Saturday 17 January 2009

Shosholoza Prepare for Louis Vuitton Pacific Series by Training in Valencia

Team Shosholoza. Image copyright Sally Collison.

Europe's icy cold spell doesn't stop first sail for yacht Shosholoza RSA in 2009

by Di Meek

South Africa’s Team Shosholoza plan to start 2009 on a high “down under” in New Zealand when they come up against nine crack international teams from eight countries competing in the first ever Louis Vuitton Pacific Match Racing Series starting on 30 January in Auckland.

The new series has attracted the cream of the America’s Cup including 2007 winners the Swiss Team Alinghi, runners up Emirates Team New Zealand, Italy's Luna Rossa and the USA's BMW Oracle Racing. Britain's Team Origin, France's K-Challenge, China Team, the new Damiani Italia and a recently formed Greek Challenge make up the rest of the contesting fleet.

The teams will take turns in racing one-on-one on Team New Zealand's yachts NZL 92 and NZL 84 and BMW Oracle Racing's yachts USA 87 and USA 98. There will be six races each day in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour and a daily draw to decide which yacht competing teams will sail that day.

Meanwhile despite the icy cold spell in Europe, the Shosholoza team selected for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series has arrived at the South African base in Valencia, Spain,where they are holding an intensive 10 day sail training session aboard yacht Shosholoza RSA 83 before heading south to New Zealand.

"Our first day back on Shosholoza was a little tough because the sea was bouncy and choppy and very very cold! We left the dock in miserable seven degree gloom and rain but the guys were eager to get going and the weather has improved daily since then," said Shosholoza skipper and helmsman Paolo Cian.

The training session in Valencia will also include practice races against Damiani Italia, Luna Rossa and Team Alinghi who are also in Valencia for sail training. There will be a further week's practice racing for all the teams from 24 - 29th January in New Zealand.

Shosholoza is at the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series after making her debut at the 2007 America's Cup. The team was the first ever challenger from the African continent in the 156 year history of sailing's most prestigious contest. Celebrated for their gutsy, "can do" attitude the team, comprising mainly amateur club sailors with no previous America's Cup experience, felt victorious as first timers to bow out of the 2007 Louis Vuitton Cup in 7th place ahead of the French, Italy's +39, the Germans and China.

Italy's Paolo Cian and Tommaso Chieffi were among those who brought America’s Cup expertise and international professional experience to the fledgling South African team in Valencia and they will be on board again in Aucklandas skipper and tactician respectively. Shosholoza's make-up in New Zealand is hence more international with South African and Italian sailors making up the rest of the team.

Cian and his crack match racing team who ensured a high profile presence for Team Shosholoza on the 2008 World Match Racing Tour form the core of the Shosholoza crew in Auckland. Cian is No 4 in the Open Ranking of the ISAF world match racing rankings after holding the no 3 spot throughout 2008 - only slipping to 4th with the final rankings release on 17th December. He is currently 7th on the 2008 World Championship Leaderboard of the World Match Racing Tour.

Shosholoza sailors from the 2007 America’s Cup on board for the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series include Charles Nankin (mast man), David Rae (main trimmer), Solomon Dipeere (pitman) and grinders Reinhardt Rauscher, Camron Wills and Moctar Fall. Jo Lees will manage the shore activities. New to the team is Zimbabwean born Vernon Neville, a top athlete who grew up in South Africa and later became a professional sailor. Neville was a grinder with Italian Louis Vuitton Cup finalists Luna Rossa in the 2007 America's Cup and previously with the America's Cup challenger, Team Prada.

Shosholoza founding managing director Captain Salvatore Sarnosaid Shosholoza had a tremendous 2008 even though continued court action between Alinghi and BMW Oracle keeps the America's Cup on hold.

“We should have already been well into preliminary regattas for the 33rd America’s Cup. But new and unexpected opportunities such as the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series have come our way. They have allowed us to bring some members of the 2007 America’s Cup team together again and still generate excellent exposure for our sponsors MSC Crociere and Breil Milano.

"We are deeply grateful to them for remaining loyal to their investment in us and we are confident 2009 will bring more great opportunities for Team Shosholoza.,” said Captain Sarno.

Team Shosholoza raced as a VIP guest entry in the Naples Velalonga in Southern Italy in June 2008 and at the Trieste Barcolana in Northern Italy in October last year. Both events brought extensive headline coverage around the world for the South African team and were important in terms of exposure for the team's sponsors both of which have their headquarters in Italy.

