8th November 2011

The VOR got off to a rocky start on Saturday. Just six hours and 85 nautical miles into the 6,500-nm leg from Alicante in Spain to Cape Town, South Africa, Ian Walker’s Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam has dismasted and has suspended racing. The crew were unhurt but the boat had to return to Alicante, where a replacement mast will be stepped.

Then on Sunday Team Sanya reported damage to their hull while sailing upwind in 35-38 knots. The boat was approximately 30nm southeast of Motril, on the coast of Spain. The wind was blowing 43 knots and the waves were around 10.5 metres, the team reported. They suspended racing and made their way to the port of Motril to assess the damage. They have now retired from Leg 1.

Offshore, the four boats still sailing on Leg 1 are competing to be the first to find the Atlantic’s absent trade winds, while back on land, it is a race against time for the two teams repairing damage to get back in the hunt for points.

Team Telefónica are leading on the 6,500 nautical mile first leg from Alicante to Cape Town, sailing a western course in the Atlantic ahead of PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, Groupama sailing team and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand.

The French team’s tactical gamble to split from the fleet and hug Africa’s coast on a southern course is costing them dearly, losing 16 miles on the leader and dropping from second to third as the rig flogs and sails flail in less than two knots of breeze.

CAMPER’s late call to go west when winds lightened overnight and boat speed dropped to one knot has also taken a toll, with the initial leg leader dropping to fourth.

Onshore, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are ahead of schedule in the race to replace the broken mast on Azzam and start the mission to catch up with the other boats. Walker said he was hopeful that his crew would mount the new mast and rig in Azzam tonight, with the team hitting the water and returning to racing tomorrow.

The two-day weather lull could boost Abu Dhabi's catch up bid as the Emirati team are expected to pick up propulsion from a low pressure system once they make it through Gibraltar Strait - - if they leave tomorrow.

Having ruled out a return to Leg 1 yesterday Mike Sanderson’s Team Sanya are now turning their sights on repairing the major structural damage to their hull in time for the Cape Town In-Port Race and the start of Leg 2.

Sanderson admitted it was a major challenge logistically to ship Sanya to Cape Town, with its earliest arrival expected to be November 28. He said it was also a practical challenge, with the team having to complete one month’s work in just one week.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 app can be downloaded free from iTunes here.

See for more information.

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3rd November 2011

On Saturday, November 5, the six boats will depart this city along the Mediterranean for the start of Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 for their 6,000-nautical mile journey to Cape Town, South Africa.

Now you can follow the fleet and live the race yourself with a free app for iOS and Android. Keep tabs on our Irish sailors, Justin Slattery on Abu Dhabi and Damien Foxhall on Groupama as they race 39,000 nautical miles around the planet via a customised race tracker, powered with the same data that comes into the state-of-the-art Race Control room in Alicante, from where the fleet is tracked 24 hours a day.

The Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 app can be downloaded free from iTunes here.

See for more information.

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29th October 2011

Ireland's very own Justin Slattery and the rest of the crew in Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing surged to a commanding victory in the Iberdrola In-Port Race in Alicante, taking maximum points from the first competitive action in the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 to gain an early advantage over their rivals.

PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG were second, ahead of CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand in third. Team Sanya edged Groupama sailing team, on which fellow Irishman Damien Foxhall is sailing, in the battle for fourth and fifth, with Team Telefónica trailing home.

The in-port race marked the start of the epic 39,000 nautical mile round the world race, tipped to be the most hotly contested edition in the event´s 38-year history. And after opening their account with a crucial win, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will go into the first offshore leg with a maximum six points and a psychological advantage.

Final results:
Position / Team / Time / Points

1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing / 53 minutes 44 seconds/ 6 points

2. Puma Ocean Racing powered by BERG/ 1:07:58 / 5

3. CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand / 1:10:11 / 4

4. Team Sanya / 1:10:43 / 3

5. Groupama sailing team / 1:11:11 / 2

6. Team Telefónica / 1:12:08 / 1

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29th October 2011

The 11th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race bursts into life tomorrow (Saturday) when, at 1200 GMT (1400 local time) the six world class professional sailing teams do battle for the first time in the Iberdrola In-Port Race in Alicante, Spain.
The six teams, who for many months have been meticulously preparing their state-of-the-art, multi-million-euro racing yachts, will line up for real in a quickfire sprint, their first chance to put points on the scoreboard in the 39,000 nautical mile race around the world.

The course for the in-port race will be set close to the Race Village and adjacent Postiguet Beach, to give crowds a grandstand view of the fast and furious action. On the eve of the Iberdrola In-Port Race it was CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand who looked sharpest overcoming a slow start to finish first in the practice race.

The first of the 10 in-port races takes place one week before the boats set off on the first of nine ocean legs, a 20-day, 6,500 nautical mile passage from Alicante to Cape Town, South Africa. From there they will visit Abu Dhabi (UAE), Sanya (China), Auckland (New Zealand), Itajaí (Brazil), Miami (USA), Lorient (France) and Lisbon (Portugal) before the finish in Galway (Ireland) in July.

The six teams taking part are Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand, Groupama sailing team, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG, Team Sanya and Team Telefónica.

The fleet is the most competitive the race has ever seen with all six teams closely matched and fully funded.
Sanya skipper Mike Sanderson is the only sailor competing this time to have previously led a team to victory in the Volvo Ocean Race (ABN AMRO ONE in 2005-06). A late entry this time, Sanderson and his team will be racing a second generation boat and while New Zealander is embracing the team's underdog position he is predicting a knife-edge contest.

"The level of the teams in this race is exceptionally high,” Sanderson said. “Never before has it been so hard to pick a favourite. We have an incredibly level playing field and it’s going to be an amazing race."

During their marathon race around the world, the 11-man crews – 10 sailors and one embedded Media Crew Member -- will have to deal with mountainous seas, extremes of temperature and hurricane force winds as well as having to negotiate some of the planet’s most hazardous commercial shipping lanes.

The escalating threat of piracy in the Indian Ocean forced the race organisers to redraw the course for the second and third legs. Now, on the way from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, the teams will race to a ‘safe haven’ port, before being transported to a re-start venue to complete the leg in a sprint to the finish in Abu Dhabi. The process will be reversed for the third leg from Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China.

The Iberdrola In-Port Race will take around an hour to complete. Racing will be streamed live at and will be accompanied by a live blog of the action.

HD live coverage for desktop browsers will also be available through the New Livestream platform, which includes video, photos, audio and text updates, at

The first offshore leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Alicante to Cape Town, starts on November 5.

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