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ID: 724 Title: Volvo Ocean Race 2014 Replis: 4 Read: 3004 Author: 1
Name: OCEAN SAILOR  Posts: 171  **  Vancouver Time: 2014-11-6_19:44:1 Quote    Reply

Volvo Ocean race with bad weather south central Atlantic ocean with global weather with the Volvo Ocean race tracker.

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Name: OCEAN SAILOR  Posts: 171  **  Vancouver Time: 2014-11-30_16:52:6 Quote    Reply

0411 UTC

Marine Disasters continue on the Volvo ocean race.

0300 UTC

Race Control has had it confirmed that the Team Vestas Wind crew has now been rescued and will stay on the Íle du Sud, where there is a house and some facilities. All the crew is safe and nobody is injured.
Team Vestas Wind is making plans with Volvo Ocean Race on how to transport the crew off the island as well as how to salvage the boat.
Team Alvimedica has now been released and will continue racing towards Abu Dhabi.a
Knut Frostad, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race, said: “I’m extremely relieved that every one of the nine crew members now are safe and that nobody is injured. That has always been our first priority since we first learned about the grounding.
“At the same time, I’m deeply saddened that this happened to Team Vestas Wind and Chris Nicholson and his team. It’s devastating for the team, for the race and for everyone involved. I really feel for Chris and the team right now and we will continue to support them all the way going forward.”

0045 UTC

Team Vestas Wind reported to Race Management that all nine crew have safely abandoned the boat. The crew awaits daylight on a dry section of the reef, where the life rafts are anchored.
At daylight, they intend to board a RIB from the local coastguard to be taken ashore on a nearby island or join Team Alvimedica. All nine are uninjured.
*An earlier statement carried an incorrect time stamp of 0845 instead of 2045 UTC. We apologise for any confusion.

2145 UTC

Team Vestas Wind reported that they had now deployed two life rafts as the stern of the boat was being beaten on rocks of the reef. The bow is pointing out to OCEAN.

The team added that they were keeping the life rafts some 15 metres from the boat, which the crew could reach if necessary by swimming.

There were no plans to do this yet but the life rafts had been deployed now as they may not be able to do so later.
The current plan remains to abandon the boat at daylight with the assistance of the coastguard at Íle du Sud as well as Team Alvimedica.

2030 UTC

Team Alvimedica has now arrived at the site, is in radio contact with Team Vestas Wind and standing by to assist Team Vestas Wind, waiting for daylight.
Race Control is in contact with Team Vestas Wind every hour. The situation is currently stable on board and the crew plans to remain on board until daylight.
There is also contact established with a coastguard station on Isle de Sud, approximately 1.5 km from the boat, which has a RIB available.
The plan is for this vessel to assist in abandoning the boat as soon as possible after daylight.
Both rudders have been reported broken by the Team Vestas Wind crew. The team has also reported water ingress in the stern compartment.
The Volvo Ocean 65 has watertight bulkheads in the bow and the stern. The remaining part of the boat is intact including the rig. We will update as soon as we have further information.


At 1510 UTC, Saturday, November 29, Team Vestas Wind informed Race Control that their boat was grounded on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. Fortunately, no one has been injured.
We are in contact with the boat to establish the extent of the damage and ensure the crew is given the support needed to enable it to deal with the situation.
The Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Reunion Island is aware of the problem.
The crew has informed us that it is currently grounded on a reef but nobody is injured. Volvo Ocean Race and Team Vestas Wind’s top priority is to make sure the crew is safe.
The crew has informed Race organisers that it now plans to abandon the boat as soon as possible after daybreak.

Team Alvimedica and two other vessels are in contact with Team Vestas Wind to assist.