Team Shosholoza crew list for Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

1 Pietro Mantovani: Bowman
2 Giuseppe Leonardi: Mid-Bow
3 Charles Nankin: Mast Man
4 Antar Vigna: Pit Man
5 Solomon Dipeere: Pit Ass.
6 Giuseppe Brizzi: Pit asist
7 Massimo Gherarducci: Back Up Pit Area
8 Massimo Paradiso: Starboard Grinder
9 Reinhardt Rauscher: Port Grinder
10 Salvatore Pavoni: Up-wind Trimmer
11 Pierluigi De Felice: Down-wind Trimmer
12 Camron Wills: Mid Grinder
13 Pierluigi Fornelli: Traveller
14 David Rae: Main Trimmer
15 Paolo Cian: Helmsman/Skipper
16 Tommaso Chieffi: Tactician
17 Cameron Appleton: Strategist
18 Francesco Mongelli: Navigator
19 Andrea Pavan: Aft Grinder
20 Moctar Fall: Back up Grinder
21 Vernon Neville: Back up grinder

22 Salvatore Sarno: Team Principal
23 Jo Lees: Shore Team Manager

Team Shosholoza

Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

TEAMORIGIN to Compete in Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

Triple Olympic Gold Medallist Ben Ainslie to lead the British charge

by Leslie Ryan

TEAMORIGIN, the British Challenger for the 33rd America’s Cup, is one of 10 teams preparing to compete in the new ‘Louis Vuitton Pacific Series’ event taking place in Auckland, New Zealand, between 30th January and 14th February 2009. This will be the team’s second regatta in version 5 America’s Cup racing boats, having already competed in the CNEV regatta in Valencia, Spain in November 2008.

This new event has been introduced by Louis Vuitton in partnership with Emirates Team New Zealand. Louis Vuitton is a long time sponsor and supporter of the Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup event. The initial aim was to gather six teams for the inaugural event, but the organizers have had interest from an impressive 24 teams. The final entry list for the regatta comprises 10 teams representing nine countries.

Crews will take turns match racing one-on-one in four boats – two from Emirates Team New Zealand (current holders of the Louis Vuitton Cup) and two borrowed from BMW Oracle racing. The racing will be held close to shore and event organizers aim to provide competitive, action packed racing with plenty for spectators to see, as well as an event village open to the general public.

TEAMORIGIN Skipper and Helm, Ben Ainslie, currently racing Etchells in Adelaide, Australia, commented: “Given the delays we have experienced in America’s Cup matters during 2007 and 2008, it will be very refreshing to get out on the water and race again! It’s good to see so many teams active and ready to compete, and such a great mix of existing and new teams together, which bodes well for the future of America’s Cup racing. For TEAMORIGIN, it will be a chance to get our sailors together and race against some top teams which I am very much looking forward to.”

TEAMORIGIN announced their sailing and support team for the event as follows:

Matt Cornwell (GBR) - Bowman
Julian Cressant (FRA) - Mid Bow
George Skuodas (GBR) - Mast
Barry McKay (NZL) - Pit
Craig Monk (NZL) - Grind 1
Pawel Bielecki (POL) - Grind 2
Chris Brittle (GBR) - Mid Grind
Robbie Naismith (NZL) - Trim up
Christian Kamp (AUT) - Trim down
Chris Salthouse (NZL) - Main
Chris Draper (GBR) - Traveller
Ben Ainslie (GBR) - Helm & Skipper
Iain Percy (GBR) - Tactician
Peter Isler (USA) - Navigator
Andrew Simpson (GBR) - Strategist
Mike Sanderson (NZL) - Runner & Team Director
Anthony Nossiter (AUS) - Runner/pit assist
Mike Mottl (AUS) - Back-up trimmer
David Carr (GBR) - Back-up grinder
Stevie Erickson (USA) - Sailing Team Manager
Kelvin Harrap (NZL) - Afterguard Coach

David Duff - Shore Operations Director
Alistair McRae - Tender driver

Shore support
Charlotte Kootstra - PA to Team Director / Shore support
Leslie Ryan - Marketing & Events Director
Sir Keith Mills - Team Principal

Teams entered for the event
Alinghi, Switzerland
BMW Oracle Racing, USA
China Team, China
Damiana Team, Italy
Emirates Team New Zealand, New Zealand
Greek Challenge, Greece
K Challenge, France
Luna Rossa, Italy
TEAMORIGIN, Great Britain
Team Shosholoza, South Africa


Louis Vuitton Pacific Series

VOR: Leg 4 - Cold and Dangerous Waters Ahead

The fleet of Volvo Open 70s battle around the short course for the Singapore In-Port Races. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Volvo Ocean Race media

Leg four of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Singapore to Qingdao (2,500 nm), promises to be among the hardest sections of this edition of the race. Before the finish in China, the crews are expected to encounter difficult upwind conditions, freezing temperatures, and boat-breaking sea states caused by strong winds battling fierce currents.

On Friday, the pre-start press conference with the seven skippers in Singapore featured the unusual sight of these highly competitive sailors speaking not of winning the leg, but of how it might be necessary to ease off, to preserve their crew and equipment to ensure safe arrival in Qingdao, China.

