VOR: Boots or Shoes, Rugby or Football

Published on February 13th, 2015

(February 13, 2015; Day 6) – The procession of the Volvo Ocean Race continues east, with the prospects of the high road and low road remaining unclear. Rather than discuss the race, today we will let the American onboard reporters share the issues that exist inside the race…

Amory Ross OBR, Team Alvimedica
Shoes or boots, boots or shoes. Tough call, but when your hardest decision concerns a choice of footwear you know it’s a very good day.

It is wet enough to contemplate boots and wet means fast. It’s warm enough to consider shoes and warm is, well, awesome. Fast, wet, and warm is pretty darn ideal, particularly when the forecast for the next four or five days consistently shows the same 15-20 knots of fast sailing.

In another boon for morale the compass finally reads south of east. We’re still north of Sanya and heading about 100 degrees, not exactly diving to the equator, but it’s a start and it means we can finally settle in to the offshore mentality.

The day’s schedule becomes habitual and there are fewer variables to ponder, leaving the tough choices to things like shoes or boots. I’d say the guys are half shoes/half boots, depending on whether you’re at the wheel or on the bow.

I adopt the it-only-rains-when-you-leave-the-jacket-at-home ethos, so I’ll err on the side of carelessness and grab the shoes. That way I know the wetness will continue, maybe even intensify. Decision made: I choose miserably soaked and fast!


Matt Knighton OBR, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Life onboard Azzam is starting to look normal again – if normal is reaching at 17 knots of boat speed in 20 knots of wind in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Watches are changing with frequency, meals are regularly being inhaled, and of course, the rugby rivalries have flared up once again. What would you expect putting 2 Aussies and a Kiwi within the same 30 feet of each other for 3 weeks during the Super 15 Rugby Series.

As scores begin to come in, there’s an alarming frequency at which they all check the computers. Navigation and routing has taken a back seat. Parko and Daryl – both rugby veterans – were explaining the Series to the rest of us in during a watch change.

“It’s a pretty big deal”, said Daryl. “It’s the Southern Hemisphere Rugby version of the NFL.”

Asking Daryl what he’d say if Parko’s Western Force or Reds started beating on his Crusaders, he casually replied, “Well I’d just ask him how many Super 15 titles they’d won?” Quick the punch, in the background Parko quipped, “Who won last year Daryl? Oh yeah…not the Crusaders.”

If there’s one thing they both agree on, it’s that Rugby is a better sport than American Football could ever be. Great, a long 3 weeks this will be.

“You don’t have 2 teams that switch every 5 minutes”, said Parko. “Once you go off you can’t come back on so you’re playing for the whole 80 minutes!”

In the midst of our reaching battle east to get the best angle towards Auckland, a professional rugby team might pray this sport only lasted for 80 minutes. The bruising, on the other hand, they might already be used to.

Leg 4 (5,264 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 4150.7 nm Distance to Finish
2. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 6.8 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 8.8 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 13.2 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 71.8 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 101.4 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

Race websiteTrackingScoreboardVideos


Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on Oct. 11 with the final finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, seven teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition – the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series. The fourth leg, from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand (5,264 nm), began Feb. 8 with an ETA of Mar. 1-5.

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