VO70 AZZAM arrives Auckland

3:33 PM 0 Comments

March 11 2012 – Auckland NZ

After 20 days of racing the Volvo Ocean Race fleet has arrived in the Auckland - the city of sails. Given that fully a third of the sailors in the race call New Zealand home and the countries storied history in the race and it is no surprise that this is one of the most anticipated stop overs of any in the race. The Via Duct Basin has been transformed into the Volvo Ocean Race village and the place has a definite buzz about it. Something like 25,000 people came through yesterday even before any of the boats had arrived.

As I write this, Azzam has just finished and Sanya will be crossing the line in less than an hours time. Amazingly the boats in places 2 – 6th have all finished within the space of a few hours, and on a Sunday afternoon for the Auckland crowds on top of that. The crews will get a long sought after meal and a brief chance to decompress while the shore crews will dive into the jobs list addressing both major and minor issues late into the nights to get the boats back in the water by Wednesday in preparation for the inshore race schedule and the restart next Sunday. We seem fortunate not to have too many major issues to deal with but we’ll have to wait and see when the boat arrives. A week is not a lot of time and the crews face the demands of the southern ocean when they leave here so everything has to fixed and reliable for one of the biggests tests they will see over the 9 months of the race.

While the repairs and reprovisioning continue I will be working with the team here debriefing from the last leg, looking at what went right and wrong and working to re-mode the boat within the limited range of options we have for the expected conditions of Leg 5. Certainly a 5th place is not what we were after on this leg and I think it hurts more to be within 15 miles of second place after racing for 20 days. But the teams spirits are high and we will be ready to go on the next leg and show everyone what we are made of.

Stay tuned …

Britton Ward, Vice President/Senior Naval Architect