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Nicolas Loran - NASA



Billy Black, Catherine Sparkes, Boris Herrmann, Clive Lonsdale, Desafio Cabo de Hornos, Pit De Jonge, Ocean Warrior, Beluga Racer, Jerry Freeman, Mowgli, Christine Balderas, Josh Hall. EDITED BY

Portimão Global Ocean Race Team EDITOR

Brian Hancock COPYRIGHT

Great Circle Publishing Company October 2008



n September 1986 I found myself in Newport, Rhode Island, watching the start of the 1986-87 BOC Challenge – a singlehanded race around the world. For two weeks I had been on the docks helping out any of the entries that needed it, whether it was running some electrical wires or driving them to the supermarket for last-minute purchases of tinned clam chowder. I was in awe of what these sailors were about to undertake and was seduced by the spirit of adventure and camaraderie that lay heavily on the pontoons. The invite to witness the start aboard a speedy spectator boat was incredibly exciting, the emotion of then following these ocean gladiators offshore until sunset was intense, but I was totally unprepared for my own clarity of vision as we leapt across the waves heading back to Newport because I decided there and then that I would be at the start of the next BOC Challenge in 1990 – as a Skipper! This became a defining moment in my life and I am ever grateful that I followed my instincts as it led to a life of adventure on the high seas, of friendships made around the world and to a life less ordinary which suits me well.

Global Ocean SailingVentures, Ltd Unit 41 Claydon Business Park Great Blakenham Ipswich Suffolk, UK IP6 0NL Every effort has been made to ensure that all the information published in this magazine is accurate. Neither the publishers or race officials of the Portimão Global Ocean Race accept liability for any errors. All material contained in this magazine is copyrighted and no part may be reproduced or transmitted without written permission from Global Ocean Sailing Ventures.

Watching the sport of short-handed racing develop rapidly in both technology and cost, I realized a few years ago that, sadly, there was no longer an opportunity for dream fulfillment of those restless and adventurous “inspired to sail round the world” types - unless they could pull together the multimillion euro budget required to fund a 60 foot race yacht campaign. My good friend, Brian Hancock, was in Marblehead, USA, having precisely the same thoughts and – when we found ourselves working together on a racing project in 2005 – we shared our ideas and the concept of the Portimão Global Ocean Race was formed. Upon proposing the idea to our peer groups, we were astonished by the level of interest and this immediately encouraged us to commit ourselves to making the race a reality. The road to reality was a tough journey as we sought the sponsorship required to launch a fledgling event. However, nothing worthwhile is supposed to be easy. In Portimão we have found a city with the same overall drive and ambition as ourselves and together we have been able to provide the platform for our eclectic fleet of sailors to realise their long-held dreams of racing around the world on an attainable budget.

This magazine was printed in the United Kingdom by PINDAR.

We are proud to present our event and sailors to the world in the inaugural Portimão Global Ocean Race. We feel certain that future editions of the event will be raced by skippers who, like myself, were inspired by such a grand adventure.

Welcome to our World

A message from the Mayor of Portimão – Manuel da Luz “It’s with great pride and enthusiasm that, on behalf of the City of Portimão, I welcome the Portimão Global Ocean Race 2008-09 . For Portimão, it is a great honour and pride to join the elite group of cities that host this global race. It’s renewed riverside, it’s first class hotels, it’s outstanding people, it’s appropiate present and future facilities are all assets to conquer these kinds of sporting events. Our vision and strategy is to sustain tourism growth based on international sports events such as F1 Powerboat Racing, Powerboat P1 and now… a global around-the-world race.

WE LOVE THE SEA! AND BIG CHALLENGES. The success of this event will have a very strong impact on the international image of both Portimão and the Algarve.

Portimão Global Ocean Race 2008-09 already belongs to our family of great events. You have all of our support and commitment.”


Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Contents FOREWORD - 2 A message from Josh Hall



THE MACHINE - 30 by Josh Hall

THE COURSE - 6 The global race course

STAYING IN TOUCH - 32 by Oliver Dewar

ROARING FORTY - 10 Michel Kleinjans OCEAN WARRIOR - 12 Lenjon and Peter van der Wel

MOWGLI - 14 Victoria Sanders-Perrin and Jeremy Salvesen

LOOKING OUT FOR NUMBER 1 - 34 by Oliver Dewar WHY DO THEY DO IT? - 37 by Brian Hancock

BELUGA - 16 Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme HAYAI - 18 Nico Budel DESAFIO CABO DE HORNOS- 20 Felipe Cubillos and Jose Munoz FOLLOW THE RACE - 22 The official race website REALISING THE DREAM - 24 by Brian Hancock

Official Race Programme of the Portim達o Global Ocean Race





Fernando de Noronha


Cape Horn

START DATES THE RACE COURSE - 30,000 NAUTICAL MILES LEG 1 - Portimão, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa LEG 2 - Cape Town, South Africa to Wellington, New Zealand LEG 3 - Wellington, New Zealand to Ilhabela, Brazil


PORTIMÃO, Portugal October 12th, 2008 CAPE TOWN, South Africa December 7th, 2008 WELLINGTON, New Zealand February 8th, 2009

LEG 4 - Ilhabela, Brazil to Charleston, USA

ILHABELA, Brazil April 5th, 2009

LEG 5 - Charleston, USA to Portimão, Portugal

CHARLESTON, USA May 31st, 2009

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Southern Ocean Sliding Gate


The Course

Official Race Programme of the Portim達o Global Ocean Race


Roaring Forty Michel Kleinjans

Michel Kleinjans

Roaring Forty and won his division in the doublehanded Round Britain and Ireland Race.

Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Michel graduated in Maritime Studies before joining the Merchant Navy, although he was quick to realize that such formal seafaring was not entirely to his liking and sailing with the breeze was preferable. In the early 1980s, while still serving in the Merchant Navy, Kleinjans sailed on cruising yachts with occasional racing until he was selected to join Staf Versluys on 57ft Rucanor Tristar for the 198586 Whitbread Round The World Race taking 5th place overall and winning Class D. However, having sampled offshore racing and making the self-discovery that following orders was not a Kleinjans character trait, he switched quickly to single-handed racing entering the 1987 Mini Transat with PM Charles and taking 6th place overall in this gruelling race from Concarneau to Martinique via one stop over in Tenerife.

Over the next five years, Michel amassed sailing trophies from a variety of racing classes – fullycrewed, double-handed and solo – on a variety of yachts, but in 2004, taking the single-handed record for non-stop sailing around Britain and Ireland in just over 11 days was a personal landmark, followed a year later by the 4 day record for sailing solo around Ireland. 2006 was also an exceptional year with Roaring Forty winning the single-handed Route du Rhum, in Class 3 and the double-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race: achievements that inspired the Belgian Yachting Association to award Michel with the Yachtsman of the Year Award.

The following year he was twenty-four years-old, had reached the rank of third mate in the Merchant Navy and Michel’s short-handed sailing experience was growing rapidly through racing in Figaro Class and competing in the double-handed, transatlantic TWOSTAR event in 1994 during which he was forced to retire with mast failure. Two years later, Kleinjan’s returned to the North Atlantic and won his class in the single-handed STAR from Plymouth to Newport, RI. In 1997, he took delivery of


Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Roaring Forty Launched in 1997, Roaring Forty is an Open 40 from the Lutra Design Group. The boat differs from the Class 40 yachts in the Portim達o Global Ocean Race by using carbon fibre in the construction of the hull, decks and mast, giving the yacht a potential weight and speed advantage. Kleinjans and Roaring Forty already have a distinguished track record including wins in the 1998 double-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race, the double-handed Cowes-Dinard Race in 2004, a Class 3 win in the 2006 Route du Rhum and singlehanded speed records for Round Britain and Ireland and Round Ireland non-stop events.



Recently Michel and Roaring Forty set a new reference record from Marseilles, France, across the Mediterranean to Carthagena, Tunisia in a time of 1 day, 21 hours, 14 minutes and 34 seconds.