Name: OCEAN SAILOR  Posts: 171  **  Vancouver Time: 2014-12-1_18:33:32 Quote    Reply

28 November 2014, 16:11 UTC


We’ve spent today battening down the hatches, making sure everything looks good." "Making sure all the winches are tight and right,” says Team Alvimedica’s Mark Towill, ticking off a mental checklist. “It’s all about seamanship and taking care of the gear.” Behind him, the slide-rule sea settles still – a calm ocean of false security. The horizon is razor-sharp, like the paper edge of a new book. But like a page, it will soon turn. And in this story, it’s time for a plot twist.

“Saturday is cyclone day!” exclaims Libby Greenhalgh, on Team SCA. The magenta boat is currently at the back of the fleet, and sees this change in weather as a real opportunity to make gains on the other half a dozen teams. “The winds go clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere,” she explains. “So we want to try and hit the western edge of the low centre, then we’ll gybe out, hopefully getting the shortest distance to travel.” She scribbles out an upward movement on a piece of paper. “It’s critical to try and get the low centre right. There’s a monster cloud and it’s really convective and squally.” “We’re expecting 30 knots but we could get almost half that again in gusts, so 40-45 knots – and a lot of rain.” She pauses, reflective. “This is the first cyclone I’ve sailed into.” Well, it’s not officially a cyclone. But what's in a name? As the whistling winds and cymbal waves pick up, it’ll probably feel like one. In actuality, it’s a ‘tropical storm’. Yesterday, it was a ‘tropical depression’. Let’s just say that trying to predict the severity of these unstable conditions out in the vast Indian Ocean isn’t an easy job. “A tropical cyclone needs a lot of variables to develop,” advises Race Meteorologist, Gonzalo Infante. "On Wednesday, the system moving southwesterly towards Mauritius was classified as a 'tropical depression', likely to develop into a 'tropical storm'.”

"In fact, that failed to develop, and yesterday the prospects were looking lighter, and brighter – then, this morning, it was once again upgraded to ‘storm’ status." It says it all that, even with the best technology, satellite equipment and software in the world, sometimes, Mother Nature is still one step ahead. “The fleet is fully in control and aware of the current forecasts,” adds Gonzalo. “We've been supplying them with information, data and weather models since we noticed the potential for a storm over a week ago.” Nevertheless, shifting winds, changing tides, and moving boats make it increasingly challenging to get a firm grip on how the days, hours and minutes are going to pan out. But hey, that’s why we love sailing. For its unpredictability, for the strategy, for the big decisions.

Corinna Halloran/Team SCA/Volvo Ocean Race Down below deck, in the dark of Team Alvimedica’s boat, navigator Will Oxley is about to make the latter. “In some ways, you feel responsible for sending the crew into bad conditions, and you don’t do that lightly,” he sighs. “There’s a 4-5 metre sea state, but the wind is building behind you, so you end up in a 5m head sea running downwind, which is really bad conditions.” His face is highlighted by the glow of his routing software, and the worry lines run deep into valleys. “And it’s hard to be on the right sail because the wind direction changes so dramatically in a short distance.” “We’ll be careful, but we’ll also take an opportunity if it presents itself. It’s risk/reward.” The fleet is currently winging its way up between the islands of La Réunion and Mauritius, and with the storm rolling in a southwesterly direction, the boats are expected to experience the worst of the conditions overnight and into tomorrow morning. At the moment, Spanish boat MAPFRE has hold of pole position – but Antonio Cuervas-Mons, or Ñeti, underlines that, in conditions like these, you can’t afford to take anything for granted. “We’re first, but it’s close,” he shrugs. “Things can change at any moment, with any cloud or squall.” “It’s good to be in the lead, but there’s a long way to go – and we have to keep fighting to be here.”

