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The Ellison Cup

A friend posted on my Facebook that the America’s Cup was all about POLITICS… careless me, I accidentally deleted it, but it inspired me to write this below… 

1st, here’s the definition of politics, as I found it: ‘the activities associated with the governance of a country or area, especially the debate between parties having power.’

Well, to me the America’s Cup, the way it is now, it has nothing to do with the USA. I see it presently as the Ellison Cup, however re the debate between parties having power’… the 2nd half does apply in this case, but I can’t find anywhere that says fish n chips is now Politics
… that’s what my original post was about!

It used to be a sailing race, some time back, the America’s Cup, albeit I suppose, a rather political one at that, however, if ever there was a no race, this would be the one shaping up to be that. Remember back in 1851… Queen Victoria asked one of her attendants to tell her who was in second place… “Your Majesty, there is no second…”.
Hmmm, well things have changed, now that Team Luna Rossa Challenge, the 1st Challenger, has pulled out, but maybe there is still time to appoint a 2nd or a 3rd, maybe even a 4th Challenger, so there’s a few spares still left to challenge, to take a shot at 1st, or 2nd place!
So far, all I can see is that there is
Oracle Team USA
and no official Challenger.
Then there seems to be a small group of organizations hanging out, hoping for the chance to pounce, to take a crack at winning that Cup, the Cup held by Larry Ellison, the man who seems to be without comment on this right now. I think many of us, interested in sailing, would like to hear what Ellison has to say and to hear what his guiding direction is for this America’s Cup, while there is still a Cup worth sailing for.

Anyways, that’s just my opinion and like I wrote
The End of the America’s Cup
… or a new brand of fresh frozen fish n chips?

Dedicated to RF, hoping your political posts go fizt, before you make it to RIP, dear friend!

Leg 6, Itajaí to Newport, Rhode Island, USA

Get ready, Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race is about to begin…
But 1st, the Itajaí In-Port Race
Itajaí time, 18 April 2PM, Saturday
NZ Time, 19 April 5AM, Sunday… set the alarm
Update… Team Brunel won the In-Port Race, congratulations!

Then the Start Time of Leg 6,
Itajaí to Newport…
Itajaí time, 19 April 2PM, Sunday
NZ time, 20 April 5AM, Monday and this time they are off to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, 5010nm away. Newport is a home to one whole lot of money & some of the US’s most expensive properties, flanked in history & the Finish Line for Leg 6, all coming at you Live this weekend on the Volvo Ocean Race website. Don’t even ask me what that is in UTC time! :)
… it’s this weekend! Well ok, UTC Time… it’s April 19, 2015 – 17:00 :) so they say, wind or no wind, that’s when they begin!

Check out the Ice Limits...The build up to the Horn has been pretty intense, with all racing for bragging rights to be the 1st VOR Team to Round the Horn in 2015.
With the Ice Limits reaching closer to the Horn itself, it’s made for some extremely nail biting moments and some pretty dramatic thrills & spills, and Chinese Gybes, and in the case of
Dongfeng Race Team… they lost the top off their mast! On their last report they were recorded as Suspended Racing, and heading for Argentina, instead of the Horn! Care to tango anyone?

This has been a drastically dangerous crossing, from Auckland to Brazil, first riding out of the NZ waters on the tail of Cyclone Pam, a Cat 5 cyclone, then the following winds, squalls, huge waves, rain, hail, snow, who cannot ask themselves… what’s next?
Ya? Well here’s a Flash… Rounding of the Horn 2015 & the real deal
… photographer yet to be verified, but it’s on Team Brunel…
Best crack out the sunscreen, if you don't want a burn... down there!
Ah ha, dusting
up on your tans eh,
in anticipation of Itajaí :) :)
Well you better get ready, because here’s Itajaí’s weather for today… 31°/20° with a little bit of sun, a little bit of cloud, winds of 21-6km/h, best crack out the sunscreen, if you don’t want a burn… down there!

So, Itajaí’s next. ETA for the 1st boats across the line… 5-6th April, for those left sailing!

