Thursday, 5 April 2012

Two boats in fight to finish

Volvo Ocean Race chief executive Knut Frostad often says in his speeches:  “To finish first you must first finish.”
Keeping track of the fleet
Photo: Volvo Ocean Race website image

The quote was first made by the American three-times winner of the Indianapolis 500, racing car driver, Rick Mears.

This quote has never been more appropriate, because as I type this blog there are only two out of the six boats in the fleet remaining.

Fleet damaged
TEAM SANYA pulled the pin first with hull delamination and returned to Auckland to be shipped to Savannah,  Georgia, for repairs and then will be sailed on to Miami, where they will re-join the race.

CAMPER (with Emirates Team NZ) suspended racing at 01:30 UTC on 3 April and has arrived in Puerto Montt on the west coast of Chile to repair its bow. The team intends to finish the leg in Itajaí.

TEAM TELEFÓNICA resumed racing at 21:33 UTC on 31 March  after completing repairs and is hot on the heels of PUMA OCEAN RACING.

Broken mast
ABU DHABI OCEAN RACING retired from Leg 5 at 10:00 UTC on 4 April and the boat  will be loaded onto a ship at Puerto Montt to begin a nine-day journey to Itajaí, with a likely departure date of Saturday 7 April 2012. 

GROUPAMA SAILING TEAM suspended racing from leg 5 on 4 April after the mast broke just above the first spreader. The crew is all safe and is 60 nautical miles south of Punte del Este, more information will be released as it becomes available.

PUMA OCEAN RACING has the only boat not to have suffered significant damage.

Knut Frostad has issued a statement expressing his concern at the continuing instances of boats suffering serious damage in the 2011-12 edition.

Extreme challenge
In my last blog, I made the point the boats and the crews need to look at how strong the yachts are built and how hard they push them in such extreme conditions.

The Volvo Ocean Race is all about the extreme challenges that the event throws up both for both man and equipment.

Certainly that is one of the reasons Inmarsat likes being involved in the race exactly because the kit is pushed to it limits in such harsh conditions.

Wrath of oceans
We may look back at this race and say that leg 5 2012 was the leg that changed the face of the Volvo?

The one thing that will never change is the force of Mother Nature.

No matter how strong we think we design our craft, Man will never, and has never, been a match for the wrath of the mighty oceans.

Knut’s quote will still be relevant:“To finish first you must first finish”.

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