Pressure From Backmarkers As Camper Finds New Breeze
Tonight, as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet pushes on through the Indian Ocean on Leg 2 from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, leg and overall leader Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) is under threat from the backmarkers.
Although the order of play remains unchanged, northerly yacht Telefónica is facing a challenge by Groupama (Franck Cammas/FRA) and CAMPER (Chris Nicholson/AUS), the two yachts furthest to the south. Both boats are averaging speeds over 18 knots and Groupama 4 has made a substantial inroad into Telefónica’s lead, taking out 30 nautical miles in the last three hours.
CAMPER is looking particularly sweet in her position furthest to the east and is now benefitting from a steadier northerly breeze. Groupama 4, just 17 nm to the south, is climbing steadily up to join her, while Sanya Lan (Mike Sanderson/NZL) is almost level pegging with Ian Walker’s Azzam further north again.
By tomorrow morning it will be clear who the winners and losers are, at least until the fleet reaches the next hurdle, the parking lot known as the Indian Ocean High. This is an area of light wind that sits beyond the low-pressure system that the fleet must swerve around before turning north in search of the trade winds and, finally, the dreaded Doldrums.
Five Volvo Models Get IIHS Top Safety Pick Award
Volvo Car Corporation's leadership in car safety is confirmed in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) 2012 Top Safety Pick award. The U.S. award recognizes vehicles that do the best job of protecting people in front, side, rollover, and rear crashes - and no less than five Volvo models - the C30, S60, S80, XC60 and XC90 - earned a Top Safety Pick. Volvo is the only European luxury brand with five awarded models in the new IIHS report.
"The risk of being involved in an accident or being injured in one of our latest car models has been reduced with more than two thirds compared with a Volvo from the 1970s. Now, we keep on moving towards our safety vision that nobody should die or suffer serious injuries in a new Volvo car by the year 2020", says Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Car Corporation.
IIHS Top Safety Pick is based on four accident scenario results*:
- Frontal crashworthiness evaluations are based on results of 40 mph (64 km/h) frontal offset crash tests.
- Side evaluations are based on performance in a crash test in which the side of a vehicle is struck by a barrier moving at 31 mph (50 km/h). The barrier represents the front end of a pickup or SUV.
- To earn a good rating for rollover protection, the car roof must withstand a force of four times the vehicle's weight before reaching five inches of crush.
- Rear crash protection is rated using a dummy that measures forces on the neck. This test simulates a collision in which a stationary vehicle is struck in the rear at 20 mph (32 km/h).
Outstanding U.S. NCAP rating
Volvo Car Corporation's dedication to car safety has been recognized in several recent studies.
The XC60 is also the only SUV crossover with an IIHS Top Safety Pick and an overall 5 star U.S. NCAP rating. In the 2010 test, the XC60 received 5 stars in all individual crash tests, including 5 stars for the driver and 5 stars for the passenger in the frontal collision as well as 5 stars in both side tests.
Auto brake results in fewer accidents
Earlier this year, the benefits of the groundbreaking City Safety technology - featuring automatic braking in low speed situations - were documented in another IIHS report stating a reduction of the collision frequency with up to 22 percent. The IIHS study of insurance claims involving a Volvo XC60 shows that City Safety reduces the costs for personal injury claims with 51 percent - while vehicle repair costs were lowered by more than 20 percent.
A similar study by the Swedish insurance company Volvia shows that Volvo cars equipped with automatic braking are involved in 22 percent fewer rear end accidents than cars without auto brake.
* Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Tired Teams Jostle At ‘Second Start Line’
Strong winds and rain squalls from an unstable trough have created a “second start line” amongst the Volvo Ocean Race fleet as the six yachts continue to shuffle positions, proving that the race to Abu Dhabi remains anyone’s to win.
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG skipper Ken Read described the conditions as some of the most frustrating and mentally exhausting of his sailing career as the fleet continue to sail at the same pace as the menacing trough.
The crews have reported the wind dropping to less than 10 knots and just minutes later gusting in excess of 25, making for countless sail changes and exhausted sailors, who are virtually falling asleep standing up.
Read said despite more than 160 nautical mile distance developing between leg leader Telefónica in the north and Groupama sailing team in the south, the unpredictable conditions meant there was very little separating the fleet.
“It is anyone’s race, more so than any race I’ve been in in my life,’’ he said. “This is crazy. It’s 100 per cent a second start line.”
“It’s been hard and very taxing mentally trying to deal with it all. Each time we sit here and talk about it we make an argument that we would rather be further north or further south.
“Just a little while about I said to Tom (Addis), ‘We were talking about gybing earlier this morning to get further north, do you remember why?’ and he said, ‘No I don’t’ remember why anymore’. So I think it’s going to be very interesting.”
Team Telefónica’s helmsman Jordi Calafat agreed, saying that the leg had only just started and there were plenty more challenges ahead as his team lead the fleet east towards the Indian Ocean high.
However, Telefónica have had their own challenges on board, including the loss of skipper Iker Martínez’s toothbrush after the Olympic gold medallist, no doubt exhausted, applied skin cream instead of toothpaste.
Media Crew Member Diego Fructuoso reported that Martínez had fortunately packed a spare – a report that goes against the long-standing sailing myth that sailors never take two, and even cut off the end of their toothbrushes to save on weight.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were trailing in second place by just under 20 nm at 1300 UTC, followed by Team Sanya, PUMA, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand and Groupama sailing team, who are trailing by 130 nm in the south.
At 0900 UTC today it appeared that Groupama were cashing in their losses when the team tacked and headed north, however just 20 nm later they tacked back to an easterly course.
Skipper Franck Cammas explained the move: “There is a possibility to cross the trough in the north tomorrow night, and we are trying to reduce the gap to cross it with the others.
"Our idea at first was to go south, we had a long term strategy there. We worked on that for the past two or three days. The other ones have been more pragmatic and stayed in the middle.
“Now, to try to cross with the other ones tomorrow night, we have decided to get closer from the fleet.
“It was a tough and unpleasant decision. But at some point you need to limit the risk and not to lock yourself in an option, which was good at first and is now not as relevant because of this opening in the north.
“We are all on a same longitude so everyone will in a funnel to cross that very small hole. It will be a new start Saturday morning.”
Volvo meteorologist Gonzalo Infante said the next 24 hours would continue to prove frustrating for the sailors. More stable winds could be expected when the trough dissipates as it meets a high-pressure system over the weekend.