7 Teams began the Volvo Ocean Race back in Alicante, Spain, October 11, 2014.
Team Vestas Wind found themselves on a reef, 29 November 2014, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, without enough water underneath to keep them afloat, they say they ran aground, call it what you like, it left 6 Teams racing, then on 30 March 2015, with only 240 nautical miles to go to the Horn, in the final hours of the night, Dongfeng Race Team lost the top of their mast, bugger, crash, boom, bam, bah… the rest is yet to come!

For the latest, here’s the Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race Leg 5, Auckland to Itajaí

Leg 5, of the Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015, due to begin 15 March, began on Wednesday 18 March 2015, after a 67 hour delay, due to Cyclone Pam, a Category 5 storm, bearing down on NZ from the north, and the start of Leg 5. Finally, at 9am local NZ time, the remaining Fleet of 6 boats, sailed out of the Auckland Harbour, headed towards the southern ocean, and to let the truth be laid straight, no one knows what to expect anymore, as year after year our ever changing weather systems are intensifying,
so what does lie ahead in this Southern Ocean?
Here’s a taste of what the Fleet are going through? Like to see? Of course you do…
Inside Track: Leg 5 # 2 | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-15

Leg 5 is a 7,000 nautical mile journey from New Zealand to Brazil that will take the boats to the furthest point from land on earth. Maybe you’d care to try something like that?

Dongfeng Race Team Skipper, Charles Caudrelier, said “I’m heading into the Southern Ocean with two sailors onboard that have never sailed in more than 30 knots of wind, of course it’s added pressure… the last time Abu Dhabi were in trouble in the Southern Ocean, the nearest ship was 1000 miles away. It’s a reality check – but I reckon with the one design we will be closer.”

Navigator Pascal Bidégorry on the Southern Ocean… “Pffff, last time? Last time was 14 years ago and I dismasted. Then we stayed at sea for 21 days without a mast before we reached safety. That was not fun. The Southern Ocean it breaks boats… ”

Charles Caudrelier… “I’m not sure they know what lies ahead and maybe it’s better that way? I trust them and they know the boat…”.

I for one, every night, I look out into darkness of the southern skies, from here in New Zealand, and I wonder what it must be like for those magnificent sailors. Trust me, I have no intention to personally ever find out, but it makes me wonder about them. I find it hard to fathom being on watch at 1am in the morning, sailing fast through the cold waves of the Southern Ocean, a cloud covered sky, dark, or maybe the luxury of a clear sky at night with stars and the moon, yet sailing through the darkness of the night, and fast… how do they do it?

The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015…
7 Teams began, in Alicante, Spain, six are still sailing!
They are…
Team SCA

Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Dongfeng Race Team
Team Brunel
Team Alvimedica
& Team Vestas Wind,
who found themselves on a reef at Cargados Carajos Shoals in the middle of the Indian Ocean during the stage from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi on November 29, 2014. The crew was forced to abandon the boat. They are attempting a re-build and will try to re-join the Fleet somewhere along the way.
So, that leaves 6 still sailing.

And now onto the Southern Ocean, and the rounding of Cape Horn… hopefully a safe journey for all. The facts remain, it is not safe, but rounding the Horn is something these sailors are driven to achieve & they are some of the best sailors and racers our planet has ever seen, and known and yes, some are very new to this sport, but keen they are, and on they sail!

