Around the world under all sails

Around the world under all sails

Short facebook on Volvo Ocean Race

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In the coming 24 hours the competition will start, which for «yachtsmen» is the same as the World Cup for normal people. The Volvo Ocean Race is called «the Everest of Sailing». It is watched by millions of fans around the world. And it is virtually unknown in Russia.

We want to fix this situation at least somehow, because the next 9 months will be held under the auspices of VOR for all waterfowlers. There will simply be no bigger story in the sailing world at this time.

Read it for yourself. Tell a friend. Download it to your girlfriend. Below are the main facts about VOR that anyone with a claim to erudition should know.

Volvo Ocean Race in one (big) offer

Teams of 11 people on the loaded most «I can not» 21-meter sailing bolides for several months competing, who will go around the world faster - overcoming the oceanic storms along the way, waves the size of five stories, temperature differences from -20 to +40, icebergs, «roaring forties» and other delights - and all this in a brutal competition with each other at a speed that relatively the rest of the sailing sport can be designated as the «first cosmic».


The idea of the race got a ticket to life in 1971, in one of the English pubs. Colonel Bill Whitbread, president of the British beer conglomerate Whitbread, was «divorced» with a glass of beer by enthusiasts to sponsor a round-the-world regatta among yachts and crews. The Whitbread Round The World Race started in September 1973 with 17 pennants.

Naturally, there were no GPS receivers or weather forecast satellites in those days and in the memorial. We used sextanes, bearing and star guidance for navigation, and the weather forecast was shamanized on the barometer in the old days. Of all the participants, only two had walkie-talkies on board.

However, compared to current times, the race was held in a very relaxed mode. Almost all the crews were amateur. People lived on board in normal comfortable cabins with bathrooms and heaters, eating fresh food at a full table. An average of 6 bottles of wine a day were drunk on board, with no sponsorship beer from Whitbread. There were no problems with caviar and oysters.

In the ports, during stops between stages, they were drunk and spied with such force that the next exit to the sea was for «detox».

Such a relaxed atmosphere could not but provoke the ocean to show its character. During the first regatta three people died - they were washed away by waves overboard the boats.
Nevertheless, the regatta was considered to be successful. It was decided to hold it once in 3-4 years. The countdown of history went on.

Interesting fact: 120 women-Yaksmen were in the crews of the race for the whole period of the regatta. The first all-female «Maiden» team took part in the race 1989-90.

Just like she is.

Today's regatta is far from that romantic idyll of the 70-80s. Now it's a professional sport, cruel and ruthless. Teams through one of the Olympic medalists, skippers are all living legends of sailing.

Instead of classic wooden yachts, Kevlar and carbon fiber ball rule. All efforts are thrown to fight against overweight. As a result, the comfort aboard a boat worth several million is zero. No cabins: the whole crew sleeps on shelves with a rolled up sail or a bag of things under their heads. Dry freeze-dried products, a pressed set of clothes, even toothbrushes - with half-cut bristles. To save weight inside - naked unpainted carbon and no lighting. After sunset the inside of the yacht becomes really "like a Negro in the ass".

As a result, the boats reach speeds of 30 knots or more - for a sailing boat weighing 14 tons it is an inconceivable jump. Volvo 70 class yachts hold most of the current single hull records. During the last VOR, for example, Ericsson 4 sailed 596.6 nautical miles in 24 hours.

If there are other sports in the world with more extreme conditions than here, they surely do not last for several months like VOR.

Quote:« Every few minutes a wave of ice water weighs 9 tons and is rolled on deck. Your clothes just don't have time to dry out, so you have to sleep in the wet. Being inside a racing boat while sailing is like sitting in a big drum on which a heavy stick» is punched at any rhythm (from the story of a journalist, who visited the boat).

Progress engine

By the beginning of the 21st century, Whitbread was playing around the world and could no longer pull the strap. The banner caught up with the car giant Volvo, and in 2001-02 the race was first held under today's famous name - Volvo Ocean Race.

Autoconcern has brought modern marketing and logistics technologies to the competition. It opened an updated race control center, similar to some space control center in Houston or Queen. Other major sponsors pulled up. Extensive promotional activities began at the race stops, and global race villages were built in each port for a few weeks. Pile-ups of exhibits, souvenir shops, stage equipment for broadcast and other showbiz attachments - there was a real scale.

In addition, VOR has pioneered a new format of online sailing racing lighting, with blogs, videos, a 3D simulator that tracks boats on the globe in real time and other features.

Interesting fact: The total audience of the 2008-09 regatta was 1.2 billion people.

