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Ireland’s Sailor of the month for October, Damian Foxall talks (play podcast below) about Sunday's start of the Volvo Ocean Race 6,000–mile leg two to Capetown. From the deck of Vestas 11th Hour Racing, he tells about crew 'shenanigans' aboard the VOR 65s and admits Dong Feng and Mapfre are two very serious competitors in a one design fleet where the gains between boats are very small. Ireland's high seas superstar also admits the fleet is waiting with 'bated breath' for news of the new race CEO.

VOR 65sVOR Teams that established themselves early with solid crews have already shown they have an advantage. According to Foxall, Dong Feng and Mapfre are two very serious competitors Photo: VOR

Foxall recalls last month's leg one win and sets out the clear objectives of Vestas 11th hour racing that includes so much more than just winning his second VOR title. Endorsing the VOR's marine debris campaign, the County Kerry offshore racer maintain's that it is 'unacceptable' for any sailing event to be using single use plastic bottles. There's news too about why marine clothing firm Musto has reduced its product packaging by 80% and who to call if you hit a whale...

Finally, Foxall has advice for Nin O'Leary, Annalise Murphy and all the other up and coming Irish offshore racers keen to follow in his wake...and why, as Foxall maintains, Ireland has not yet realised its great marine resource potential.

Listen in to the podcast below...

Damian Foxall Fact file

Date of birth: 7 March 1969

In: County Kerry, Ireland

Legs sailed in this edition: Leg 1

There’s not much that five-time Volvo Ocean Race veteran and passionate ocean conservationist Damian Foxall hasn’t done when it comes to sailing. He won the Volvo Ocean Race as part of Groupama in 2011-12, set a round-the-world speed record onboard G-Class catamaran Cheyenne, and took victory in the two-handed Barcelona World Race in 2008, adding all that to his record as the first ever non-French entry to grab a leg win at the Solitaire du Figaro in 1997. Now, he returns to the toughest test of a team in professional sport looking to lift the trophy for a second time.

Previous Volvo Ocean Races:
2014-15 Dongfeng Race Team
2011-12 Groupama sailing team
2008-09 Green Dragon
2005-06 Ericsson
2001-02 Tyco

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” process in October is normally self-selecting, as the Senior and Junior awards go to the new Irish Sailing All-Ireland Champions. But when Fionn Lyden of Baltimore demonstrated at Mullingar in 2017’s Championship of Champions on Lough Owel that he was well able to transfer his skills in the Laser and Olympic Finn to the venerable GP 14, it provided the adjudicators with a new choice option, as he was already August’s Sailor of the Month for winning Bronze at the U23 Finn Worlds in Hungary, and the All-Ireland title simply added to his laurels.

Happily, in some very neat choreography, the final weekend of October brought forth a star of equal status. Going into the first leg of the seven-boat Volvo Ocean Race from Alicante to Lisbon starting October 22nd, Vestas 11th Hour Racing was far from being rated the favourite. But from an early stage she steadily increased her lead in such a convincing style that it wouldn’t be fair to say who had in fact been the pre-race favourites. Even a mixture of local windlessness and an adverse tide approaching the finish line still left Vestas with a clear lead of more than two hours. And a key role in all this was played by Ireland’s own high seas superstar Damian Foxall, our “Sailor of the Month (Senior)” for October.

Listen to the Damian Foxall podcast from Lisbon here

Published in Sailor of the Month

As Afloat.ie reported, Irish sailor Damian Foxall and the Vestas 11th Hour Racing crossed the finish line in Lisbon at 1408 UTC ahead of their competitors by a few hours earning 8 points and are now the leaders of the Volvo Ocean Race. They led the 7-day race since the first night staying ahead of the other seven boats through the Strait of Gibraltar, around the island of Porto Santo, and north to Lisbon via a virtual waypoint added by the Race Committee mid-leg.

“Can’t argue with the results,” said skipper, Charlie Enright upon finishing in Lisbon. “For us, it has always been the process and improving every day. We prioritized getting the right people and this provides us with a lot of confidence. I can’t say enough about the squad on the boat and the ones on the shore.”

“To kick it off this way is a strong sentiment to the team,” added Team Director and Co-Founder, Mark Towill. “We have a long way to go for sure, and this is a great way to start the event.”