On the Departure/Start of Leg 5, I almost found myself without a ride on any media boat, to capture photos from my POV. To explain, on the pre planned Departure date of Sunday, there were plenty of Media Boats available, but now 3 days later, due to the delay of waiting out Cyclone Pam, all the Media boats were no where to be found, well a few, but what I found unfolding was most extraordinary… each & every seat on the Team & Media RIBS were all taken by others ahead of me, right down to the very last seat on a Media RIB, by a person I had met just 2 weeks before the Arrivals into Auckland of the Fleet… he was standing outside of the newly erected fence at the Media Centre, with a camera hanging off his shoulder strap, and we began talking. He was set to leave this country before the Arrivals, yet I suppose he liked the sounds of what I was to tell him about the Volvo Ocean Race, because he stayed & he managed to receive his VOR accreditation as a photographer, and he had the last seat, on the wharf that day! Interesting position I found myself in, so, what to do? I didn’t come to see the RIBS that day, I came to photograph the Departure of Leg 5! So, I turned my keen eyes behind me, scanning carefully, & I spotted my ride… I saw a RIB coming out from under the bridge, at the Viaduct, with only 2 people on it. I grabbed my gear, headed out to the end of one of the other pontoons, waved and stuck out my thumb… I’ve never hitch hiked on the sea!
~On that note, I used to be a pilot, years back, and departing a southern California airstrip, without a control tower, in a Merlin III that I used to fly, my co-pilot & I spotted a girl who suddenly came running out, to the edge of the runway, & she stuck her thumb out… hitchhiking!
Why not, we laughed, pulled the throttles back, stopped and she got her ride that day! :)
Anyways, back to Auckland… here I am, on the end of the pontoon, waving & hitchhiking, and they spotted me! Trust me, you should try it, you never know who you’ll meet next in this lifetime! :) :)
I must have looked like I sort of fit in, but somehow left out. They asked me if I needed a lift, I said I sure do, I said I needed to get out to photograph and all the media RIBS had left, they said hop on! What a gift… it was Grant Dalton, Emirates Team NZ Manager & Kevin Shoebridge, Chief Operating Officer of Emirates Team NZ, and they are 7 & 5 x ‘Round The World’ veterans. I was in good hands & it was the ride of this Event for me! Thank you guys!

And with that, thank you Volvo Ocean Race Media, all you magnificent Teams, and those of you I met during this Auckland Stop Over, & those of you I met whom have sailed some of the Round The World races, amazing the lot of you. Thank you!

Now enough of me, I’m back with my best friend & partner Meg, who is happy the race has left town, so we can get back to wagging our tails, on all the trails we find before us.

Best way to follow this race, if you are not sailing it:
The Volvo Ocean Race 2014 – 2105
and if you’re on Facebook, we are HERE, with lots of updates & tales of the sea and all we see too!

Itajaí is next, best wishes to you all throughout this passage!

036 (2)Leg 5, of the Volvo Ocean Race, Auckland to Itajaí, is now set to Start at 9AM, NZ Time, Wednesday morning (8PM UTC 17 Mar), after waiting out Pam, a Category 5 Cyclone that hit hard north of NZ, & brought strong winds, heavy rain & big waves down upon our NZ shores. After much consideration, Race Officials & Team Skippers all agreed it was best to delay the start, so now it’s time to go, 2 mornings from now!

There’s some new pics posted on my Photography site, of the Auckland Stop Over & more will be posted after the Start of Leg 5, in the meantime, I hope you enjoy…
Douglas Hannay Photography and on my Facebook pages too. See you soon!
227 (2)

Meg & I & the Volvo Ocean Race Cup, riding high with Team AlvimedicaThe Volvo Ocean Race arrived, late at night,
28 Feb 2015, into Auckland, completing
Leg 4 of the Round The World Race.
1st Across the Line MAPFE,
2nd Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing,
3rdr Dongfeng Race Team, 4th Alvimedica & that was it for me for the night!
Then came Team Brunel & Team SCA.
Auckland awoke to 6 beautiful boats, the Fleet of the Volvo Ocean Race had arrived in Auckland.

I can say, 6 of the 7 Teams are still sailing…
Team Vestas Wind is still trying to get their boat fixed, after finding, late one night that there simply just wasn’t enough water left underneath their bow to keep sailing.
It happened, on a reef, a ways back, but all are safe, so I’d just like to say, to any of you at the Teams reading this…
You are all so amazing to have come this far!
Congratulations everyone!