Mainsail: 68sqm

Length: 12.8m

Genoa: 39sqm








Sail number: 56

Spinnaker 182sqm





Beam: 3,95m Draught: 2,92m

Mast: 17m

Official Race Programme of the Portim達o Global Ocean Race

Designer: Lutra Design Group Launch date : 1997


Kazimir Partners Lenjohn and Peter van der Wel

Lenjohn van der Wel

Peter van der Wel

Despite a small age difference (Peter is the senior van der Wel by two years), the two brothers have followed identical career paths and have had a continuous connection with offshore racing and sailing.

Born in Rotterdam, Holland, Peter grew up in Cape Town and stated sailing early with his older brother, Lenjohn. The pair stuck together working with Bertie Reed, then boatbuilding, mast construction and delivery work before Peter took command of his own superyacht, Sensation.

Growing up in Cape Town, South Africa, Lenjohn began racing in local regattas before working as shore crew for the Springbok sailing legend and multiple solo circumnavigator, the late Bertie Reed. This introduction to single-handed sailing at the highest level (Reid competed in the 1982-83 and 1990-91 BOC Challenge and the 1989-90 Vendée Globe) was the start of a lasting theme. Van der Wel joined a South African boat building company and then moved to mast construction working on the spars for 1993-94 Whitbread Round The World Race entrants Merit Cup and La Poste.

Prior to the 2007 Transat Jacques Vabre, Peter had logged an estimated 250,000 sailing miles including 12 Atlantic crossings. The brothers qualified for the Portimão Global Ocean Race early in 2008, sailing from Gibraltar to their base in the Bahamas.

Time spent as delivery crew in the Atlantic, Mediterranean and Caribbean built up valuable experience and prepared Lenjohn for 16 years as a superyacht captain. Having logged an estimated 200,000 sailing miles, including eight Atlantic crossings, he took time out from his job as skipper of the 115ft sloop Teel to taste double-handed offshore racing with his brother in the 2007 Transat Jacques Vabre on their current Class 40.


Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Kazimir Partners Kazimir Partners, an Express 40, was built in Cowes on the Isle of Wight and launched late 2007. The boat was designed by Owen Clarke Yacht Design with a lot of attention to detail added by principle designer Merfyn Owen. After a short shakedown Lenjohn and Peter campaigned their new boat in the 2007 Transat Jacques Vabre. Brutal conditions in the Bay of Biscay shortly after the start forced the brothers to retire with damage to the yacht’s steering mechanism and bowsprit.




They fixed the boat and were the first team to officially qualify for the Portimão Global Ocean Race after a successful crossing of the North Atlantic. The boat and team have been based in the Bahamas.

Displacement - 4.5 tonnes

Length: 12.19m

Sail area: upwind : 115sqm








Sail number: 34

Sail area: downwind : 250sqm





Beam: 4.15m Draught: 3m

Mast: 19m

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Designer: Lombard Launch date : March 2007


Mowgli Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson

Jeremy Salvesen Until three years ago, Jeremy’s sailing experience was limited to ‘mucking around’ in a Mirror dinghy with his two brothers and two sisters near the Salvesen family home in Scotland. This introduction to sailing between the age of 8-10 years-old was the only contact he had with the sea until 2005 when a chance encounter with crews from the BT Global Challenge in Australia fired Jeremy’s ambition to sail around the world. Both Jeremy and Victoria enrolled as novice sailors training towards the 2007-08 Global Challenge, but when the business foundered, the pair were left without a mission. Jeremy’s entrepreneurial business acumen has been key to organising the racing campaign and securing sponsorship while a fast track coaching and training programme was undertaken. Since 2005, the pair have amassed practical sailing qualifications, trained in dinghies to hone their sail handling skills and have mastered the science of Astro navigation. They took delivery of Mowgli in May this year and had their first taste of doublehanded, offshore action during their eight day qualifier sailing around Britain and Ireland encountering Force 8 conditions. Based in Gosport on England’s south coast for the


hectic build-up for the Portimão Global Ocean Race, Jeremy has been consistently on the water since the yacht arrived from France and has been striving to maximise the boat’s performance. A highly motivated and competitive character, he was concerned that the possibility of being ‘canon fodder’ in the 18 crew of a Global Challenge yacht would prove frustrating: in October, Salvesen will find himself back on the front line, but as master of his own destiny.