This is technically back-to-back ocean leg wins for the American duo, Enright and Towill. The pair along with their fellow US sailor, Nick Dana, won the final leg of the last edition onboard Team Alvimedica. This is the first leg win for Vestas, and for a Danish flagged boat in the history of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The team is now in Lisbon for one week participating in outreach events with the local community, an In-Port Race, Pro-Am racing, and preparing for the 7000-mile leg to Cape Town, South Africa that starts on November 6th.

vestas tagusAfter frustration by light airs and an ebbing tide, Vestas 11th Hour Racing finally gets the power to carry her to the finish line at Lisbon, and victory in Leg 1. Photo: John Duggan

The Race to Win
Vestas 11th Hour Racing led for the majority of the 1650 nm course that took the seven teams from Alicante, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal.

"We had a good leg. And that’s due to the strong shore team preparation with Chris Bedford, our meteorologist, Anderson Reggio for navigation support, and Vestas’ meteorology team. We had a plan and could be proactive instead of reactive," said Simon Fisher (SiFi), winner of the last Volvo Ocean Race as navigator.

The first night the crew took a risk by sailing close to the shoreline of southern Spain hoping for wind coming off the mountains not seen on weather forecasts. The gamble paid off as they were the first in and out of the Strait of Gibraltar, an area known for high winds, shipping traffic, and a narrow path for maneuvers.

According to SiFi, "we then got fired out of Gibraltar at 30 knots. We saw as high as 35 knots and we gybed back and forth quite a few times to stay in the pressure which is definitely exhausting for the team."

By Day 2, the sailors extended their lead 25 miles from the second place boat, but it was short-lived as it shrank to 6 miles in just a few hours, as they were the first to sail into a lighter pressure system.

"We had good scheds and bad scheds," said Charlie Enright, referring the position reports delivered to the team every six hours. "It's frustrating to see the others take a bite out of your lead."

The vexations started to wane as the crew rounded the island of Porto Santo still in the lead, and a downwind drag race ensued north to a virtual mark 250nm away. The race committee added the mark after Day 2 to extend the course to align with the intention of a 7-day leg.

After turning the virtual mark, the team continued to extend attributing their speed to the sail choice and crew work. While all the teams have the same sails onboard, it is up to the individual crews to decide which of the seven headsails are the optimal combination for varying conditions.

"We are fortunate enough to have a well-rounded crew who can jump into any position on the boat, whether that is driving, grinding, or trimming," said Team Director, Mark Towill. "That allows everyone to stay fresh and execute our navigation plan." 

"We are not talking about the finish onboard yet," said young Australian sailor, Tom Johnson just 24 hours before the finish. "No one is taking a back seat, we are just all doing our job."

The last 24 hours were tough as the crew faced shifting light winds, a traffic separation scheme that limited their navigation, and 4 miles of upwind sailing in a narrow river to the finish, but in the end the crew recognizes this is only beginning of a longer race that will take them around the world over the next 9 months.

Vestas lisbonTeam Vestas celebrate leg one victory, Damian Foxall is fourth from right Photo: Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race

Life Onboard
The first leg of the race was an exhausting all-out sprint for the team. Executing multiple maneuvers in the initial 36 hours means there little sleep for the crew. Then in the light air, the monotony of waiting for wind is a mental game the teams must push through to be ready for the next situation.

When not keeping the boat going fast, preparing food, washing dishes, and maintenance are tasks the sailors share onboard. Fresh food only lasts for the first few days; then they switch to freeze-dried meals. The crew partook in Meatless Monday, an international campaign to reduce the impact the meat industry has on the environment on the first day out at sea. "We are enjoying Mediterranean veggie pasta," said Mark Towill, "it is one simple way of lowering our carbon footprint and is part of our commitment to sustainability."

The boat also had to overcome a few systems failures onboard during the leg. A broken water pump the first day left the crew without fresh water until boat captain, Nick Dana, was able to fix the issue. He explains, "it's not like we can go out and get a new one, everything must be fixed onboard, but that's the Volvo Ocean Race." Repair and reuse is another key element of sustainable living.

Then on the evening of Day 4, skipper Charlie Enright, felt the performance of the boat "just wasn't right" so he went below only to discover a disconnected water ballast hose filled the yacht with 800 liters of water. The crew bailed the water and repaired the hose, luckily, not losing too much speed in the process.

It’s not all work onboard a Volvo Ocean 65. On the morning of Day 6, race rookie and British sailor, Hannah Diamond took a moment to soak it all in: "It's been a really nice sunrise and had a couple of pods of dolphins come past, so couldn't ask for more really."