“We want to come first like everyone else, but we want to get there more than we want to get there first,” said Torben Grael, skipper of the race leading Ericsson 4.
The others on the stage agreed: “Fast or slow, we need to get there in one piece. We have to look out for each other," added Ken Read, skipper of PUMA. "We could get into situations where others need our help so it is a challenge for everyone, not just individually but as a fleet. We've got to get there. We just have to get there.”

“You need to be fast and smart but most important, you need to get there in one piece,” said Ian Walker, who will be sailing the Green Dragon into its home waters as the boat was built in China.

Leg four is nominally a 2500 nautical mile battle; one of the medium length legs in the race. But, in reality, the teams are expected to sail much further, as the prevailing conditions would typically make much of the leg an upwind beat.

After spending the better part of a month on Sentosa Island in Singapore, it is hard to imagine what lies ahead. The leg will start on Sunday in winds forecast to be near 15 knots and temperatures approaching 30-degrees.

The first half of this leg should be straightforward; sail the fastest up the race course, utilising the shifts to strike off the miles efficiently. Boat speed and weather analysis will be the keys to success here. Then, a tactically difficult decision comes; whether to go inside or outside Taiwan. The current and sea state will be major factors in making this call.

The final obstacle will be the winter storms that often sweep off the mainland of China at this time of year. They can bring strong winds, thick clouds and rain, or snow and will doubtless provide a very stern test.

When the teams arrive in Qingdao, they will be hosted at a first-class facility. The Race Village is in the same location as the sailing events in the 2008 Olympic Games. The first boats are due to arrive on the 30 January.

The race start in Singapore is scheduled for 1300 local time (0500 GMT). The teams will sail around a triangle-shaped course after the start before proceeding out to sea.

Crew Lists for Leg 4

1. Roberto Bérmudez de Castro/ESP – skipper
2. Frits Koek/NED - navigator
3. Sander Pluijm/NED -MCM
4. Stuart Wilson/NZL – watch captain
5. Guillermo Altadill/ESP – watch captain
6. Andre Fonseca/BRA - helmsman
7. David Pella/ESP – trimmer/pitman
8. Edwin O’Connor/IRL – trimmer
9. Martin Watts/GBR – trimmer
10. Gerd-Jan Poortman/NED – bowman
11. Morgan White/AUS - bowman
On: Frits Koek/NED – navigator
Guillermo Altadill/ESP – watch captain
Andre Fonseca/BRA – helmsman
David Pella/ESP – trimmer/pitman
Off: Matthew Gregory/USA - navigator
Ryan Houston/NZL – watch captain
Peter Van Nierkerk/ NED – helmsman
Eduard van Lierde//NED – helmsman

1. Torben Grael/BRA - skipper
2. Jules Salter/GBR - navigator
3. Guy Salter/GBR - MCM
4. Brad Jackson/NZL – watch captain
5. Stu Bannatyne/NZL – watch captain
6. Dave Endean/NZL - pitman
7. Horacio Carabelli/BRA - trimmer
8. Tony Mutter/NZL - trimmer
9. Joao Signorini/BRA - trimmer
10. Ryan Godfrey/AUS - bowman
11. Phil Jameson/NZL – bowman
No changes

1. Magnus Olsson/SWE – skipper
2. Aksel Magdahl/NOR - navigator
3. Gustav Morin/SWE MCM
4. Richard Mason/NZL - watch captain
5. Thomas Johansson/FIN - helmsman
6. Claes Nylof/SWE - helmsman
7. Martin Strömberg/SWE – trimmer
8. Jens Dolmer/DEN - pitman
9. Jann Neergaard/DEN
10. Anders Dahlsjö/SWE - mastman
11. Martin Krite/SWE - Bowman
On: Claes Nylof/SWE – helmsman
Jann Neergaard/DEN
Off: Anders Lewander/SWE
Eivind Melleby/NOR – helmsman

1. Ian Walker/GBR - skipper
2. Ian Moore/IRL – navigator
3. Guo Chuan/CHN - MCM
4. Neal McDonald/GBR – watch captain
5. Anthony Merrington/AUS – watch captain
6. Ian Budgen/GBR helmsman/trimmer
7. Phil Harmer/AUS – helmsman/trimmer
8. Tom Braidwood/AUS – pitman/trimmer
9. Andrew Mclean/NZL – pitman/trimmer
10. Freddie Shanks/GBR - bowman
11. Justin Slattery/IRL – bowman
On: Ian Moore/IRL – navigator
Tom Braidwood/AUS – pitman/trimmer
Ian Budgen/GBR helmsman/trimmer
Off: Steve Hayles/GBR – navigator
Damian Foxall/IRL – watch captain
James Carroll/IRL – pitman