Francisco Vignale/MAPFRE/Volvo Ocean Race

He’s got that right – it certainly will be a fight. A fight with the weather, and a fight with each other. In fact, with the teams expected to be out of the worst of it by the end of Saturday, Gonzalo believes that the storm could leave a big void in its wake – and that means the possibility of a full restart. “The question is, how aggressive will the teams be?,” he ponders. “To play with the storm would risk damaging the boat - and with the possibility of a restart as a result of low breeze after the weekend, it might not be a risk worth taking.” Back in the galley of Alvimedica, Will agrees. “Even before the leg start it was forecast that we were going to end up in the vicinity of Mauritius at the same time as this,” he chuckles. “It’s potentially going to be a big split in the fleet.” Across on Dongfeng, bowman Kevin Escoffier is pulling dry glue from his hands – he’s spent the morning dangling perilously up high, fixing an unstuck mast track. But have his repairs worked? He smiles. “We need to know very soon if it works or not because we’ve got a tropical storm arriving – so obviously we need it to work, fingers crossed.” Then, in typical Kevin style, he breaks into a grin. “Otherwise, we stop in Mauritius for two weeks, in order to clean the boat and repair everything.” “That’s also a good alternative I think!”

   
Name: OCEAN SAILOR  Posts: 171  **  Vancouver Time: 2014-12-1_18:47:44 Quote    Reply



Grounded 29th November 2014, 22:11 UTC

“The first priority for us now is the safety of the crew - that is the absolute number one priority,” says Volvo Ocean Race CEO Knut Frostad.

Behind him, in Race Control, computer screens and communication systems blink and flash, and people move decisively around the room – the Crisis Management Team is, unfortunately, in full operation. The Team Vestas Wind boat has been grounded on the Cargados Carajos Shoals, some 200nm northeast of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean. Fortunately, no one has been injured.

“They reported that they were stuck on the reef, they were all safe, all the crew were in good health, no one was injured, but they had broken both rudders on the boat,” adds Knut. “We have also learned about some damage to the stern compartment which has had an ingress of water, and that's the first information we had.” As the information dripped through, the rest of the fleet was also informed, and the reaction – followed by relief – began to flood in. “The good thing is that nobody’s injured – everybody’s safe,” says Roberto Bermudez de Castro, or ‘Chuny’, onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. “And when I say ‘good thing’, I mean it’s incredible nobody’s injured, with the boat broken against land, enough to abandon it.”

Over on Dongfeng Race Team, bowman Kevin Escoffier was hit hard by the news.

“I’m sad,” he says. “I’m sad for them, and I’m just imagining the situation if I was in the same one on our boat. It’s very sad, very very sad.” “It’s terrible for them, and terrible for the fleet and the race,” says skipper Charles Caudrelier.

“We are offshore in the middle of nowhere, and on the chart, if you don’t go on the maximum zoom you can’t see anything.” “There are shallow spots, and plenty 200m deeper - I’m not surprised you can miss them,” he adds.

“When I was looking at the navigation a few days ago, checking these things, it took a long time for me to find them.” All-female boat Team SCA was at the back of the fleet when they received an email to say that the incident had occurred. “We’ve offered assistance and we’re awaiting news on whether they’d like our assistance, but we’ve also taken an even wider berth and getting ourselves ready to go round and keep going,” explains navigator Libby Greenhalgh, in the dark of the galley. “I hope they’re all okay, I’m sure they are. I hope nobody got injured, but you don’t normally run aground at 15 knots so there could be a few bumps and bruises.” Her team mate, Annie Lush, echoed those sentiments. “It’s really sad,” she said, having just woken up to the news. “It’s quite scary for them now I’m sure and I just really hope that they can do this safely. It’s tricky, it’s quite a big sea, it’s dark, and Alvimedica have gone to help.” In a slice of luck, Team Alvimedica weren’t too far from the Danish boat when it grounded – and Race Control was able to arrange for them to divert in support of Team Vestas Wind.

