The Volvo Ocean Race has been in Boston since the leg winner, Ericsson 4 crossed the finishing line off of Fan Pier on Sunday, April 26. On Saturday, May 9, seven Volvo Open 70s lined up for the in-port racing, held in the waters between Boston and Marblehead, MA. Sadly for the home team, Puma Ocean Racing, Telefonica Blue, a Spanish-flagged entry, walked away with the top-flight podium position and an additional three points, solidly casting this Spanish team into second place. Puma fell three points on the leader board, solidifying their position in third place. Luckily for Ken Read and the Puma boys, there is still plenty of racing left to earn back what was lost.
The day's conditions were light and foggy, conditions that definitely favored the Telefonica boats. Still, other teams fought great battles, specifically Delta Lloyd who nabbed a second-place finish in Race 1. So, if you weren't lucky enough to have been out on the water for the action, these images will put you there. And without needing foulies and sweatshirts, as it was cold out there on the water. Check out SAIL’s exclusive photos of the in-port race.
Flash forward a week to the start of Leg 7. Given the fact that there’s nothing “normal” about the VOR, it should come as no surprise that there was nothing “normal” about Leg 7’s start. For starts, there were two starts. Huh? you rightly ask. That’s right, two starts, due to a misfired starting gun. This spelled good news for the home team contingency of Puma Ocean Racing, who suffered a bad first attempt. Luckily, Ken and the boys took the opportunity of a general restart to swap out headsails as the day’s sunshine faded to clouds, fog, and more fog. The breeze held steady at about ten knots; breeze enough for the boats to be moving fast by the time the actual start took place.
The fleet paced the starting line off of the newly built Fan Pier, headed out of the harbor, led by Telefonica Blue and Puma’s il mostro, to a mark roughly one nautical mile out, spun their bows back towards Boston Harbor, and bee-lined it for the Tobin Bridge before swinging their bows again, this time for keeps, as the boats sped past the Boston Harbor Islands, destination Galway, Ireland. Check out SAIL’s exclusive photos of the Harbor Start.
Unconventional, yes. A grand media opportunity, definitely.
While this 2,550-nautical-mile crossing would proudly rank as a trip of a lifetime for most sailors, to sea-hardened VOR sailors it’s a mere “hop” across the pond, especially after the monster Leg 5, all 12,300 nautical miles from Qingdao, China to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As with most things in life, it boils down to a matter of perspective, but for these guys it’s just another “lap” around the planet, and another opportunity to strut their stuff on the world’s fastest sailboats.
Stay tuned to sailmagazine.com for more VOR updates as the fleet nears the finishing line in St. Petersburg, Russia.