David Thomson Dave Thomson is probably the most experienced sailor in the Portimão Global Ocean Race with extensive experience on both multihulls as well as monohulls. As crew aboard the massive catamaran Playstation, Thomson held four world speed records including the coveted west-east Transatlantic record from Sandy Hook, New Jersey to Land's End, United Kingdom. He has also sailed on many of the latest generation Open 60s including Hugo Boss currently being campaigned by Thomson's brother Alex. Perhaps David's greatest strength is his expertise as a boat preparer. He worked as shore team for the Japanese sailor Kojiro Shiraishi during the Velux 5-Oceans as well Hugo Boss, and recently worked on the complete refit of Philippe Kahn's Open 50 Artforms.

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Later this year he will be joined in the Southern Ocean by brother Alex who is campaigning his Open 60 Hugo Boss in the Vendée Globe.

Mowgli Built in Tunisia by the Franco-German boatyard, MC-TEC and launched early in 2007, Mowgli was previously owned by Germany’s Florian Gonser who chose the Kipling-inspired, Shere Khan hull graphics. This Akilaria Class40 has entered only one race, the 2007 double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre where Gonser teamed up with French co-skipper, David Lefebvre. Racing as Gonser Group, the yacht finished last in a fleet of 28 Class40s and has yet to be raced hard.



Having taken delivery of new sails just a month prior to the start of the Portimão Global Ocean Race, Salvesen and Thomson are finally managing to achieve the yacht’s performance polars and optimise their racing strategy.

Displacement - 4.5 tonnes

Length: 12,18m

Sail area: upwind : 115sqm








Sail number: 41

Sail area: downwind : 250sqm





Beam: 4,49m Draught: 3m

Mast: 19m

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Designer: Lombard Launch date : March 2007


Beluga Racer Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme

Boris Herrmann Boris Hermann (right above) began sailing shortly after learning to walk. Aged three years-old, he was afloat aboard his father’s steel sloop cruising in the Baltic and North Sea. This early start evolved into competitive sailing on the international dinghy circuit and his racing pedigree is impeccable; 505 National Champion in 2007 and 9th overall in the 505 World Championships. Aged 20, Hermann tasted solo offshore sailing in the Mini 6.5 and the following year, finished 11th in the 2001 Mini Transat: a 4,000 mile singlehanded race from France to Brazil with one stop over in the Canary Islands. Staying with the radical 21ft Mini 6.5, Hermann finished 6th in the 500mile Mini Fastnet race from Plymouth, around the famous lighthouse off the southern tip of Ireland and finishing in Plymouth. In 2007, he launched Beluga Racer and early the following year entered the yacht in the Class 40 division of the Artemis Transat: an historic race with a predominantly upwind course from Plymouth, across the North Atlantic to Marblehead, USA. Racing against ten skippers of diverse experience, the up and coming 28 year-old delivered a masterful race with immense confidence and tactical knowledge.


An expert communicator and fluent in both English and French, Hermann is a powerful force in the Portimão Global Ocean Race.

Felix Oehme Born in New Orleans, USA, Felix (left above) was raised in Lübeck, Germany. Before he could run, sailing on his parents’ 45ft ketch led to the established and tested path for young racing sailors; Optimist, 420 then 470. In 2000, he met Boris during the 470 World Championships before switching to the 49er and holding his place in the top five sailors in Germany for four years. While his co-skipper, Boris Hermann, chose to join the Civil Service, Oehme opted to spend his nine months of National Service in the German Navy based in Keil. More recently, he sailed his father’s ketch Dixie from Germany to Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 and has been concentrating on World Championship Match Racing for students and is currently ranked number 82 worldwide. In the summer this year, he finished studying at the University of Hamburg and graduated as a mechanical engineer.

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Beluga Racer Similar to Jeremy Salvesen and Victoria SandersPerrin’s Mowgli, Hermann and Oehme’s Akilaria Class 40 Beluga Racer, was built in Tunisia at MCTEC in 2007. Drawn by Frenchman, Marc Lombard, in 2005, the yacht was originally intended as a fast cruiser/racer, but the design heritage owes much to the current generation of larger, ocean-going thoroughbreds; the IMOCA Open 60s and Volvo Ocean Race boats.



