PUMA Arrival Brings Fleet Back Up To Full Strength
The full Volvo Ocean Race fleet is back together for the first time in over a month, after PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG limped into Cape Town with just days to spare before racing resumes in conditions that will once again test the teams to the limit.
The six boats in the 2011-12 edition are preparing to rejoin battle over the weekend with the second of 10 in-port races on Saturday (1300 UTC) and the start of Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi on Sunday at the same time.
Weather forecasts suggest the teams will be heading straight back into possible boat-breaking conditions in Leg 2, with the teams facing the prospect of beating upwind in up to 30-35 knots for the first 24 hours. That will raise uncomfortable memories for at least some of the fleet after the havoc wreaked on the way out from Alicante.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Sanya were forced out of the leg due to damage caused in a brutal first 24 hours. PUMA’s Mar Mostro, skippered by the American Ken Read, was the third boat forced to retire later in the race after breaking her mast.
“I do feel of sense of nervousness before the leg start,” said Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson, who led ABN AMRO ONE to victory in 2005-06. “Given a forecast of 35 knots on the nose at the start there’s not too much of a settling in period!”
The three teams that actually finished Leg 1 – winners Team Telefónica, second-placed CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand and Groupama sailing team in third – have had more time to prepare their boats but are still working against the clock to get back in peak condition after three weeks at sea. The first targets are the non-scoring practice race on Thursday and the pro-am on Friday and it is still not clear how many will be ready in time.
Abu Dhabi were the first team to suffer from the heinous conditions in the Mediterranean on the first night, as they came off a huge wave and broke their mast. A few hours later, Sanya’s second generation Volvo Open 70 racing yacht suffered massive damage to her hull.
Both teams ended up shipping their boats to Cape Town but their adventures were nothing compared to the odyssey endured by PUMA, whose dismasting in the southern Atlantic left them in real trouble.
Their only option was to crawl to the world’s most remote human settlement at Tristan da Cunha and they only made it that far thanks to a Greek freighter that diverted to pass them over some diesel.
After regaining their strength with beer and lobsters on Tristan, they were eventually picked up by the container ship TEAM BREMEN, dispatched from South Africa to help them, and after arriving back on Tuesday night they were hauled back into the water and motored round to the team’s shore base in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
Their target is to get the replacement mast fitted and be back sailing as early as Wednesday evening.
“Our ability to get back competing in this race will depend on what we do over the next couple of days,” Read said after stepping off the boat to a heartfelt welcome from wife Kathy, 31 days after leaving Alicante.
“Our shore crew have been itching to get the boat and now we’ll get to see what they're made of. My hunch is that they’re made of some pretty good stuff.”
Abu Dhabi have fitted a new set of rigging and are back in the water, while Sanya expect to be sailing again by Wednesday night.
On Thursday, the teams are due to take part in the non-scoring practice race, though it is unclear whether the three damaged boats will be ready in time.
The same goes for Friday’s pro-am, though at the moment all six boats are on track to take the line in the V&A Waterfront In-Port Race and the start of Leg 2 to Abu Dhabi. The route for the that leg has been substantially redrawn because of the threat of piracy, with the teams now set to be transported by ship between two Safe Haven Ports, to take them through the worst affected area.
Abu Dhabi won the first of the 10 in-port races in this edition in Alicante, briefly taking first place on the leaderboard. The current situation is:
1. Team Telefónica - 31 points
2. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand - 29 points
3. Groupama sailing team - 22 points
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - 6 points
5. PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG - 5 points
6. Team Sanya - 3 points
Team Telefónica: The first boat to finish came in with the boat in immaculate condition, according to team technical chief Horacio Carabelli. Theirs has been a problem-free stopover, with the boat going back in the water on Monday and the team having the luxury of giving the rigging a careful check.
“Even though we knew the mast is fine we took it apart,” said Fernando Sales, who is responsible for the mast. “We had time and what we decided to do was to take the entire thing apart. That means we took out everything that might be unscrewed, loosened or moved along the way: all of the spreaders came out and the fixings which fix them to the mast itself, as well as the shrouds, and all of this had to be put back together. We took everything that forms part of the mast apart to give it a good clean and to put it through ultrasound testing”.
CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand: CAMPER have also had plenty of time to work on their boat, with skipper Chris Nicholson satisfied that the problem they had with the rigging on the way into Cape Town was purely down to human error rather than any technical fault. “There was no rigging failure and we didn’t almost drop the rig,” Nicholson said. “What happened was down to a handling error on our behalf. Was I happy with that? No and I made that very clear to the guys and it won’t happen again."
Groupama sailing team: After coming in third, three days behind the winners, Groupama have been checking everything meticulously. Their boat is in the water again and no major problems have been detected. “These past six days have seen us checking the carbon and mechanical structures and we also unstepped the boat's mast, daggerboards and rudders,” said head of boat construction Pierre Tissier. “We also cleaned the hull beneath the waterline and checked over the whole structure. Some slight repairs and modifications have been required to improve life for the sailors on board. We haven't encountered any problems and Groupama 4 is in tip-top condition."
PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG: The team arrived at the shore base around 0100 on Wednesday and skipper Ken Read told reporters the crew would be pulling an all-nighter, with a view to getting her back in the water with the replacement mast stepped and even sailing again the same day.
