Saturday, October 11, 2014


Hi Paulo - I somewhat agree with you that the VOR has lost its original top rank status, but I don't think it was possible, in current global economic conditions, to go on as before. Also, in recent editions of the race, the fragility of the boats negatively impacted the actual racing, in my opinion. Yes, steps could have been taken similar to IMOCA to promote stronger builds, but the time and materials costs of developing new boats from scratch were getting increasingly untenable for sponsors. So far, the Farr VOR 65s appear to be a good compromise, particularly after the RB&I race, which tested the strength of the boats to the extreme.

Though few of the big names of ocean racing have showed up this time, there are still some outstanding sailors taking part. More importantly, though, from a marketing perspective, there is a lot for general audiences and sponsors to like about this edition. The presence of the all-women SCA team is terrific for the sport, and while I still think they have no chance of winning, they will not be last and will provide encouragement to girls and young women to pursue their own sailing dreams.

Having the Chinese Dongfeng program is a huge boost for sailing in China, which I think is crucial for the future health of our sport. I've seen numerous videos profiling the Chinese sailors, and they all appear to be wonderful ambassadors for the sport and for China. Dongfeng is getting their money's worth with this sponsorship.

Ian Walker and Abu Dhabi Racing once again represent the Middle East, at a time when this sort of positive imagey is sorely needed. Without getting into the darker side of Abu Dhabi politics, it's nevertheless a good thing, in my opinion, to have them funding competitive sailing programs, including the VOR. There's also a good human interest angle, as Walker makes his third attempt to win, following the disappointments of the two previous campaigns.

Ditto for Team Alvimedica, the young "upstarts". This makes for good stories and media images. Plus, it's not as if these guys aren't accomplished sailors in their own right. They will suprise people I predict.

Representing the "old school" we have some serious talent: Bouwe Bekking, Chris Nicholson, and Iker Martinez (assisted by The Professor, Michel Desjoyeux), and a mix of the familiar (Brunel, Mapfre) and new (Vestas) sponsors. Lots of grey hairs on these boats, with thousands of miles of ocean racing experience. ADOR, Brunel and Mapfre will be the early favorites, but I think the racing will be very close among the top 5 teams.

While I personally will miss the drama of the Southern Oceann legs of old, ask any of the sailors from the EF Language and Illbruck programs and they will tell you that they were frequently terrified, plunging through the darkness in big breeze and monstrous seas, with ice bergs and growlers lurking all around. I don't think we want to go back to that. And while the "rally" style of the current edition leaves something to be desired, I think it works from a marketing perspective, giving more people the opportunity to experience the race up close and personal, and providing more significant return on investment to sponsors (which is a necessary part of racing at this level).

I confess that I didn't really follow the race that much the last two editions, but I find myself quite excited and interested this time around (just watched the start from Alicante live this morning). Many compromises were made but, unlike the Americas Cup, I believe this edition of the VOR will contribute a great deal to further popularizing the sport what we love. Indeed, I can't even pick a favorite to cheer for, because I find much to like about all the teams. But if I'm forced to get behind just one, I would probably choose... oh, I just can't do it. Sorry! :)

Having said that, nothing will replace the Vendée Globe or Mini Transat for sheer racing excitement, as far as I'm concerned. :)

Hi! I have followed all the VOR, I had saw the start of one and saw some in port races, but even if Alicante is not far away I had no desire to be there to see the start or the in port race. For me it has just become another race, not anymore the one where the best boat designers, the best skippers were competing for the victory on one of the longest and hardest sail races.

..But I will be at the start of Route du Rhum, where many of the best skippers and fastest boats are ;-).

I am pissed to see a great race, the F1 of crewed ocean racing, to be downgraded to a race that is still interesting but that is not the top anymore. To be the top you just need to have the best NA and the best skippers competing for victory. It is not happening anymore. On this one you can even see a green team of average professionals winning the first in port race. Unthinkable if this was really a top event. Anyway I hope you will get some good images from it and some good competition. 

The start:

The tracker to follow the race is here:

The Spanish team is leading and i will bet that Iker Martinez will won this race. The Basque is the only one of the big ones left. I mean he is kind of small near some of the ones that are not racing here but the only real competition it will come from Ian walker, but Iker is better, or at least is my opinion right now, Maybe facts will make me change of opinion ;-)