Hermann entered Beluga Racer in the single-handed 2008 Artemis Transat, taking second place while sustaining minimal damage to his immaculately prepared yacht in hostile, North Atlantic upwind racing.

Displacement - 4.5 tonnes

Length: 12,18m

Sail area: upwind : 115sqm








Sail number: 44

Sail area: downwind : 250sqm




Beam: 4,49m Draught: 3m

Mast: 19m

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Designer: Lombard Launch date : March 2007


Hayai Nico Budel

Nico Budel Born in Velp, near Arnham, 70 miles from the Dutch coast, Budel has amassed a huge amount of sailing knowledge and a large family with five children and ten grandchildren: factors that are fundamental to his participation in the Portimão Global Ocean Race. “My most important goal is to come back safely, to my wife Myrna, my children,” he explains. “I have two daughters and three sons, and my grandchildren. That’s the most important thing for me.”

‘Enjoy’. That’s what I plan to do. Enjoy myself. And when it’s over I will return to my career as a real estate developer, work I really like, and life will go on.”

With a background in property development, Budel began sailing with his sons in dinghies before chartering cruising yachts for extended family holidays in Norway and visiting Britain, France, Spain and Portugal. Deciding to switch from cruising to racing, he has taken part in North Sea races from Holland to Norway via the Shetland Islands, the AZAB (Azores and Back Race) and has completed six double-handed Fastnet Races with his wife, Myrna, operating as shore crew, preparing the boat, buying supplies and handling all logistics. Opting for a faster more powerful yacht, in 2005, aged 66, Budel and Hayai were first in class during the transatlantic, single-handed OSTAR, racing across the North Atlantic in just over 22 days. At 69 years-old, his participation in the Portimão Global Ocean Race has met with mixed reactions “Some people have called me crazy, some say ‘Whoa! Do you dare do it?’” explains Budel. “Some say, ‘Awesome adventure’, and other just say simply,


Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Hayai Like fellow competitor, Michel Kleinjans, Budel’s Open 40 is a lightweight, powerful, custom made offshore racer with a canting keel and carbon construction combining strength and performance. Launched in 1998 and co-designed by her Russian owner/builder, Viktor Yazykov, and American Stephen Baker of Newport, RI, Hayai (meaning ‘speedy’) has already lapped the planet twice first with Yazykov at the helm racing in the 1998-99 Around Alone Race as Wind of Change, and later with Danish sailor Jan Moller. Moller became the first Scandinavian sailor to complete a solo nonstop lap of the planet again proving the seaworthiness of the boat. The yacht and skipper make a good team: “The boat is proven,” Budel says. “It is easy to sail and I feel it is very seaworthy. Also, it’s not too big for me. I can manage the boat very well.”

Mainsail: 72sqm

Length: 12.18m

Genoa: 39sqm









Sail number: 40

Beam: 3.84m Draught: 2.96m

Displacement - 4,100kg

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Gennaker 144sqm Designer: Viktor Yazykov/Stephen Baker Launch date : 1998


Desafio Cabo de Hornos Felipe Cubillos and Jose Munoz

Felipe Cubillos Felipe graduated from sailing a Sabot to Lasers, Lightnings, J-24s and larger offshore racing boats, eventually representing his country at the Olympics and Pan-American Games. A lawyer by training and a shrewd businessman, Cubillos hooked into the southern Chilean boom in salmon farming and went on to build a marina in the popular tourist destination of Puerto Montt: gateway to Chile’s southern archipelago. His late father entered a boat in the 1978 Whitbread Round The World Race, but failed to make the startline and this has inspired Felipe to complete a circumnavigation: “I want to show my children that it’s important to have dreams in life,” he explains. “I have always told them this and now I can show them by my example that with focus, dedication and hard work you can make your dreams come true.” In 2007, Cubillos took part in the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre Race from France to Brazil on the Class 40 Siegena Aubi co-skippering the yacht to 13th place out of 31 with Jean-Michel Viant. With a huge bank of sailing experience, Felipe is aware of the challenge ahead: “We are looking for and expecting some tough weather on the trip,” he says. “There is no point trying to avoid it. We know that the Portimão Global Ocean Race will dish up some very rough conditions and we