1. Ken Read/USA - skipper
2. Andrew Cape/AUS - navigator
3. Rick Deppe/GBR MCM
4. Sidney Gavignet/FRA – watch captain
5. Robert Greenhalgh/GBR – watch captain
6. Rob Salthouse/NZL – helmsman/trimmer
7. Justin Ferris/NZL – helmsman/trimmer
8. Erle Williams/NZL – helmsman/trimmer
9. Shannon Falcone/ANT – trimmer/pitman
10. Casey Smith/AUS – bowman
11. Michael Müller/GER – helmsman/bowman
On: Erle Williams/NZL – helmsman/trimmer
Off: Chris Nicholson/AUS – watch captain

1. Bouwe Bekking/NED - skipper
2. Iker Martinez/ESP - co-skipper/helmsman
3. Simon Fisher/GBR- navigator
4. Gabriele Olivo/ITA - MCM
5. Jonathan Swain/RSA – watch captain
6. Tom Addis/AUS – meteo
7. Jordi Calafat ESP – helmsman
8. Xabier Fernandez/ESP - trimmer
9. Pablo Arrarte/ESP Spanish - trimmer
10. Daryl Wislang/NZL - bowman
11. Pepe Ribes/ESP - bowman
No changes

1. Fernando Echávarri/ESP- skipper
2. Roger Nilson/SWE - navigator
3. Mikel Pasabant/ESP - MCM
4. Gonzalo Araujo/ESP – watch captain
5. Jaime Arbones/ESP – watch captain
6. Francisco Rivero/ESP - bowman
7. Pablo Iglesias/ESP - helmsman
8. Javier De La Plaza/ESP - helmsman
9. David Vera/ESP - trimmer
10. Antonio Cuervas-Mons/ESP - trimmer
11. Michael Pammenter/RSA - bowman
On: Francisco Rivero/ESP - bowman
Off: Santiago Lange/ARG – watch captain

UBS Challenge for the In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race Singapore
1. Ericsson 4: (4 points)
2. PUMA: (3.5 points)
3. Telefónica Blue: (3 points)
4. Telefónica Black: (2.5 points)
5. Green Dragon: (2 points)
6. Ericsson 3: (1.5 points)
7. Delta Lloyd: (1 point)

Overall Leaderboard
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 39 points
2.Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 33.5 points
3. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 31 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 24 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 22.5 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echavarri/ESP): 22 points
7. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points
8. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 10 points

Volvo Ocean Race

Thursday 15 January 2009

Flying Fifteen Worlds 2009: Victory for the Aussies; Kiwis Fourth

FF Australian National Champions are the World Champions too. No Bull, the victors, chased by ****, who finished second overall. Image copyright Bernie Kaaks.

by David Seaman

Racing was cancelled on Day 5 due to strong winds.

Wednesday, 14th January, was a great last day for the Regatta, with two boats tied on equal points in first place, but it was Grant Alderson and Dean McAullay in 3833 who came up trumps.

After a poor start, they managed to get into fourth place to clinch the title.

They had to beat **** (Barry Parkin) to win, and they did it by one place.

This was a tremendous result for the West Australians, backing up their National Title from the previous week.

The best Kiwis were Aaron Goodmanson and Alister Rowlands in Ffortune, who finished fourth overall.

Well done to the locals, and congratulations to all who competed who made this a great event!

Flying Fifteen Worlds trophy. Image copyright S. Nowicka.

Final Overall Results (top ten):

1. 3833 No Bull Grant Alderson/Dean McAullay (AUS) 2-2-12-(12)-1-1-3 21pts
2. 3911 **** Barry Parkin/Tim Hall (GBR) (6)-1-5-3-4-5-4 22pts
3. 3821 TBA Steve Goacher/Phil Evans (GBR) 1-3-13-6-3-(16)-2 28pts
4. 3739 Ffortune Aaron Goodmanson/Alister Rowlands (NZL) 5-6-(11)-7-6-8-1 33pts
5. 3905 Secret Ingredient X David McKee/Chris Hewkin (GBR) 9-(18)-8-8-5-11-6 47pts
6. 3917 Art Gekko Mike Hart/Tichard Rigg (GBR) 3-36-(81)-1-2-2-5 49pts
7. 3781 16 David Tucker/Matt Summers (NZL) 15-5-1-5-11-(33)-13 50pts
8. 3840 Ffrenetic Murray Gilbert/Jonathan Burgen (NZL) 11-17-3-4-16-4-(18) 55pts
9. 3931 N/a Alan Bax/Bill Masterman (GBR) 8-4-(40)-2-9-23-10 56pts
10. 3923 Ff Charles Apthorp/Alan Green (GBR) 4-7-(81)-34-14-3-7 69pts

Flying Fifteen Worlds 2009

Wednesday 14 January 2009

Flying Fifteen Worlds 2009: Baking on Day Four

Aussie Champions, No Bull, lead upwind. Image copyright Bernie Kaaks.

by David Seaman

Melbourne turned on a scorcher today, 13th January, with a fiery northerly breeze. After one false start and a general recall, the fleet was extermely well behaves and got off to a clan start at the second attempt. The black flag obviously has some effect at this late stage in the Regatta.

