by Adam Cort

Adam Cort is SAIL’s executive editor. He lives and sails in the Boston area.

After 84 days at sea, Frenchman Bernard Stamm and Swiss sailor Jean Le Cam have not only won the double-handed Barcelona World Race, but set a new record for the event, which was first established in 2007. 
After a three-day delay to avoid the worst of Cyclone Pam, the six-boat Volvo Ocean Race fleet has now set out from Auckland, New Zealand, for Leg 5 through the Southern Ocean. 
After months of battling tropical calms, and bouncing back and forth across the Doldrums in no less than three different oceans, it’s time for the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race to return to its stormy roots. As in races past, Leg 4, which stretches 6,776 miles from Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil, will push the six competing crews to the limit and then some as they battler their way through the Southern Ocean and around Cape Horn. 
This past week, an independent review committee that included VOR veteran and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Stan Honey, former West Marine advisor author Chuck Hawely, and Rear Adm. Chris Oxenbould, a former deputy chief of the Australian Navy, determined there were “deficiencies” both in the use of charts aboard Vestas Wind and in “the cartography presenting the navigation dangers on the small and medium scales” of the electronic charts themselves when the boat ran aground last November.
Chinese-flagged Dongfeng is clearly the boat to beat as the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race fleet bashes its way through the early stages of Leg 4 from Sanya, China, to Auckland, New Zealand. Not only is the team number one on the overall leaderboard following a first-place finish on Leg 3 from Abu Dhabi to China, it also took first in the inshore race on February 7—the first time a Chinese-flagged team has done so in the VOR. Nonetheless, if there’s one thing that’s remained constant throughout the ever-changing history of Volvo Ocean Race, it’s that it’s never over until it’s over. 
It’s been more of the same for the six remaining boats in the 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race fleet during the early stages of Leg 3: painfully light winds for the first 72 hours after the January 3 re-start in Abu Dhabi followed by yet more nail-bitingly close competition.

Fareast 18

by Adam Cort, Posted December 16, 2014
Unlike most production boatbuilders in Asia, Shanghai Far East Boats is a legitimately indigenous company manufacturing its own line of boats, as opposed to a Western-based enterprise looking to lower its labor costs. 
Right up to the start in Cape Town on November 19, the pundits were saying the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, to Abu Dhabi, was going to be an unpredictable one, and boy were they right!
After three days of being largely out of touch with the world, the nine-man crew of the Volvo Ocean 65 Vestas is now back on Mauritius after running hard aground this past weekend on a remote reef in the Indian Ocean.

Mantus Anchors Chain Hook

by Adam Cort, Posted November 21, 2014
Happy Hooking
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