“Our ability to get back competing in the race depends on what we do over the next couple of days,” said Read. “The other teams will get faster on every leg but can we get faster too? Will we get left behind? We’ll have a good idea early in Leg 2.”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing: Everything has gone to schedule for Ian Walker’s team since the boat came in on a container ship. The rig has been installed and tuned and the team were able to go out sailing on Wednesday. “Azzam is back in the water and looking good for contention come the race restart,” said Walker. “There is still more work to be done on refining the mast and rigging but we are committed to living up to Azzam’s determination moniker and be fighting fit for our home leg to Abu Dhabi.”
Team Sanya: The enormous hole in the hull has been repaired thanks to round-the-clock work from a team of boat-builders brought in from New Zealand. The boat will be launched on Wednesday afternoon and the team should be back sailing by Thursday.
"Today is a day of split feelings really,” said skipper Mike Sanderson. “On the one hand I cannot praise enough everyone that has been involved in the process of getting our boat back into race mode again. On the other hand, I do feel of sense of nervousness before the leg start. There are four boats out training and here we are this morning going on our keel and going into the water only tonight. That should not detract in any way from the great work done, but for sure my apprehension has gone up probably. Also given a forecast of 35 knots on the nose at the start there is not too much of a settling in period! The most important thing right now is to get out sailing tomorrow and for sure a lot of those nervous feelings will go once we are sailing again."
Cape Town Stopover race schedule:
Friday December 9 - Pro-Am Race 1300 local (1100 UTC)
Saturday December 10 - V&A Waterfront In-Port Race 1500 local (1300 UTC)
Sunday December 11 - Leg 2 start to Abu Dhabi 1500 local (1300 UTC)
Volvo Announces November Sales
ROCKLEIGH, N.J. (Dec. 1, 2011) - Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (VCNA) reported U.S. sales of 4,844 units, an 18.8 percent increase from November 2010. Year-to-date sales are up 25.8 percent over the first eleven months of 2010.
In Canada, Volvo sales are down 14.7 percent in November with a total of 424 vehicles sold. Year-to-date sales are up 3.3 percent in Canada.
In the U.S., the award-winning S60 sports sedan was the top seller in November with 1,786 units sold. In Canada, the XC60 claimed the top spot, with 127 units sold.
New Volvo buyers benefit from Volvo's Safe + Secure Coverage Plan. A complimentary program, Safe + Secure wraps a comprehensive list of benefits into one package. Specifically, it provides:
- 5 years/50,000 miles of New Car Warranty
- 5 years/50,000 miles of Complimentary Factory Scheduled Maintenance
- 5 years/50,000 miles of Wear and Tear Coverage
- 5 years/Unlimited miles of Volvo On Call Roadside Assistance.
Volvo Cars of North America, LLC, (www.volvocars.com/us) is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Corporation of Gothenburg, Sweden. VCNA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States, and oversees Volvo operations in Canada.
Volvo Car Corporation launches automatic DRIVe diesels with the same fuel consumption as manual versions
Volvo Car Corporation is already in the lead among European carmakers when it comes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions - and the journey continues with two new CO2 cutting initiatives:
- The 1.6-litre diesel combined with automatic Powershift gearbox now comes with the same low fuel consumption and CO2 levels as the manual DRIVe versions.
- At the same time, CO2 emissions from the turbocharged, 1.6-litre T3 petrol engine with manual gearbox are down to 139 g/km.
The new possibility to combine the four-cylinder, 1.6-litre diesel engine (115 hp) with the six-speed Powershift gearbox is available in four models: Volvo S60, V60, V70 and S80.
"For the first time ever, we have managed to bring the fuel consumption in variants with automatic gearbox down to the same level as in the manual versions. An impressive achievement by our powertrain experts," says Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research and Development at the Volvo Car Corporation.
Fuel consumption in the Volvo S60 with the 1.6D engine and Powershift is 4.3 l/100km. This translates into CO2 emissions at 114 g/km. The corresponding figures for the Volvo V60, V70 and S80 with the same engine and gearbox are 4.5 l/100 km and 119 g/km.
The low consumption and emission levels are the result of a number of technological improvements:
- Friction between gearbox components has been reduced.
- The engine and gearbox software have been modified.
- The start/stop system cuts off the diesel engine when the car is still rolling (below 5 km/h).
- All electrical systems have been optimised to create lower energy consumption.
Petrol powered T3 under 140 g/km
Volvo Car Corporation's DRIVe Towards Zero also includes improvements of the petrol engines.
By optimising the four-cylinder, 1.6-litre T3 engine (150 hp), which is available in the Volvo S60 and V60, the engine experts have managed to bring fuel consumption down do 5.8 l/100 km in the S60. This corresponds to CO2 emissions at 135 g/km.
The figures for the direct-injected T3 engine combined with automatic Powershift in a Volvo S60 are 7.1 l/100 km and 164 g/km.
"Keeping the CO2 emissions below 140 grams is essential since this is a level used by many fleet customers. We have managed to do this in the T3 version through a number of small, significant improvements. We have also optimised the gearbox gearing for maximum fuel efficiency without loosing the engine characteristics," says Peter Mertens.
European leader in CO2 reduction
Volvo Car Corporation leading position among European carmakers when it comes to reducing carbon dioxide emissions is shown in the annual analysis presented by the European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E).
Volvo Car Corporation outperformed Europe's eight largest car manufacturers in 2010 by cutting overall CO2 emissions with no less than 9 percent.
"This excellent result is the outcome of a dedicated environmental focus under our "DRIVe Towards Zero" banner. One third of our research budget is earmarked for reducing CO2 emissions. Our new, upcoming Volvo Environmental Architecture engine range, which consists solely of four-cylinder engines, will ensure that we continue to beat our toughest competitors when it comes to fuel economy," says Peter Mertens.