With a course running towards Altona Beach, the fleet separated to both sides of the course. At the end of the first beat to the gate, Grant Alderson led, he was overtaken on the downwind leg by 3880, Craig Rainey. By the time they returned to the kite run the the wing mark, the order was Alderson, Parkin, Apthorp and Bax.

The wind then did a Melbourne north of Port Phillip favorite, the south of the course had a southerly cooler breeze, and the north stayed with an ioncreasing northly heat blast. At the finish (after a wide course change), it was No Bull (Grant Alderson) from Art Gekko (Mike Hart) by a short half head. Next was ff (Charles Apthorp), Ffrentic (Murray Gilbert) and *** (Barry Parkin). A great race.

It's a draw with one race to go!

Provisional results after four days (top six placings):

1= 3833 No Bull Grant Alderson (AUS) 2-2-12-(12)-1-1 18pts
1= 3911 **** Barry Parkin (GBR) 6-1-5-3-4-5 18pts
3. 3821 TBA Steve Goacher (GBR) 1-3-13-6-3-(16) 26pts
4. 3739 Ffortune Aaron Goodmanson (NZL) 5-6-(11)-7-6-8 32pts
5. 3781 16 David Tucker (NZL) 15-5-1-5-11-(33) 37pts
6. 3840 Ffrenetic Murray Gilbert (NZL) 11-(17)-3-4-16-4 38pts

Flying Fifteen Worlds 2009

Tuesday 13 January 2009

Flying Fifteen Worlds 2009: Jury Room Changes Things a bit...

Flying Fifteen stalwarts, Alan Bax and Bill Masterman in N/a are gradually rising through the fleet. Image copyright Bernie Kaaks.

by David Seaman

Jury room outcomes from the second day of racing for the Flying Fifteen Worlds off Melbourne, saw 3917 Mike Hart disqualified in race 3, and the whole Spanish team was disqualified in Race 2.

On day three, in Race 4 Art Gekko (Mike Hart) came in before N/a (Alan Bax) and **** (Barry Parkin). Race 5 changed to a local victory with No Bull (Grant Alderson) from Art Gekko and TBA (Steve Goacher).

However, Alderson has since been disqualified from race 5 due to the black flag rule, which will change the results a bit! (The results below remain provisional to date.)

Overall it is two British boats in the lead, with the best Kiwi likely to move up to third overall after Alderson's BFG takes effect on the results.

It was an interesting day to say the least, and a long day for all. Black flags were on display, and were used.

From the jury deliberations, at 10.37pm EST, we can report that:

3835 (No Bull - Grant Alderson) BFG race 5
3883 (Sucking Feagulls - Andy Goddard) DSQ race 5
3541 (Snafler - Richard Guy) DSQ race 5

Findings related to 3846 (Demon Three - Alan Carson) were held over.

The provisional results (top six placings overall) will be amended to reflect the above-mentioned protest outcomes tomorrow:

1= 3821 TBA Steve Goacher (GBR) 1-3-(13)-6-3 13pts
1= 3911 **** Barry Parkin (GBR) (6)-1-5-3-4 13pts
3. 3833 No Bull Grant Alderson (AUS) 2-2-12-(12)-1 17pts
4. 3781 16 David Tucker (NZL) (15)-5-1-5-11 22pts
5. 3931 N/a Alan Bax (GBR) 8-4-(40)-2-9 23pts
6. 3739 Ffortune Aaron Goodmanson (NZL) 5-6-(11)-7-6 24pts

Flying Fifteen Worlds 2009

Monday 12 January 2009

Vendée Globe Update

Sam Davies' Open 60, Roxy. Image copyright Jean Marie Liot/DPPI/Vendée Globe.

by Vendée Globe media and SailRaceWin

The leaders have now completed three-quarters of the course from Les Sables d'Olonne around the world and back again, singlehanded, while the tailenders are just beyond the halfway stage.

It is currently anticipated that the leader, Michel Desjoyeaux, in Foncia, will arrive back in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, in twenty days' time, during the last weekend in January.

Sam Davies rounds Cape Horn

Cambridge University engineering graduate (a background that serves well for long-distance ocean racing), Sam Davies passed Cape Horn early Sunday morning. For the first time in the race, Sam admitted to having been scared as she shut herself down below in Roxy when a 50 knot squall knocked the boat over.

Winds were generally over 40 knots, with 5 to 7 metre seas, and negotiating a passage through the islands, the last known position of VM Matériaux, and the Chilean coast to the north brought Sam's coastal navigation skills into play for the first time in weeks. She is currently lying fourth in the race.

