re going to give it hell, yeah.”
The racecourse will be located outside of Cape Town’s port to the east of Table Bay if the wind is blowing from the south east, and will feature a downwind start followed by an L-shaped course. If the wind swings to the south west, the course will be moved to the west of the bay to escape the wind shadow created by Table Mountain.
The forecast is for around 15 knots of wind – perfect racing conditions for the Volvo Open 70s to provide a spectacle to the thousands of spectators expected to line the shores of the bay.
Abu Dhabi, Sanya and PUMA were all back out sailing on Thursday after sterling work from their shore crews to get ready. Abu Dhabi had to step the mast and tune the rig after coming in by container ship on November 30. Sanya arrived the same day and had to put their boat together again after building a huge replacement section of their hull. PUMA only got the boat back to their shore base in the early hours of Wednesday morning and have had to work round the clock to replace the mast and complete preparations.
The other teams have all checked their rigging carefully after the events of Leg 1 and are eager for battle to recommence.
“We are stronger now than when we left Alicante,” said Groupama skipper Franck Cammas. “We are in good shape in terms of boat preparation for the next leg and in good shape with our spirits.”
Telefónica won the first leg but could not have performed worse in the first in-port race so their mood is anything but complacent.
“The team is very happy but at the same time very realistic,” said skipper Iker Martínez. “Just because we won the first leg we’re not thinking that we’re better than the others. That can be a big mistake.”
Team Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez:
“It was not good racing in Alicante for the in-port race, but then the first leg was the best that you can do, winning the leg. The first leg is very special, so that’s even more important. Now it is time to go again for the in-port. As we saw in the first leg it is very important to make the boat safe, so on one hand you want to go very fast, and on the other you don’t want to break your boat. So we’re looking forward to the in-port. We were always thinking that being on the podium is a good position to start. We were a little bit scared, as always before you start, that someone else is very fast and you won’t be able to catch him, which is what happened last time with Ericsson or the one before with ABN. But once we were sailing we saw that we were good, and we saw that everyone was close. We understand that this race is probably going to be close all the time.”
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Chris Nicholson:
“I’m feeling a little rushed to be honest with you, but everyone will be in the same boat. It is an extremely compressed schedule at the moment but in all the rushing around and everything we’re pretty conscious about what are the priorities, what are the big things we have to get right. The boat’s in fantastic shape from a really good refit basically in Cape Town and the crew’s all healthy -- Mike’s got his front teeth back, so all in all we’re in good shape. I guess like anything we’d always like more time to prepare tactically or weather wise, but you know, that is what it is and we’re in the same boat as everyone else.”
Groupama sailing team skipper Franck Cammas:
“We are in good shape in terms of boat preparation for the next leg and in good shape with our spirits. We are good and we have a lot of chances to keep going like that. The ambience will be the same as the Alicante start with the first night very hard on the boats and the crew with a lot of wind ahead. It’s still a good test for the ability of the boats but with the first leg out of the way and with the incidents on the other boats the fleet is now more prepared and we can be more confident in the reliability of the fleet.”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker:
“We’re good -- we’re back to us being in A1 condition. It feels a bit strange because really we should be feeling super confident like we were when we left Alicante, but obviously we can’t get the mast failure out of our minds and that is going to take us a while to get over that. We need to fall off some big waves and get confidence in the mast and rigging back, that’s not something you can force that’s just going to come over time. You’d like to say you need to be more careful, but our rig didn’t fall down because we weren’t being careful, and neither did PUMA’s, and these boats can bite you in any conditions so we just have to make sure we keep our concentration, make sure we don’t make a mistake, which can always happen, and then just rely on the design and technology to stay in one piece.”
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG skipper Ken Read:
“I think it will be good therapy for us. We need to go racing. It’s what we do, it’s what we’re here for. We haven’t done it in a long time. A hundred per cent of me is scared that this is our last rig. We have to walk before we can run. Would it be a wonderful Cinderella story to go out and win the In-Port Race? Of course it would. But it’s going to be windy and it’s easy to say now but if we do something stupid and lose our rig our race is over. I’d love to say we’re smart enough to ease off but I’m not sure we are. OK, so things didn’t go our way. Do you sit around and feel sorry for yourself or do you make the best of it. Hopefully we dragged a few more people into our sport because of it.”
Team Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson:
“It’s just blown me away that the guys managed to fix this thing in a week. It feels as good as it should. The rusty bit is going to be us! We’ve got to be careful in the in-port Race. I think we have to be conservative. Getting the boat on the start line on Sunday is the highest priority. We will be using the pro-am Race to check a few final things off. To be honest our intention is to take it easy on Saturday so we’re all ready for Sunday.”
Volvo Ocean Race Reveals Anti-Piracy Plans
The Volvo Ocean Race’s anti-piracy plan will see the fleet transported by armed heavy lift ship from an undisclosed Safe Haven Port in the Indian Ocean and resume racing from a set-down point along the Sharjah coastline in the northern Emirates, within a day’s sailing of the Leg 2 finish in Abu Dhabi.
The Race announced in August that the route for Legs 2 and 3 would be re-drawn because of the increased threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean. With the fleet set to depart Cape Town for the start of Leg 2 on Sunday, Race Director Jack Lloyd has made parts of the plan public for the first time.
The six boats will leave Cape Town as scheduled on Sunday, December 11 and continue to be tracked as normal until they reach a point in the Indian Ocean. From there, details about the boats’ location will be switched off to the public as they sail on to a Safe Haven Port. At that port, the boats will be loaded on to a ship protected by armed guards and featuring other security measures and transported to the northern Emirates. The sailors will not travel on the ship.
