The team sailing ABN AMRO One continued their winning ways during the Cape Town in-port race today, taking first place (and 3.5 points in the overall competition) to cement their position atop the Volvo Ocean Race fleet. Strong winds (up to 40 knots) and flat water in the lee of Table Mountain worked well for the boat, which extended its lead at each mark of the course. Details from the official VOR site: Tables turned.
Other excitement during the race included ABN AMRO Two running aground on the first leg (but holding on to finish third), and spectacular wipeouts during gypes by Pirates of the Caribbean and movistar (the latter while en route to a second-place finish).
I remember when I was 16 or so, going out on Victoria for the start of a buoy race in LA Harbor with the wind gusting to 40 knots. I was working the foredeck, and I can remember realizing just how difficult it was going to be to hoist the blade jib with the wind blowing that hard. Intellectually, I knew that the force of the wind in a sail increases as the square of the wind’s velocity, such that a 40-knot wind is not twice, but four times, as powerful as a 20-knot wind. But knowing it intellectually and experiencing it firsthand were two different things.
That race ended up being cancelled due to the rough conditions, and I confess to being relieved at the time. Wind that strong was more than I really wanted to race in, and I give credit to the crews of the Volvo Open 70s that competed today. At the same time, 40 knots in flat water is one thing. Sixty knots or more in the huge seas of the Southern Ocean, which is what these teams may be facing shortly, is something else again.
Photo: That’s ABN AMRO One during today’s race, courtesy the ABN AMRO web site.