Archive for May, 2006

movistar Abandoned, ABN Amro One Wins Portsmouth Leg

Posted by John Callender on May 21st, 2006 at 8:58 am

This morning the captain of Volvo Ocean Race entry movistar, after a night spent fighting severe leaking from the failure of one of the pivot points of the Spanish entry’s canting keel, chose to abandon ship. movistar was about 300 miles from the race’s finish line in Portsmouth, England, at the time. Lots of interesting detail is available from the official VOR site: movistar abandons ship.

The boat’s ten crewmembers transferred via liferaft to ABN Amro Two, which had turned back to assist movistar and had been standing by throughout the night. The transfer was made during relatively light winds as the eye of a northern storm passed over them, but one of the main factors in movistar skipper Bouwe Bekking’s decision to abandon the vessel was the forecast for winds gusting to 50 knots. “Ten lives at stake, with a similar number of families, the right call,” Bekking said in an interview from ABN Amro Two.

movistar is currently adrift, with a radio beacon transmitting the boat’s position.

In other VOR news, most of the boats have reached Portsmouth, ending the last long-distance leg of the race. Unsurprisingly, this leg was won by the overall race leader, ABN Amro One. Two shorter races remain.

Photo: A shot of movistar taken before the beginning of the VOR, by Sally Collison /

The Irving Johnson To Be Re-commissioned Today

Posted by John Callender on May 20th, 2006 at 4:01 am

More than a year after the brig Irving Johnson went aground just south of the entrance to Channel Islands Harbor, the ship is set to be officially re-commissioned today at Berth 78 in Ports O’ Call Village, San Pedro. The ceremony, which is open to the public, is scheduled to begin at 11:00 a.m.

A good article about the ongoing restoration work appeared last month in San Diego’s The Log: Irving Johnson repairs continue. And a nice piece about the re-commissioning was in yesterday’s Daily Breeze newspaper: Wounded ship ready for sea.

Photo: The Irving Johnson before the grounding, from BusinessWire.

The Death of Hans Horrevoets

Posted by John Callender on May 20th, 2006 at 3:40 am

In all my talk about the risks faced by crews in the Volvo Ocean Race, I always focused on the dangers of the Southern Ocean. But as we all know, any stretch of ocean can be deadly. Early Thursday morning, as the VOR fleet crossed the North Atlantic in the last long-distance leg of the race, Hans Horrevoets, a 32-year-old crewmember on ABN Amro Two, was swept overboard by a wave and drowned.

From the ABN Amro site’s official announcement:

ABN AMRO TWO was sailing downwind in 25 – 30 knots of wind under main, fractional spinnaker and staysail. Seb Josse, Skipper of ABN AMRO TWO was at the helm, Hans, 32 of the Netherlands was trimming the spinnaker sheet, Nick Bice, Andrew Lewis and Lucas Brun were also on deck. The boat nosedived down a wave and water came washing back down the deck, when the water cleared Hans was no longer on deck.

ABN AMRO TWO Navigator Simon Fisher explained the incident, “Immediately Seb hailed a ‘man overboard’ and we initiated man overboard procedures and we put in place the GPS positioning. The boat immediately turned around and began to search for him, meanwhile raising the alarm on shore. After Hans was found he was lifted back on board and the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth, UK was notified that we had a major medical emergency and to stand by. Unfortunaly our attempts to resuscitate him were not successful.”

ABN AMRO TWO Skipper Sebastien Josse said, “We are all devastated by the events that took place this morning and all our thoughts are for Hans’ family. Throughout the whole MOB (man overboard) procedure the whole crew handled themselves calmly, professionally and with the utmost maturity. It is with deep regret that we were unable to resuscitate Hans.”

ABN Amro Two, in happier days:

Photos: Hans Horrevoets, from the official Team ABN Amro site. And ABN Amro Two, courtesy of Sally Collison /

NOAA Wind Data Interrupted

Posted by John Callender on May 14th, 2006 at 7:15 am

NOAA weather buoy

I’m not sure why, but the NOAA weather buoy data that I display on SoCalSail’s Current wind observations page stopped updating at 3:00 a.m. local time today. It looks like it’s a problem at NOAA’s end; hopefully they’ll have it straightened out shortly.

Update: Which it looks like they did, since things are working again as of the next day. Hooray!

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