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The favourable east to southeast winds which carried the seven Volvo Ocean Race 2017-2018 contenders so positively through the Straits of Gibralter and into the Atlantic are already a fading memory writes W M Nixon.

The leaders – with Vestas 11th Hour Racing still the pathfinder, and Damian Foxall in a senior crew role - are dealing this morning with the here-and-now of light headwinds, and a large area of calm which is threateningly near to their track southwestwards to the first turn at the island of Porto Santo in the Madeira group.

After that, they can head northeast to the finish of Leg 1 at Lisbon, by which time 1,450 miles will seem much longer than most crew had anticipated. Vestas’ closest challenger is the pre-race favourite Mapfre, but her challenge comes from far away as she tacks westward some distance to the northwest, with the boat actually closest on the water to the leader being AkzoNobel.

The other four boats, including Turn the Tide on Plastic with Annalise Murphy on board, are in a closely-backed group northeast of Vestas, all making between 9.5 and 10.5 knots. In her weekly diary in the Irish Times this morning, Annalise reports on her relief in finding she hasn’t been affected by seasickness, her joy in achieving even two hours of uninterrupted sleep, and the fascination of racing so closely with the other three boats nearby, thereby greatly speeding her growing awareness of what gives a Volvo Ocean 65 an extra knot or two of vital speed.

And of course she alludes to that crazy start sequence on Sunday which we featured here on Afloat.ie, when a fleet of racing boats which have cost tens of millions of Euros to build, tune and crew, found themselves making their start through a spectator fleet of mini-liners which seemed determined to risk everything by closing vital gaps in order to give their paying passengers an even more intimate view of the proceedings.

Race tracker here

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

The Charlie Enright-skippered Vestas 11th Hour Racing, with Ireland’s Damian Foxall in a senior crew role, continues to lead the Volvo Ocean Race as the fleet runs into the Atlantic towards the turn at Porto Santo off Madeira in the 1450-mile Leg 1 from Alicante to Lisbon writes W M Nixon.

West of the Straits of Gibraltar, they’ve held over towards the Spanish and southern Portuguese side, as the east winds are lighter along the African coast. Pre-race favourite Mapfre, which had a frustrating time in the Mediterranean, is now back in the hunt, and looks to be lying second overall.

Annalise VORAnnalise Murphy onboard Turn the Tide on Plastic shortly after the start Photo: Theo Lyttle

Annalise Murphy on Turn the Tide on Plastic is currently vying for fourth place with Dongfeng, Team Brunei, and Team Sung Hung Kai/Scallywag, while in third place is AkzoNobel.

Under present conditions, the second stage of Leg 1 from Porto Santo to Lisbon will be a tricky proposition, as winds are mostly light northeaster, though with the usual localised blast of easterly breeze coming through the Straits of Gibraltar.

Race tracker here

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

After their first night at sea, the seven boats in the Volvo Ocean Race are approaching the Straits of Gibraltar with Vestas 11th Hour Racing narrowly in the lead writes W M Nixon.

As a senior member of her crew is Ireland’s Damian Foxall, this rings bells at home. At the moment, however, our other star world racer, Annalise Murphy in Turn the Tide on Plastic, is towards the back, but it’s still a fairly close-packed fleet.

The Volvo Ocean 65s are in a rising easterly wind that will become a full-blown Levanter as they go through the Straits, and the course then takes a slight curve to port to carry them out to the island of Port Santo in the Madeira group. This provides the turning point to ensure they sail the required 1450 miles in the first leg to Lisbon in Portugal.

Race tracker here

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#VOR - With the clock ticking to the start of the 2017–18 Volvo Ocean Race as the race village opens in Alicante later today (Wednesday 11 October), it’s time to take a closer look at the significant Irish presence in the world’s most challenging yacht race, as recently noted by our own WM Nixon.

The biggest name beyond sailing circles is surely Annalise Murphy, the hero of Rio 2016 who is swapping her Laser Radial for an entirely different challenge with the crew of Turn the Tide on Plastic, skippered by women’s offshore sailing pioneer Dee Caffari.

The Dubliner and National Yacht Club stalwart caused some concern over the summer when a knee injury sustained in the Moth Worlds forced her to pull out of the World Championships in her primary class.