Once unloaded, Race Management will decide where exactly to re-start the race for a short competitive sprint into Abu Dhabi, which is hosting the event from December 31 to January 14.
The scoring system has been modified, so that 80 percent of the points of Leg 2 are based on the race between Cape Town and Safe Haven 1 and 20 percent for the short sprint into Abu Dhabi. For Leg 3, the operation will be reversed, with a short sprint from Abu Dhabi at the start of the leg. The boats will go back on a ship and be transported again to a Safe Haven Port. From there, they will sail on as normal to the Leg 3 finish in Sanya, China.
Race Director Jack Lloyd said: "It is unfortunate that we have to take these measures but we have followed professional advice every step of the way. It is still very much a race around the world and we believe we have found a fair points system that will help make it an exciting sprint into Abu Dhabi.
"The teams all understand the situation and have given us their full support."
Lloyd and Knut Frostad, the CEO of the race, have worked closely with Dryad Maritime Intelligence plus government agencies including European Union Naval Force Somalia (EUNAVFOR), UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) and the Maritime Security Centre, Horn of Africa (MSCHOA) as well as the sport’s governing body, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF).
Frostad said safety had always been the highest priority in getting the teams through the areas worst affected by piracy.
“Piracy is a threat to the entire race and the measures we are taking are designed to keep the sailors, the shore crew and the boats as safe as possible, while preserving the competitive nature of the race,” Frostad said.
"This solution means we still have the exciting race finish into Abu Dhabi as always planned, while steering clear of the most dangerous waters off the Eastern African corridor."
Piracy is a well-organised and highly lucrative business and it has expanded into a vast area off the coast of Somalia. According to figures from Dryad Maritime Intelligence,1,181 seafarers were kidnapped by pirates in 2010.
Dryad’s Graeme Gibbon Brooks said pirate operations in the eastern part of the Indian Ocean had been significantly restricted.
“This factor as well as very careful planning has reduced the probability of an encounter to as low as reasonably possible,” he said. “But while the probability is small, the impact of an attack when it happens is extremely high.”
Like Abu Dhabi, Sanya is hosting the race for the first time. The Chinese tourist city in Hainan Province will open its Race Village from February 4-19.
What are the measures being taken for Legs 2 and 3?
To minimise the threat of piracy, the Volvo Ocean Race has introduced strict security measures. The first is an exclusion zone that will keep the boats from sailing into dangerous waters. The second measure will see the boats sail to an undisclosed Safe Haven Port and be loaded on to a ship that will transport them to the northern Emirates, following the safest possible route. From there, the boats will sail on to Abu Dhabi in a short sprint. For Leg 3, the procedure will be reversed. The boats will sprint out from Abu Dhabi and be loaded onto a ship heading to a Safe Haven Port. From there, the boats will sail as normal to the Leg 3 finish in Sanya, China.
Will the tracker still display information about the boats?
Full information will only be made public up to a certain point. Once the boats have reached that point, the tracker will only show Distance to Leader information. That way, the public will still know the running order of the boats but not their exact locations. The procedure will be similar for Leg 3.
Why is the race going to Abu Dhabi?
The Volvo Ocean Race is a global event and that obviously includes the Middle East. There are multiple risks involved with sailing around the world and that includes piracy. In all of these risks we have done our best to minimise any unnecessary dangers and in this case we have followed the best possible professional advice from the leading experts globally in this field. Abu Dhabi is not the problem -- the piracy issue affects the other side of the Indian Ocean.
How does the scoring work?
The total number of points to be awarded is the same, but with 20 percent of the points on Leg 2 and 3 allocated to the short sprint in and out of Abu Dhabi.
Leg 2 – from Cape Town to Safe Haven 1:
1st place - 24 points; 2nd – 20; 3rd - 16; 4th - 12; 5th – 8; 6th – 4.
Leg 2 – Sprint to Abu Dhabi:
1st place - 6 points; 2nd – 5; 3rd - 4; 4th - 3; 5th – 2; 6th – 1.
Leg 3 – Sprint out from Abu Dhabi:
1st place - 6 points; 2nd – 5; 3rd - 4; 4th - 3; 5th – 2; 6th – 1.
Leg 3 – Safe Haven Port to Sanya:
1st place - 24 points; 2nd – 20; 3rd - 16; 4th - 12; 5th – 8; 6th – 4.
Can we be certain the ship transporting the boats is safe?
We are taking advice at every step to ensure we minimise risk. The ship transporting the boats will have armed guards on board, as well as armour protection, and will receive advice and situation updates from our security advisers.
How do pirates typically act in the region where the race will pass by?
Although a well-organised and lucrative business, piracy is still a crime of ‘opportunity’, according to Dryad. Pirates typically sail from the beaches of Somalia as a Pirate Action Group in previously hijacked dhows or commercial vessels known as Mother Ships and usually with a number of skiffs which are used to make the final approach carrying teams of pirates and their weapons at speed towards the target vessel. Naval forces have been able to patrol the waters of the Gulf of Aden with some success, but due to the vast nature of the Indian Ocean it is very difficult to patrol effectively particularly as pirates have extended their reach and now have the ability to operate up to 700nm from the Somalia Coast in areas such as the Indian Coast and Arabian Sea.
What do the pirates typically do then?
Once they have attacked a vessel the pirates will usually board the vessel, hijack the crew and take the vessel back to the Somali anchorages while they await responses to their requests for ransom. Ransoms have been increasing and they are known to have reached in excess of $10 million (US). The most recent released vessels endured hijackings lasting an average of 213 days.