Technical details

The race is on Volvo Open 70 class yachts. The classic «box rule»applies: all yachts are designed and built individually, but must fit within certain, fairly rigid frames: weight not exceeding 14.5 tons, total length not exceeding 70.5 feet, draft 4.5 meters and so on. The rules are slightly changed before each new regatta. The strongest change in the current, third version of the rules: previously maximum 24 sails were allowed on board, now only 17. It seems as if it is a lot. But in fact, given the variety of weather and wind conditions in which the boats have to race, the selection of sails teams have to break their heads.

The race route consists of 9 segments with a total length of 37,000 nautical miles. Each stage takes 2-3 weeks and breaks between stages take from 10 to 20 days. The first port race in Alicante will start on Saturday, October 29 at 16-00 Moscow time, and a week later, on November 5, the entire fleet will depart from here at 6,500-mile trip to Cape Town. The finish of VOR 2011-12 is scheduled for July 7 next year in Irish Galway.

There are only 6 teams in the current VOR, but what teams!

The level of competition in the regatta is higher than ever - 5 crews have serious potential to win the race.

We will tell you more about the teams and the race route next week, before «the big» start on November 5.

Interesting fact: each team must have one passenger who is not allowed to participate in the boat's management under the risk of disqualification. This is a journalist, or «media crew», whose task is to keep a chronicle of what is happening on board with the help of various audio-video photo tools and satellite phone.

The tragedy of Fazisi

The history of Whitbread/Volvo regatta cannot be told without this terrible page. In the race of 1989-90 the crew from the USSR took part for the first time. In the Georgian city of Poti, the aluminum hull of the yacht "Fazisi" was assembled at the hydrofoil construction site (the name of Poti in ancient times). Never before have boats of this class been built in the Soviet Union.

By cargo plane «Ruslan» hull was transported to England, where the boat was armed with modern rigging and prepared for the race. A week before the start it turned out that «Fazisi» keel did not comply with class rules. As a result, by some miracle, a replacement keel was found in this short period of time and, at the cost of incredible effort, it managed to be installed in time.

The yacht got off to a good start, and at the finish of stage I in Uruguay was sixth. It was a mini sensation: the Soviet team for the first time participated in competitions of such level, actually without preparation was ahead of 2/3 of the fleet. However, a few days later, a terrible thing happened. Not withstanding the nervous tension of the regatta, lack of money, organizational problems and intrigues in the leadership of the team, committed suicide Alexei Grishchenko - skipper of the team and the man who led the construction of «Fazisi».

This story can be read in detail in the book. «The Russians are coming.» Eugene Plato, who was directly involved in the construction of the yacht and the subsequent race. By the way, in the next Whitbread regatta in 1993-94. Plato also took part in the race. This time - as a skipper of the team «Hetman Sagaidachn»y under the flag of independent Ukraine already by that time.

Quote: "Fazisi" has attracted increased interest from people all over the world. Some kind of special magic came from this team of madmen who managed to do what seemed impossible for reasonable people" - Eugene Platon.

An ambush with «an Orca»

Another Russian attempt to take part in this race took place just recently, during the last VOR in 2008-09. St. Petersburg businessman Oleg ZherebtsovRob Humphreys, the creator of the «Lenta»supermarket chain, has built a «Kosatka» yacht in England designed by Rob Humphreys and assembled an impressive international team led by Austrian skipper Andreas Hanakamp. Among them was Rodion Luca, who won silver at the 2004 Olympics. No commercial sponsors were found, and Zherebtsov had to invest $13.5 million in the project. The team was seriously preparing for the race, and there were constant training sessions. Oleg Zherebtsov even «managed to break through the» finish line of the race in St. Petersburg. He himself tried on the role of tank sailor - one of the most difficult and physically exhausting.

Before the race started, the team was in trouble. At first, Oleg had to refuse to participate in the first stage due to the death of his mother. The team went to the start without the owner. Then, a few days after the start of the race, in the system of the rocking keel was found a leak, which greatly slowed down the course of «Kosatka». In Stage II the yacht flew into a big wave at night during a strong storm, lay on the water, almost turned over. In general, the team did not shine and spit in the tail, constant breakdowns led to many unplanned costs. At that moment the crisis was» already raging in the «big world (hello, 2008). In general, after the III stage, the Russian team withdrew from the regatta, and at the finish in St. Petersburg «Kosatka» came just to visit, offsets.

Stallions don't like to remember this story, and now they're racing small sailing boats like Laser SB3 (where the budget is literally 100 times lower). From time to time there are talks about the new Russian team. Recently . Kirill Podolsky said he'd like to race sometime. Oskar Konyukhov also periodically raises the subject in private conversations. However, there are no Russian participants in the 2011-12 campaign, which is about to begin.

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