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Volume 14, Issue 13 ~ March 30 - April 5, 2006

Riding with the Volvo Ocean Race

Prizes and prepping for Baltimore

by Kat Bennett

Volvo Ocean Race skippers are readying for their race to Baltimore after repairs, races and awards in Rio. While in port, they advance closer to — or slip further from — victory by showing their stuff in racing sprints. Split-second decisions and rapid-fire reflexes in these short, fast races can bring up to 3.5 extra points, half as many as all of Leg 4.

In the Guanabara Bay in-port race, ABN AMRO ONE scored its third in-port success, sliding in just two minutes before the newly repaired and point-hungry Movistar. Each of the other four boats also sailed in second position — if only for a few minutes. Pirates of the Caribbean dropped back after a snagged jib lost the boat time windward. Excitement spoiled the race for Brasil1 and ABN AMRO TWO; both were penalized for illegal moves while rounding their marks. Keeping a cool head, Ericcson’s new skipper John Kostecki neatly grabbed third place.

Now ABN AMRO ONE leads the race with an all-over score of 52.5 points, 16 points ahead of sister-ship ABN AMRO TWO. Fewer than 10 points separate the next four ranking boats: ABN AMRO TWO, 36.5 points; Pirates of the Caribbean, 31.5 points; Movistar, 31 points; and Brasil1, 28.5 points.

Other triumphs were also recognized this week. Movistar watch captain Chris Nicholson was honored with The Musto Seamanship Award for bravery. When Movistar foundered, sucking in tons of water that rose four feet high in the mid compartments, Nicholson endured continuous electrical shocks as he dove beneath that water to connect the emergency bilge pumps and save the ship from drowning.

For winning Leg 4, from Wellington to Rio de Janeiro, ABN AMRO ONE earned a special trophy presented by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. ONE got a second award, the Roaring Forties Trophy, for accumulating the most points during Leg 4 (3.5 points for first around Cape Horn and 7 points for wining Leg 4). That trophy features an albatross, symbol of the Save the Albatross Campaign undertaken by the Volvo Ocean Race. Long a symbol of hope for sailors, albatross populations are being decimated by long-line fishing.

For outstanding media communications, Ericsson received a cash award from Volvo Car Brazil. The money will fund sailing opportunities for underprivileged children. Sixth place Brasil1, Rio’s native son, was awarded the Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean Watch Environmental prize for making a difference to the environment. During a dangerous hydraulic leak, the crew not only prevented an oil spill but even managed to recycle the oil.

On Sunday April 2, the fleet sets off on its 5,000 nautical mile race to Baltimore.

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