But that break from competition might have been just what Annalise needed to get herself back into fighting fitness — not to mention prepared for a round-the-globe voyage that’s a world apart from her Tokyo 2020 ambitions.

The other big name among the VOR 65 crews is Damian Foxall, who returns for his sixth Volvo Ocean Race — this time with Vestas 11th Hour Racing, the former Team Vestas Wind (whose senior project manager happens to be Madrid-based Irishman Thomas John McMaw).

What’s more, the Kerry offshore legend heads a strong contingent from The Kingdom in this latest VOR, with Brian Carlin leading the team of on-board reporters and marine biologist Lucy Hunt in charge of the race’s sustainability education programme.

Other Irish names of note behind the scenes include Bill O’Hara, a former Northern Irish Olympian and race officer in charge of the VOR’s 2012 climax in Galway who is part of the race committee for the 2017–18 race, and Johnny Donnelly, MD of VOR event contractor Arcana.

Two others previously unmentioned are Philip Johnston, a veteran cross-channel racer from Northern Ireland with a strong record in the Fastnet Race who brings his expertise on shore logistics to Turn the Tide on Plastic, and Cork sailor James O’Mahony, another Fastnet vet at the mainsheet and mast positions and well versed in what support his team will need as part of the shore crew for Team Vestas 11th Hour.

Afloat.ie will be keeping up with all of their exploits when the 13th edition of the Volvo Ocean Race gets under way on Sunday 22 October.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

In the days when sailing was a seasonal sport, a few main pillar events dominated the international programme. The Sailing Olympics. The America’s Cup. The Fastnet Race. The Dragon Gold Cup. The Sydney-Hobart Race. The Whitbread Round the World Race. And maybe a few others – we all had our favourites writes W M Nixon.

There weren’t many of those key events. Yet in a more leisurely era of primitive communication, they were enough to be going along with, and people became accustomed to the long intervals between them, intervals when we could concentrate obsessively on our own local and national sailing at events which were of little interest to anyone else.

But the advent of the Internet has changed sailing as it has changed everything else. Instant 24/7 communication demands a fast-running stream of narrative with images to match. In this new environment, the former pillar events find they are just part of an endless tapestry, and they have to take their chances with everything else to gain attention.

Time was when the fundamental changing of boat types in the America’s Cup would have been a matter of major interest, blowing every other sailing headline off page and screen in a big way, and for a long time.

But we’ve comfortably taken in our stride the recent gradually-released information that sailing’s peak event - the oldest international sporting challenge in the world - is reverting to mono-hulls, after three editions of supposedly setting the world a-fire with hyper-fast catamarans.

americas cup2So, farewell then, catamarans in the America’s Cup……Oracle unsuccessfully defended against Emirates New Zealand in Bermuda in June.

Here and there, devoted pot-stirrers found it difficult to provoke anyone to break sweat over the matter. Maybe in the core of the America’s Cup community – if there is such a thing – there was a weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. But among the rest of us, there was sublime indifference. We knew there’d be time enough to consider the new boats as the outlines of the next challenge became more clearly defined. And if there’s litigation in the meantime, that will be entertainment. Meanwhile, there’s a busy Autumn programme of major international events, several of which have a significant Irish interest, and that’s where our attention is focused.

Currently, the top story still has to be the confirmation of Annalise Murphy as a crewmember aboard the Volvo Ocean Racer Turn The Tide On Plastic. The sense of excitement when she was mentioned as a “probable” was tempered by the fact that she’d sustained that knee injury during a crazy capsize in the last race on her way to becoming the International Moth Women’s World Champion, and we’d to wait for total recovery from it before the Volvo World Race chapter in her life could properly begin.

annalise on foiling moth3Game for anything. Annalise Murphy giving her all on the foiling Moth, in which she is now Women’s World Champion.

Quite what her sports physio Mark McCabe had to say about the injury is probably unprintable, for a point made about her campaign towards the Olympic Silver Medal was that it was his guidance and skill which kept her injury-free at crucial stages in training and during the Olympic campaign.

We should all have a Mark McCabe for everyday life. But for now, the Olympics seem so yesterday in the Annalise story, for what she has undertaken may be sailing, but it certainly isn’t sailing as she has known it for so many years with a Laser Radial.