… and Team SCA, DaMeggie Oe has an idea for you… she could make an excellent Tactician for you… in spirit only of course! She’s sticking around here with me.
Megs selfie with SCA … and and Team SCA, thanks for the cool selfies, we’re having a ball!
004 (2) Get ready Auckland…
Practice races are on Thurs 12 Mar & Frid/13th, then on Sat/14th it’s the In-Port Race!
UPDATE… Departure date has been moved to the earliest of Monday 16th March due to a storm north of NZ… the departure & Start of Leg 5, Auckland to Itajaí, Brazil

The Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015,
Round The World, Leg 4, Sanya to Auckland, 7 of the world’s fastest monhulls, one found
Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 12.56.36 pmitself high & dry on top of a reef, I say there just wasn’t enough water underneath at the moment of impact :) , their Skipper says they ran aground, it all leaves 6 yachts racing and the Fleet is coming to town… Auckland bound!

ETA for the first yachts across the Line into Auckland is 28 Feb 2015.
Right now, the leaders are… well, that’s a tough one, it’s been the first 5 since Sanya, all vying for the lead & taking turns out front, during this
Leg 4 to Auckland, and at the time of writing this, Dongfeng Race Team is once again
in the lead by 5.3nm and with 1484nm to go,
… DTF (distance to finish), anything can, and
as many of you know… will happen!

This is the Volvo Ocean Race Dashboard and it has a LIVE tracker, an ETA log for the first arrivals, a Glossary showing the distance between the boats, their speed, wind, DTF and all sorts of wonderful information, as a matter of fact, this is the best website I’ve ever seen on trying to follow race sailing postions ever! Hats off to those who created it :)

So, for now and continuing Updates, as they happen, the Volvo Ocean Race website is the place to be… and my :) Facebook :) pages for frequent NZ Time updates, when you simply cannot figure out, any more than me, or is it I… what time UTC is !

Oh, by the way, the next leg is Leg 5, Auckland to Itajaí,
& it begins 15 March, to Brazil! The VOR Brazil day in Auckland is for sure a sight to see!
Brazil Day at the VOR 2011 - 2012 in Auckland

Leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race is underway, as the Fleet bid farewell to Sanya, it’s Auckland bound here they come. Expected arrivals into Auckland… approx 21-25 days if all goes well.

Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean Race, Abu Dhabi to Sanya, China
Congratulations Dongfeng Race Team, 1st across the line into Sanya, 27 Jan 2015,
you’ve made your country mighty proud and the world’s sailing community is watching!

Next racing begins…
Saturday, 7 Feb 2015, at 7PM NZ time with the In-Port Race in Sanya
& the beginning of Leg 4… Sanya to Auckland begins Sunday, 8 Feb 2015 at 7PM NZ time!

DaMeggie Oe & I
Parking by the Sea

Absolutely, we’re still here, Meg & I snapping as we go, me snapping on the camera & Meg’s new little snap & snarl when others try barking at her… she’s an excellent judge of character.
Anyways, we made it to 2015, it’s now time to lead, follow or get your load out of the way,
because we have some snappin to do!

So, 2015, go figure…
Summer is here, we’re now in the mid 20°+C daily.

Coming up here in Auckland, at the end of February and into March, we have the
Volvo Ocean Race fleet coming into port.
Right now, as of 11 Jan 2015, today, the fleet are en route to Sanya in China, and if the order does not change for the leaders as they are sailing, it will be a major victory for the
Dongfeng Race Team & for sure we’ll never hear the end of this…
Made In China!

Suppose you’ve noticed I am a big fan of the Volvo Ocean Race

… yes/no, well there’s still 3100nm to go on
Leg 3, so anything can happen between now & then, those are some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, & then there’s pirates, fishermen & fishing nets, drifting debris and who knows what else lurks in those seas waiting for them next!

Of the 7 teams that started in Alicante, six teams are still sailing after…
Team Vesta Wind, back on 29 Nov 2014, sailed right onto the St. Brandons Atol in the dark of the night, a reef… oops! It’s still negotiable if the team ran aground, or whether there just wasn’t enough water under the yacht, just the same, they ended up very high & dry & very damaged and it’s still to be determined if they will be able to repair & rejoin the fleet. Anything can happen out there & it is and it’s all part of the Volvo Ocean Race!

Anyways, for now, it’s snappin & steady as we go, and if you see us strolling along
the way, stop us and say Hi,
& for sure we’ll have a smile for you too :)

… dedicated to, my very much still alive, oldest friend… M :) :)