need to know that the boat is up to the task and ready for a long voyage around the world that includes rounding Cape Horn.” On completing the Portimão Global Ocean Race, Felipe and his co-skipper will become the first Chileans to circumnavigate the globe via their country’s southernmost tip: Cape Horn. As a homage and memorial to the indigenous peoples who once lived in Tierra del Fuego and the barren islands around the world’s most fearsome cape, Cubillos has researched the asymmetric body painting patterns that adorned these otherwise naked, tall and nomadic Indians at special ceremonies and transferred the designs to the hull of his yacht, Cape Horn.

José Muñoz Muñoz has accumulated over 7,000 nautical miles in the Pacific Ocean as delivery crew since the early 1990s, sailing boats between Puerto Montt, Algarrobo and the Juan Fernandez Islands. In 1997, he spent time in Europe sailing a Mumm 36 in France and Italy and was a member of the victorious Chilean Ocean Fleet team in 2006, and runner up in 2007. More recently, Muñoz took second place on a Class 40 in the Fastnet Race and took third place in the 2008 Rolex Ilhabela Sailing Week.

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Desafio Cabo de Hornos Designed by Guillaume Verdier and built at FR Nautisme, France, the Proto Class 40, Cape Horn is a sistership to the incredibly successful Telecom Italia of Italian single-handed maestro, Giovanni Soldini, winner of the double-handed 2007 Transat Jacques Vabre and the single-handed 2008 Artemis Transat. “We looked at a number of boats before settling on this Verdier design,” explains Cubillos. “I know Giovanni is a superb sailor but it was clear to me during the Transat Jacques Vabre that his boat had a lot of speed and I called my project manager Alejandro Raab and told him to place an order for the exact same boat.”




Desafio Cabo de Hornos was launched in August 2008 and after some routine sail trials Cubillos and Muñoz took the boat on a tough qualifying sail out into the North Atlantic. It is the newest boat in the Portimão Global Ocean Race fleet.

Displacement - 4.5 tonnes

Length: 12,18m

Sail area: upwind : 115sqm








Sail number: 41

Sail area: downwind : 250sqm






Beam: 4,49m Draught: 3m

Mast: 19m

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

Designer: Guillaume Verdier Launch date : August 2007


Follow the race These are exciting times for armchair sailors. With the Internet changing the way the world works, offshore ocean racing, once carried out in relative obscurity, is now prime time viewing and the Portim達o Global Ocean Race will lead the way in which sailors from around the world will follow a global offshore race. Official Race Website Go to the official race website for the very latest news, images and positions as well as in depth skipper profiles, weather, tactical analysis and special features. You will be able to read the latest blogs, view video sent from onboard and sign up for podcasts and RRS feeds. Better yet, the website will be available in English and Portuguese as well as numerous other languages. Email updates Sign up for daily or weekly email updates to get the very latest news from the race course direct to your in-box. Read skipper logs, get tactical analysis and understand the weather the sailors are facing. Go to Video and Audio Audio interviews and onboard video footage will be transmitted back to land and complied into podcasts available for download on the race website or through your favorite portal like iTunes. Leaderboard Follow the action hour by hour on the interactive Race Tracker. Scroll your mouse over each boat to get instant onboard information, animate the track and overlay the weather.

Official Race Programme of the Portim達o Global Ocean Race


Realising the dream by BRIAN HANCOCK


HESE ARE EXCITING TIMES FOR SAILORS. The world of offshore ocean racing is

exploding as the big events like the Volvo

Ocean Race and the Vendée Globe attract a global audience.


HE STORIES TRANSMITTED back from the open ocean, are pure inspiration and indeed many sailors who once would have laughed at the thought of racing around the world are becoming inspired to get out there and get a circumnavigation under their belt. This has led to a demand for an affordable, achievable global race and precisely where the Portimão Global Ocean Race found its roots. When I raced my first Whitbread Round the World race in 1981, it was fairly easy to get a ride. In fact some boats were finding it hard to get enough crew to fill some of the onboard duties. Back then the kind of sailor attracted to an around the world race were a fringe element, hardy adventurers, lost souls and in my case, a young sailor with nothing better to do. There was no such thing as a


professional sailor and most of the crews competing in the race that year were doing so for fun and a square meal at the end of every day. We were, but many measures, heading out into the unknown and we joked that it was necessary to have an IQ less than the length of your boat if you were thinking of racing a Whitbread.


