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Volvo ocean race in-port racing

April 22, 2012

I’m amazed at the saga of the in-port racing. Are they really trying to make amateur evening sailors like me feel better? The mistakes they keep coming up with are quite something. Last night’s when Telefonica turned downwind at the wrong mark was probably the best yet. You put the best 60 sailors on the water and what do you see? The best one taking the wrong turn and stuffing up a winning position. I know I’m not the best sailor around, but even I have not made that mistake.

I’ve heard a few excuses. Mainly from the drole commentary that we are subjected to. Come on, did you not even know what the course was until the VOR organiser pointed out the mistake? Even when it happened, did you not have more to say? I’ve sailed a few short handed races. Real short handed races when you only have 2 or 3 on board. Not this pretence that 10 crew is a short handed crew. Maybe the boat is not set up for doing short courses, but that is very different from the boat being short handed. They always knew that there would be a limited number of sailors on board. There is a big difference between a boat being difficult to sail and a boat being short of crew. So please give that one up.

On real short handed races, then turning corners is a challenge that doesn’t always go well, but that means that you pay even more attention to the course, as you need to plan ahead more. Limited crew is no excuse for taking the wrong mark.

They have been showing quite a few other mistakes that I have made, such as catching the lazy sheet on obstructions on the boat, dropping the kite in the water, bad tacks, bad gybes, bad starts. It does make the race more interesting, but I’m not convinced that it improves the spectacle.

Add to that how short the in-port race is, and how tied they are to TV coverage, it really is a bit of a joke. Why award so many points to these wee runs in the harbour? It is like having a 5 metre sprint ahead of a marathon but saying it is worth 20%. I hope that the winner of the VOR is not decided on these races. To say that 1 hour is worth as much as a week at sea is nonsense.

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From → The Sea

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