Volvo Ocean Race

  • ALBINO INTRUDERS: Beluga Whales in Narragansett Bay

    Beluga

    Here's an intriguing little news morsel from the Misplaced Wildlife Department. Seems a group of three beluga whales, a decidedly Arctic species that normally wanders no further south than the mouth of the St. Lawrence River in Canada, has been lolling about the past two weeks in Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island. Local marine biologists have been acutely interested and are monitoring them closely.

  • SEA NYMPH SIGHTED: Volvo Race Boat Spots Derelict Vessel Abandoned by Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiava

    Sea Nymph sighted

    She has risen again to infest the newsfeed of unsuspecting sailors! The good vessel Sea Nymph--belonging to controversial bluewater sailor Jennifer Appel, abandoned by her and shipmate Tasha Fuiava and their two dogs last October--was sighted yesterday approximately 360 miles east of Guam by skipper Dee Caffari and her crew aboard Turn the Tide on Plastic, a VO65 racing in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race.

    Caffari in her text report couldn’t help remarking on the irony of the situation: “I just hope now we have given authorities her position there is a chance for salvage or for scuttling her to prevent a far worse disaster in our oceans. We are asking you not to litter the oceans with plastic and here we have a whole yacht floating aimlessly in our oceans!”

    Not only a yacht, but a plastic one at that.

  • VESTAS WIND SHIPWRECK: Post Mortem With Embarrassing Personal Recollection

    Verbraak navigatin

    You know something really big has gone on in the sailing world when even The New Yorker magazine feels they have to say something about it. The grounding and abandonment of Team Vestas Wind has been a major publicity coup, for both the Volvo Ocean Race and the boat's sponsor, Vestas Wind, made all the sweeter by the fact of the happy ending: no one was seriously injured. The cause of the accident has been pretty clearly identified. The Cargados Carajos Shoals were in an exclusion zone that was opened to the fleet the night before they started leg 2 of the race out of Cape Town. Vestas navigator Wouter Verbraak (see image up top) wasn't aware that the shoals were directly on the route north to Abu Dhabi, didn't have time to fully scope out the new track before the start, and assumed he'd be able to do so while racing the leg. In the end he never zoomed in close enough on his electronic chart to see the shoals, and the crew sailed right on to the reef at night having no idea it was there.

    This obviously was a stupid mistake, and Verbraak, to his credit, has openly confessed to it. The boat's skipper Chris Nicholson likewise has accepted full responsibility for what happened and recently gave two long interviews—one in print with Sail-World (a big three-parter that starts here) and one on video with Sailing Anarchy. These are both well worth your attention.

  • VOLVO OCEAN RACE: Supernatural Bird Attack and Vestas Grounding Video

    Bird attack

    The birds are not happy with Team Alvimedica, who stood by so selflessly at Cargados Carajos Shoals waiting to help their shipwrecked mates on Team Vestas Wind. I read somewhere the other day that Cargados Carajos actually means something like Bird Excrement Island, so I'm wondering if that is relevant. What happened evidently is the boat was mobbed yesterday right around sunset by a huge gang of black noddy terns.

    You needn't take my word for it, you can watch the video right here:

    Very bizarre. Only time I've ever seen birds behave like this is around fishing boats.

  • VOLVO OCEAN RACE: Team Vestas Wind Wrecked

    Vestas aground

    Here's one way to get cruising sailors interested in the ongoing Volvo Ocean Race--have one competitor pile up on a reef at night in the middle of nowhere. It was definitely NOT a happy Thanksgiving holiday weekend for the crew on the VOR65 Team Vestas Wind, as they hit Cargados Carajos Shoals (a.k.a. Saint Brandon Shoals) 200 miles north of Mauritius on Saturday while racing in leg 2 of the Volvo race, from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi. Reportedly, they were making 18 knots at the time.

    Ouch! This is why crew on these boats always fall asleep in their berths with their feet facing bulkheads.

    Another competitor, Team Alvimedica, which has since resumed racing, stood by the grounded boat for several hours until all the crew were safely off and local authorities arrived on the scene. The Vestas crew, who initially had to evacuate on to the reef itself, are now all ashore and are plotting how best to salvage their vessel.

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