Knock-down en route to New Zealand

Meanwhile, Jean-Pierre Dick, en route to Tauranga, New Zealand, having pulled out of the race due to rudder damage, suffered a knock-down:

"There was a bit of a scare last night at around midnight, when the boat suddenly bore away after being hit by a wave in the wrong direction. The pilot didn't cope and the boat gybed. Paprec Virbac 2 went over on her side at an angle close to 70 degrees. From the outside, it was probably quite a sight to see. I was down below and leapt out of the cockpit. This required a rapid response, which is not easy with just one rudder. I tried to bear away using the damaged rudder. Fortunately, there wasn't much sail up and I was able to steer and take care of the staysail sheets at the same time. On my third attempt Paprec-Virbac 2 responded and then I had to gybe again, hoping that the rudder wouldn't be too far out of the water. With three reefs, it just about worked. I eased off the windward runner and pulled on the helm. The boom swung around and the staysail filled with wind on the right side: a successful manoeuvre."

Three members of Jean-Pierre Dick (Paprec-Virbac 2)'s shore team have arrived in New Zealand to welcome their skipper. He is expected to arrive on Tuesday morning (local time) or Monday evening (GMT).

Mainsail delamination for Dee Caffari

"I went on deck to take a look around. The dawn was just breaking so it was light enough to see everything. I was looking at my mainsail, which has been a concern for the whole of the Southern Ocean, and I noticed some more sail flapping in the breeze. My shoulders slumped and as I continued to look I realised with horror that it wasn't the layer that is blowing away daily but the layer on the good side of the mainsail. In fact the only layer of mainsail left! I cursed, gybed quickly and dropped the mainsail to the third reef. I grabbed my sail repair kit, which is now running extremely low, and spent an hour patching the tear in the cloth. With the forecast set for the winds to increase and knowing that moving the sail up and down cannot be good for the cloth I have elected to remain at three reefs and keep my fingers crossed. If it can just get me to the Atlantic then I can choose a route with no scary wind and nurse my sail home. My biggest fear now is will the sail last the final big blow from the Southern Ocean depression before I turn left? So miles won and miles lost, the important thing for me is to stay in the race."

Dee Caffari and Aviva are in eighth position at present in the Vendée Globe.

Birthday for Vincent Riou in Puerto Williams

PRB in Puerto Williams. Image copyright Marine Chilienne/Vendée Globe.

Vincent Riou turned 37 on 9th January in Puerto Williams, Chile, from where he and Jean Le Cam have since departed with PRB in tow by the “VAEHARE”. The “VAEHARE” left on Saturday morning and is on her way back to Ushuaia, Argentina. Anne Le Cam and Michel Olivier are aboard the tug.

Vendée Globe

Flying Fifteen Worlds 2009: Light Winds on Day Two

Flying Fifteen Worlds Day Two: the fleet with New Zealand's Ffrenetic (Murray Gilbert) to the fore. Image copyright Terri Dodds.

by David Seaman

Melbourne threatened a windless day Sunday morning with a dull overcast sky that postponed the first race. But all was not lost: the breeze gently arrived and the day turned into a beauty with a light but steady southerly breeze that built slightly to an afternoon peak of 10 knots.

There was further delay with a general recall halting the first start followed by another postponement to realign the left-hand bias. The eventual start was a beauty: a perfectly balanced line with top boats splitting between the boat and pin ends. Of the leading Aussie boats, Grant Alderson in No Bull chose the left, with Steve Goacher in TBA preferring the right, both getting off to good clean starts.

Current series leaders, Barry Parkin and Tim Hall in ****. Image copyright Terri Dodds.

Both were beaten to the top mark by Barry Parkin in ****, however, who led the way down the next run while the Aussies in No Bull and TBA match-raced for position behind him. By the next rounding, **** had been overtaken, but regained the lead to eventually win the morning's race - and take first place for the series so far.

Australia's No Bull (Grant Alderson) briefly in the lead of race two at the bottom mark. Image copyright Terri Dodds.

The second race of the day saw a very different outcome. Art Gekko's (Mike Hart) 36th place of the morning turned into a first in the afternoon's race (subject to protest). New Zealand's David Tucker in 16 was on a roll, coming in second to cement his fifth place from the morning. Britain's Veronica Falat in One Under got a few over, with a third, followed by two more Kiwis, Ffrenetic (Murray Gilbert) and Blowffish (Craig Coulan), in fourth and fifth respectively.