E ALL SURVIVED, well almost. There was that Russian skipper that I raced with in 1989 that hanged himself at the end of the first leg, but by and large we all came back unscathed with great stories to tell. We inspired a whole new generation of offshore sailors and slowly this realm of sailing became more professional. Sponsors were brought in to pay the bills and these sponsors in turn placed new demands on the

teams. These demands, from performance bonuses to public speaking courses ushered in a new generation of professional sailor and quite quickly the cost of a Whitbread campaign escalated. In 1981 we got around the world for less than a million bucks, boat included. Now, a self-respecting Volvo Ocean Race campaign can cost upwards of 50 million euros. Dollar by dollar would-be around the world sailors were getting squeezed out of the game. In the late 80s the first solo around the world took place. Like the earlier Whitbread races, the event attracted a certain fringe element as well, I hasten to add, some superb professional sailors. Many of the boats were modified cruisers and the budgets shoestring at best. Still, without a team of mouths to feed, the cost of a single-handed circumnavigation

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

was achievable and dozens of sailors were able to realise their lifetime dreams.


IKE THE WHITBREAD before things started to escalate for would-be solo circumnavigators. Modern, thoroughly high-tech racing machines were custom designed and carefully built. They were brutal to sail and one small mistake could cost a mast, or worse, a life. Average sailors were quickly forced out of the market. The cost of a singlehanded around the world campaign had risen into the millions and the technical ability to sail a massive Open 60 was soon well beyond the expertise of an average sailor. That left the pay-for-your-berth

races like Chay Blyth’s Global Challenge and Sir Robin KnoxJohnston Clipper Race as the only event “ordinary” sailors to compete in. These races allowed hundreds of previously inexperienced sailors to get a circumnavigation on their resume, but the Global Challenge is now bankrupt and the Clipper Race does not take in the deep south leaving those that hanker for a Cape Horn rounding with no place to go. It was out of this background that the Portimão Global Ocean Race was born. By limiting the race to 40 and 50 foot entries, and the crews to either solo or doublehanded, the budgets for an around the world race were suddenly very achievable. For 400,000 euros you can buy a boat and race it around the world. In fact four successful businessmen or women could

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

each equally pool their resources and race the race switching off at each stopover port. Sure, you don’t get to go the whole way but for the cost of a nice 3DL sail inventory for a Farr 40 you get the experience of a lifetime, and a lifetime’s worth of bragging rights at the yacht club pub.


HE FUTURE OF THE the Portimão Global Ocean Race looks bright. Class 40’s are being launched all over the world and for many sailors the Portimão Global Ocean Race represents a stepping-stone to the big leagues like the Vendee or Barcelona World Race. On an affordable budget they can prove to themselves that they can race around the world and convince their sponsors that it’s a worthwhile marketing and branding exercise.


The History of circumnavigating. by OLIVER DEWAR



gered by trade, politics and piracy. Today, the skip-

pers in the Portimão Global Ocean Race may have a

different motivation, but share many character traits with the early pioneers.


HE EARLIEST RECORDED long distance sea voyages were predominantly European endeavours. Ancient Greek and Roman merchants sailed to India and China carving trade routes from the Mediterranean through the Indian Ocean. The Vikings sailed west across the North Atlantic to escape political turmoil in Norway with Erik The Red and a fleet of 25 ships settling in Greenland in AD 982, followed just under 20 years later by his son, Leif Ericsson, who discovered Vinland (North America), eventually establishing the world’s oldest national assembly in around 1030. Approximately 300 years after Ericsson’s voyage, Marco Polo and his contemporaries were travelling throughout Asia during the 13th century and Ibn Battuta made his voyages through the Islamic territories of Africa, Europe and Asia the following century succeeded by the Ming Chinese Voyages around the Indian Ocean in the early 1400s. However, the final decade of the 15th century proved decisive and led directly to the first circumnavigation of the globe: an event triggered by the European thirst for conquest and trade and a major – but fortunate - error in measurement. In the 15th century, there were no telescopes to probe space and no concept of distant stars and galaxies: outside an enclosed sphere around the Earth was God and Heaven. However, it was understood that the world was round. The myth that Medieval Man believed the world was flat and explorers were terrified by the prospect of sailing over the edge into a bottomless abyss became embedded by the American author and essayist, Washington Irving,