But despite that capsize, clearly she could hack it with the special demands of a foiling Moth, so now she is now re-shaping her enthusiasm, basic athleticism and special sailing skills to serve a team cause. And as of this morning, it has to be the most interesting single story in Irish sailing, particularly now that the Volvo 65s and their teams are gathered in Alicante, with the entire fleet being lifted out on Monday for the final meticulous checks.

There’s a special edge to it, for this year’s race - which starts on October 22nd - will see a much greater emphasis on the Southern Ocean. So as we move steadily towards the Centenary in 2023 of the beginning of Conor O’Brien’s pioneering of the global southern route for yachts with his Irish-built 42ft Saoirse, it’s more than appropriate that there’s a significant Irish presence in the developing Volvo setup, where the Alicante Volvo Race Village will open on 11th October, and the In-Port Race will be staged on Saturday October 14th.

conor obrien4Conor O’Brien, pioneer for yachts in the Southern Ocean on the Cape Horn route.

saoirse plans5A very different sort of boat from today’s Volvo 65. The traditonal-style 42ft gaff ketch Saoirse, built in Baltimore in 1922, proved remarkably successful at running fast yet safely in the Southern Ocean. Conor O’Brien designed a rig that relied on a squaresail on the mainmast, setting a triangular studding sail and topsail

King of it all for Ireland has to be Damian Foxall, who has raced or broken records round the world so often he has probably lost count, but this time he’s on the strength of Team Vestas. For Foxall, the link to Conor O’Brien is particularly special, as Damian hails from Derrynane in far southwest Kerry, and Derrynane was Conor O’Brien’s favourite port – you can see his signature in the Visitors’ Book in that superb watering hole so beloved of voyagers, Bridie Keating’s pub.

damian foxall6Damian Foxall in virtually unrivalled in his Volvo Ocean Race experience

derrynane harbour7Derrynane in Kerry – Conor O’Brien’s favourite anchorage, and Damian Foxall’s home port

But if Damian is King, Annalise is Queen, for even among the hugely talented Volvo crews, an Olympic Silver Medal – or any Olympic Medal for that matter - is rare enough. Indeed, it’s so rare that part of the fascination of the Annalise/Turn the Tide on Plastic linkup will be in how they work out together.

Annalise carries the flag for Ireland’s east coast in Alicante, while Justin Slattery will do it for the south if he turns up, as Damian Foxall expects. Others from Ireland include James O’Mahoney who’s also with Team Vestas, where Thomas John McMaw is Senior Project Manager to keep up the green jersey count, as too does VOR event contractor John Donnelly.

But as our colleague Tom MacSweeney pointed out on Afloat.ie on Monday, it is Kerry which packs the punch in Alicante, as Brian Carlin of Tralee leads the team of OBRs (On-Board Reporters) who will be embedded on each boat, while Lucy Hunt who runs the Sea Synergy Awareness Centre at Waterville (it’s just over the mountain pass from Derrynane) is Sustainability Education Manager for this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, and will co-ordinate a schools programme.

volvo village8A long way from Derrynane….the Volvo Village at Alicante

However, for those who like to be up to speed with all in the main international sailing stories with Irish interest, some time soon there’ll be the Student Yachting Worlds in Marseilles, where UCD led by Will Byrne will be challenging for a trophy which Ireland has won in times past. Originally we were told it would be in September, but when students are running the show themselves, there’s freeform organization and timing, and the most recent date we see is still Marseilles, but not until October 17th to 22nd.

So the top up-coming interest is in La Rochelle towards the end of September, with the fleet gathered for the two-stage 4050 mile Mini-Transat (there’s a stop in the Canaries), with the race starting on Sunday October 1st. Ireland’s Tom Dolan with IRL 910 is currently fourth in the world rankings in the Mini Transat Production Boat Class, so he’s in with a good shout for a podium place. And we’re all behind him, with Irish Sailing President Jack Roy and Ireland’s Sports and Cultural Attaché in France the Guests of Honour at Tom’s party in La Rochelle at noon on Saturday September 30th.

tom dolan boat9Ireland’s Tom Dolan, currently fourth in the world rankings. His supporters will be gathering in La Rochelle in the week leading up to Sunday October 1st to wish him well when he starts the Mini-Transat, with the main party on Saturday September 30th.