Skipper Charlie Enright was in a sombre mood as his orange boat anchored close to the incident. “We’ve put ourselves near the reef in a place where we can communicate with them via VHF and we’re checking in with them on a regular schedule, monitoring their situation. We’re prepared to help in any way we can,” he says. “We can’t see anything. It’s about 2 hours until sun rise. We can see that they have their liferafts deployed and we can see the light flashing but that’s about it.” He continues. “Everyone is trying to keep their heads about them, we’re in the watch system still, it’s going to be a long night, and who knows what will come of it in the morning, so we’re trying to keep things as business as usual as we can.” “We’ve taken some safety precautions and prepared the boat for potentially having some more people aboard for a while.” So what next? Well, Knut adds, it’s complicated – but everything’s stable, and under control.

“I think the challenge with the current situation is that, first of all, it's in a very remote part of the planet, far away from ships, ports and services,” he adds. “The closest large civilisation is in Mauritius which is more than 200 nm from this location.” “That complicates the situation. That said, we have a good weather forecast for the next 24 hours, the wind is no more than 10-12 knots and is dropping.” He pauses. “However it's obviously a complex and serious situation for Team Vestas Wind and for the race, and we're monitoring it very carefully.”

Name: OCEAN SAILOR  Posts: 171  **  Vancouver Time: 2014-12-1_19:5:57 Quote    Reply


30 November 2014, 06:11 UTC

Will's Call

     “We could see the boat clear as day,” recalls Team Alvimedica navigator, Will Oxley.
He's talking through last night's events with Race Director Jack Lloyd via LiveX technology, just after his team rejoined the race.
“In fact, it’s just a coral reef flat, and the little islands between us and Vestas were only about one metre high.”
As the thick black curtain of night fell, giving way to a brighter morning and a razor-sharp horizon, the crew of Alvimedica was greeted with an unfortunate sight.

Will's Call

The grounded boat of Team Vestas Wind, once tall and proud, now stranded and torn wide open by the sharp reef of the Cargados Carajos Shoals, near Mauritius. A boat that they have so relentlessly battled over the last couple of months. But most importantly, a boat containing nine friends, colleagues - and fellow sailors. Luckily, all uninjured by the incident. “We were already pretty nervous,” Will admits. “We’d been talking about these reefs for some time, and I’d just been speaking to Amory.” “I’d said to him ‘look, read this about that corner of the reef, it says you should never go there in any circumstances!’” He pauses. “Not even 15 minutes later, we got the phone call.” It was a call that they’ll never forget – a call from Race Control. And a request. Could they divert their route to the remote archipelago to provide assistance?

Amory Ross/Team Alvimedica/Volvo Ocean Race

 
Well, of course, according to Will. In fact, the race “became completely irrelevant for that 12 hours,” he says. “We went around into the lagoon area, dropped our sails, and very nervously motored in using the sounder to get as close as we could,” he continues. “We were then able to motor up and down, within handheld VHF range - we could see the flashing lights on the life raft, and they could see our mast light.” “We were able to have a radio contact every 30 minutes, and we think that made a big difference to their night.” With half a smile, he adds. “It was good to be able to maintain contact with people who are good friends - they knew that we had their backs.” At around 0045 UTC this morning, the grounded crew was left with no choice - it was time to abandon the boat, and scramble to dry land. “We were party every 30 minutes to the slow destruction of the boat, and it was terrible to hear what was happening,” sighs Will. “Eventually, one by one, they made the transition from the boat to the life raft. They fired off a parachute flare to light up the whole area, and they were safe.” And then – they headed to land. “At that point we got a VHF call from Nico who was obviously sounding pretty broken,” remembers Will. “They were sorted, they had a plan, there was nothing we could do to help them anymore but they were incredibly appreciative of the role we’d played.” “They wanted us not to disrupt our lives anymore, and they sent us on our way.” At the most recent position report, Team Alvimedica sit sixth in the fleet, 196 nm behind leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing. But they are now well and truly back in race mode. As for Team Vestas Wind, the crew has been taken to the remote Íle du Sud, where there is a house and some facilities. The boat? Well, once the sailors are organised and safe, the necessary arrangements will be made to inspect the damage more closely.