Results (current top six placings overall):

1. 3911 **** Barry Parkin (GBR) 6-1-6 13pts
2. 3833 No Bull Grant Alderson (AUS) 2-2-13 17pts
3. 3821 TBA Steve Goacher 1-3-14 (GBR) 18pts
4. 3781 16 David Tucker (NZL) 15-5-2 22pts
5. 3739 Ffortune Aaron Goodmanson (NZL) 5-6-12 23pts
6. 3840 Ffrenetic Murray Gilbert (NZL) 11-17-4 32pts

Flying Fifteen Worlds 2009

Sunday 11 January 2009

VOR: Singapore In-port Race Images from Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Practice race for the Singapore In-port race. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

9th January practice race off Singapore. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Ericsson 3 in the Singapore in-port practice race. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Ericsson 4 in the Straits of Malacca for the Singapore in-port practice race. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Preparation for racing on board Ericsson 4 in the Race Village in Singapore. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Close racing in the Straits of Malacca. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Ericsson Racing Team charging along in the in-port race off Singapore. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

The Volvo Open 70s pass a Chinese junk during the in-port race off Singapore. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Bow action with Ericsson Racing Team. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Ericsson Racing Team mark rounding. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

The two Ericsson and two Telefonica boats plus Green Dragon in the Singapore in-port race. Image copyright Juerg Kaufmann/Go4Image

Volvo Ocean Race

VOR: Ericsson Racing Team on their Win in Singapore

Ericsson 4 in the in-port race in Singapore. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Ericsson Racing Team.

by Victoria Low

On a day that demanded flexibility and quick reflexes, Ericsson Racing Team's Ericsson 4 won the Singapore In-Port Race of the Volvo Ocean Race with finishes of 2-1.

Skippered by Brazil's Torben Grael, Ericsson 4 held second all the way around the track in the first race and then posted a come-from-behind win in the second to secure the day's victory. The overall race leader increased its total to 39 points and now leads second place by 5.5 points.

"I couldn't be more pleased, it was a hard week for us," said Grael, the winner of five Olympic medals. "We haven't practiced in-port racing all that much, not since the first one in Spain. The way the wind was shifting, positions were never secure. It was very demanding on the crew."

Ericsson 4 skipper, Torben Grael, waves to fans. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Ericsson Racing Team.

Ericsson 4's teammates aboard Ericsson 3 experienced a rougher outing. Ericsson 3, led by temporary skipper Magnus Olsson, nailed the start at the pin end in the first race, but that was the highlight of their day.

Ericsson 3 wound up finishing 5-6 and placed sixth for the day, but remains in fourth place overall with 24 points.

"It was a little bit of late tactical calls that didn't work as hoped," said Olsson, who took today's result with humility. "It's a very fine line. The margin to sail clean is very small."

The wind today was blowing mostly from the north and averaged around 15 knots. Between the lulls and puffs there were shifts of up to 45 degrees that kept the crews busy.

Ericsson 4's win in the second race was thrilling by all accounts. It featured a lead change on the first downwind leg and concluded with four boats in a mad dash to the finish, propelled by a 20-knot puff.

"It was tense onboard all day long," said Ericsson 4 tactician Stu Bannatyne. "It felt like we were always in maneuvers. We were calling it freestyle racing, you couldn't plan ahead."

Ericsson 4 trailed Telefónica Blue around the first mark in the deciding second race, but grabbed the lead at the leeward mark by working the right side of the first run (looking downwind). Ericsson 4 maintained its lead up the second beat using covering tactics, and led Telefónica Blue by about three boatlengths at the second windward mark.

Ericsson 4 bowmen Phil Jameson and Ryan Godfrey. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Ericsson Racing Team.

Ericsson 4's position became tenuous when the spinnaker sheet got under the bow of the boat as the crew was about to gybe. That allowed Telefónica Blue to gain a slight advantage.

Tactician Bannatyne, however, saw a new line of breeze coming in from behind and called for a jibe back to starboard. With the puff nearing 20 knots, the bows were lifting out of the water and spray was flying as the powerful VO70s screamed towards the finish. Ericsson 4 held out for a close finish over the two Telefónica boats.

Ericsson 4 charging towards the finishing line. Image copyright Oskar Kihlborg/Ericsson Racing Team.

"There were nice lines of pressure coming down from the shore side of the course," Bannatyne said. "We managed to stay in it long enough to lead to the finish. The racing was frantic. Our heads were down all day long doing maneuvers. We rarely looked outside the boat."

Ericsson Racing Team

Volvo Ocean Race

VOR 2008-9: Ericsson 4 Wins Singapore In-port Race

Ericsson 4: winner of the Singapore In-port Race. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

The Volvo Open 70s racing on the Straits of Malacca. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

by Sophie Luther

Ericsson 4 won the UBS Challenge for the In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race in Singapore, 10th January, after finishing second in race one and winning race two. The result earned the team the four maximum points on offer which extends their total to 39 points.

The second in the series of seven in-port races, the results of which count towards the overall result of the Volvo Ocean Race 2008-09 started at 0525 GMT, 1325 local time in a gusty 10 – 15 knot breeze. Both sides of the race course were lined with spectator boats for the first ever southeast Asia in-port race.