Then in October, in addition to the Volvo World Race start and the Student Yachting Worlds, there’s the Rolex Middle Sea Race from Malta on Saturday October 21st, just the day before the Volvo gets going across in Spain. But there’s always lots of Irish interest in this annual Mediterranean classic, with the winning Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino last year being navigated by our own Ian Moore, while this year there’s added spice with the possible inclusion of the IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss with Alex Thomson and Nin O’Leary hoping they’ll find conditions better suited to their very specialised flying machine than they did in the Fastnet Race back in August.

mascalzone latino10The Cookson 50 Mascalzone Latino being navigated by Ian Moore to overall victory in the Rolex Middle Sea Race 2016. Photo Rolex

For those who look on into November, the Transat Jacques Vabre gets going from Le Havre on November 5th with a preponderance of IMOCA 60s, but for operational reasons Hugo Boss is not expected be among them. However, what’s clear is that the international programme is now non-stop, for by November we’ll be getting advance info on the Sydney-Hobart Race on 26th December 2017, which is the saving of Christmas for many of us.

autumn league howth11When cruisers battle for it - racing the Autumn League at Howth. Photo: W M Nixon

Meanwhile this morning in Douarnenez in Brittany the Figaro Fastnet Solo gets under way, and Autumn Leagues start to flex their muscles in Ireland, with Howth’s series starting today and running for six weekends, so the topline action continues at home and abroad in an unending stream.

There’s an old Arab saying which goes: “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on”. It could reasonably be said of world sailing that there may indeed be dogs barking, but the purposeful rattling of camel harnesses is now virtually continuous.

Published in W M Nixon

Kerry will have a dominant presence in this year’s Volvo Round the World Race. Three of the Kingdom’s notable maritime figures are involved and, with Olympian Annalise Murphy also sailing, there will be strong Irish interest, writes Tom MacSweeney.

Biologist Lucy Hunt who runs Sea Synergy Marine Awareness Centre at Waterville has been appointed Sustainability Education Manager by Volvo Ocean Race, to develop an international schools programme on ocean literacy and ocean plastic pollution.

Damian Foxall from Kerry will sail with the former Team Vestas Wind now Vestas 11th Hour Racing. Brian Carlin of Tralee Bay Sailing Club. who was onboard reporter when Team Vestas hit rocks in the last race, has been appointed to lead the team of onboard reporters who will be embedded on the racing yachts

Annalise Murphy is with the Dee Caffari ‘Turn the Tide on Plastic’ entry, which should interact nicely with the work of Lucy Hunt.

While she is working with the Volvo Race, Sea Synergy will continue its operations in Kerry, where she has appointed a manager to run the centre and an Iveragh Learning Landscapes Weekend is planned for October 6-8. This is the second year o fthe event.

“A range of talks and workshops will be held in Waterville, Caherdaniel and Ballinskelligs by national and international facilitators including 4 marine themed workshops – learning in one of Irelands best classrooms – the seashore,” Lucy Hunt says.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race

#VOR - Irish sailing photographer and filmmaker Brian Carlin is returning to the Volvo Ocean Race — this time as leader for the fleet’s team of onboard reporters announced at the weekend.

Carlin made his debut in the VOR as the embedded multimedia reporter with Team Vestas Wind, the role offer coming as a surprise to the frequent contributor to Afloat.ie.

It was equally unexpected that he would be on hand to document the team’s disastrous grounding on a shoal in the Indian Ocean.

The Kerryman was nominated for the 2015 Mirabaud Yacht Racing Image of the Year Award for his shot of Vestas Wind’s damaged hull, ultimately coming second in the public vote.

Now Carlin heads a team that comprises some of the finest adventure photographers in the world, including National Geographic contributor Jen Edney; BBC journalist Tom Martienssen;  and James Blake, son of VOR winner Sir Peter Blake.

Sam Greenfield joins Carlin as one of two reporters returning from the previous VOR, with the remaining debutants being Konrad Frost from CNN Mainsail, Jeremie Lecaudey from the snowboarding world, experienced sailing photographer Martin Keruzoré, Clipper Race cameraman Richard Edwards, and Spain’s Ugo Fonollá, the team’s youngest member.

Kerry is also represented in the next VOR by Damian Foxall, who will be on deck with Carlin’s old team — now renamed Vestas 11th Hour — as Leg Zero begins today (Wednesday 2 August) with a race around the Isle of Wight as part of Cowes Week.

The pre-race leg to establish the status of teams’ readiness for October’s start will continue from this weekend with the Rolex Fastnet Race, followed by a string of mini-races from Plymouth to St Malo to Lisbon.

Published in Volvo Ocean Race
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