Team Sanya Takes Third in Qualifying Race
Team Sanya, the Irish–Chinese entry in the 2011/12 Volvo Ocean Race, took a third place podium position in the Volvo Ocean Race qualifying race in Alicante Spain, behind Team Telefonica in first place and Puma Ocean Race Team in second place.
This qualifier race, which will not see any points awarded, was intended to act as a ‘dry run’ for the teams and Volvo Ocean Race organization to test safety procedures ahead of the 39,000 nautical mile Volvo Ocean Race, which starts with the Alicante in-port race on October 29th.
The teams experienced the full range of conditions on this short 350 mile trip, from light winds to start with, thunderstorms and 30 knot gusts during the night, to near total becalming towards the end of the race.
Team Sanya, navigated by Aksel Magdahl, took the southerly route around Ibiza on the return leg back to Alicante and was rewarded the best of the breeze, along with Telefonica and Puma. Camper, Groupama and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing opted for the northern route and suffered from the lack of wind, dropping back despite all of them having been in the lead of the race at some stage.
Telefonica, skippered by Olympic Gold medalist Iker Martinez, crossed the line at 05.45.24 UTC, Puma at 06.48.54 UTC and Team Sanya at 09.15, Camper and Groupama are yet to finish as we issue this report.
Cameron Dunn, Watch Captain on Team Sanya, commented on the highs and lows of this qualifier race,
"We are very pleased with this result, it was a tough and long race with not much sleep for any of us. We made a few errors tactically to start with and then got a few calls right later on but that’s all part of the learning curve. It was strange to race without Mike (Sanderson) on board but actually very good for the team and we learnt a lot – we probably made a few more mistakes that we would have made if he had been there, but that’s all part of the experience. A good result for Team Sanya."
Aksel Magdahl, Navigator on Team Sanya, explained the tactical challenges as a navigator during the race,
"There was certainly plenty of action and we had every type of condition thrown at us, just like a mini Volvo leg all in 36 hours! We had to make a call on which side to pass the Island of Ibiza and lost out on the way up, initially we gained but then we lost out. We then had a big thunderstorm, massive 30 knot squall and huge shifts so we had a bit of sorting out to do after that, but got going again. The choice to go south of Ibiza on the way back was the right one for sure, we could see the boats to the North parked up and headed south to benefit from better breeze. It was a great experience to do this race, good to shift from practice to race mode."
Finally, Tiger (Teng Jiang He) Grinder/Trimmer, added his views on this qualifier race,
" A very tough race with little sleep. We started with an upwind leg where we must have done around 100 tacks so it was tiring, we had some losses but then overtook Groupama and pushed on forward. The windy night challenged us again with a lot of action on board and finally we finished in no wind. Very exciting and great to be racing."
The Team Sanya race boat is lifted out of the water today, for four days of official measurement ashore.
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