Race start off Singapore. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Green Dragon racing off Singapore. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Close racing in the Volvo Open 70 fleet off Singapore. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Delta Lloyd off Singapore. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Telefónica Black racing in the Straits of Malacca. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

The fleet downwind in Singapore. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Winners Ericsson 4, skippered by Torben Grael (BRA). Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Above and below: The fleet of Volvo Open 70s battles around the short course during the Singapore In-Port Racing. Images copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Overall Singapore In-port Race winners Ericsson 4, skippered by Torben Grael (BRA). Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

The Volvo Open 70s downwind in the second In-port Race in Singapore. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

The Volvo Open 70s in the second of the In-port Races in Singapore. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

The fleet of Volvo Open 70s battle around the short course for the second of two Singapore In-Port Races. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

PUMA Ocean Racing catching up upwind. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Six of the seven Volvo Open 70s racing in the Straits of Malacca, with PUMA Ocean Racing to the fore. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

The fleet of Volvo Open 70s battle around the short and challenging course for the Singapore In-Port Race. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Two races were held and the results are combined to give an overall winner for the day. PUMA (Ken Read/USA) dominated the first race in an impressive display of solid sailing and race tactics, leading the fleet from start to finish and holding Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA) at bay. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) and Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) showed good form and fought throughout the short windward/leeward course for third place, the finishing order only being decided on the final run when Telefónica Blue edged ahead.

Ericsson 3, skippered by Magnus Olsson/SWE, who has stepped up to take charge of the boat while regular skipper Anders Lewander/SWE recovers from knee surgery, finished fifth.

Telefónica Black (Fernando Echávarri/ESP) was OCS (on course side) at the start gun and had to return to start properly, but made a good recovery to finish in sixth place.

Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP) with new navigator, Guillermo Altadill/ESP replacing Matt Gregory/USA, finished in seventh after a promising start, but sail-handling difficulties meant they were never really in contention.

In race two, the first four finishers in the first race opted for the right hand side of the course, while the bottom three headed for the shore immediately after the start. The offshore side of the track clearly had more pressure as Ericsson 4 and Telefónica Blue led the fleet to the windward mark. Green Dragon came in to the mark on port and tacked just inside PUMA to round fourth, with Telefónica Black approaching quickly from the left hand side of the course.

As the fleet split again, PUMA opted for the right hand side with good pressure, while Ericsson 4 and Green Dragon went left. The last run was anything but a procession.

PUMA came smoking through the fleet, to rejoin the top four. Telefónica Blue attacked from the right hand side of the course. But, at the conclusion, Ericsson 4 fought to hold off Telefónica Black, and finished the race in pole position. Telefónica Black was second, and third was Telefónica Blue in a photo finish. PUMA finished ahead of Green Dragon in fourth, Ericsson 3 was sixth, and Delta Lloyd, still struggling due to lack of practice on the water due to work being carried out on her keel, was seventh.

Overall, the day belonged to Ericsson 4 who won the UBS Challenge for the In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race in Singapore, with a second in race one and a win in race two, extending her lead overall and bringing her tally to 39 points. PUMA took 3.5 points for a win in race one and a fourth place in race two, for a total of 31 points. Third was Telefónica Blue, who scored three points for two third places (33.5 total).

Telefónica Black was fourth and earned 2.5 points for a sixth and a second (22 points total). Green Dragon was fifth and added two points for a fourth and a fifth (22.5 points total). Ericsson 3 claimed 1.5 points for a fifth and a sixth (24 points total), and, finally, Delta Lloyd scored one point for two seventh places (10 points total).

The next race in the in-port series will be held in Qingdao, China on 7 February after the finish of leg four (2,500 nautical miles), which starts next Sunday, 18 January.

Marina, race village and port in Singapore. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Volvo Ocean Race Village in Singapore. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Children playing the pool - part of the Volvo Ocean Race experience in Singapore. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

Volvo Ocean Race fleet in Singapore by night. Image copyright Rick Tomlinson/Volvo Ocean Race.

UBS Challenge for the In-Port Race in the Volvo Ocean Race Singapore:
1. Ericsson 4: (4 points)
2. PUMA: (3.5 points)
3. Telefónica Blue: (3 points)
4. Telefónica Black: (2.5 points)
5. Green Dragon: (2 points)
6. Ericsson 3: (1.5 points)
7. Delta Lloyd: (1 point)

Prizegiving Images:

Ericsson 4, with skipper Torben Grael and navigator Jules Salter, celebrate winning the Singapore In-port Race. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

PUMA Ocean Racing, skippered by Ken Read (USA) celebrate coming second in the Singapore In-port Race. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Bouwe Bekking and the crew of Telefónica Blue finished third in the Singapore In-port Race. Image copyright David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race.

Overall Leaderboard:
1. Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA): 39 points
2. Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED): 33.5 points
3. PUMA (Ken Read/USA): 31 points
4. Ericsson 3 (Magnus Olsson/SWE): 24 points
5. Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR): 22.5 points
6. Telefónica Black (Fernando Echavarri/ESP): 22 points
7. Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT): 10.5 points
8. Delta Lloyd (Roberto Bermudez/ESP): 10 points

Volvo Ocean Race 2008-9