who planted the idea in romanticised work on the voyages of Christopher Columbus. In reality, Earth’s spherical shape had been generally accepted since the 5th century BC. The problem lay in calculating just how round the planet was. Erastothenes (b. 280 BC), the head librarian at the Alexandrian Library – the ancient world’s MIT - calculated, with extraordinary accuracy, that the Earth’s girth was 250,000 stadia: very close to the actual figure of 24,902 miles. In AD 100, a scholarly heavyweight from Rhodes, Marinus of Tyre, revised the figure to 18,000 stadia, or 18,000 miles. A century later, Claudius Ptolemy – the most respected scientist of the age – found favour with the updated calculation and this measurement was accepted until the late 15th century. This did, however, mean the Earth was 25 percent too small and Europe was 6,000 miles closer to the riches waiting in Asia and potentially within the offshore capability of 15th century ships: a fact that appealed both to seafarers and European governments. Consequently, in the North Atlantic, John Cabot embarked on trips to successful round Newfoundland and the Portuguese explorer, Vasco da Gama sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, along the east coast of Africa reaching Cochin at the southern tip of India. Most famously, Columbus discovered the New World while hoping to reach Asia via a quick trip westwards across the Atlantic with the Santa Maria, the Nina and the Pinta.


EW LANDS WERE discovered, cartographers were kept constantly busy and the two world superpowers, Portugal and Spain,

Official Race Program of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

were quick to divide the entire planet into two halves. Two years after Columbus’ voyage, the Treaty of Tordesillas split the world in two with a demarcation line northsouth through the Atlantic. To the east of this line, all territory belonged to King John II of Portugal; to the west, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain reigned supreme. After some intense diplomatic squabbling, the Tordesillas line was shifted west, clipping Brazil – the reason this country is the only Portuguese-speaking territory in the Americas. The treaty’s fundamental problem was the exact location of this dividing line in Asia on the other, relatively unknown, side of the world. The Spice Islands in Indonesia supplied Europe with the raw materials for flavouring and preserving food: a 15th century commodity that was more valuable than gold and their exact location subject to the treaty was crucial. At the time of the treaty, the Spice Islands were under Portuguese control, but – with no accurate knowledge of the Earth’s true girth - were the islands really in the Portuguese or Spanish sector? In 1516, the 38 year-old Ferdinand Magellan, a soldier and seaman who had faithfully and courageously served King Manuel of Portugal in campaigns throughout Asia and Africa, proposed a new plan for reaching the Spice Islands via a western route, beyond the voyage of Columbus. For reasons that have never been clear, Manuel took an instant dislike to Magellan, humiliating the war veteran in front of the Portuguese royal court and telling the old soldier to take his skills elsewhere. A very bad move.


FTER A PERIOD OF listless drifting, stung by his king’s actions, Magellan switched allegiance to Charles V King of Spain and the Holy Roman Empire and was swiftly given command of a Spanish fleet with orders to sail westwards toward Asia and find a route through to Indonesia. Magellan and his five ships – Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepción, Victoria and Santiago - left Spain in late September 1519 and the voyage into the unmapped, unknown territory south of Brazil is a litany of mutiny, execution, shipwreck, starvation and incredible

endurance. After finding a clear passage west at the tip of the South American continent, the fleet passed through the narrow strait between the mainland and Tierra del Fuego that now carries their commander’s name and entered the Pacific Ocean. It soon became clear that the Ptolemy’s calculation for the planet’s dimensions was far from accurate. For Magellan and his crew, the Pacific was endless, the death toll on board was terrible and the crew were forced to eat rats from the bilge and leather fittings from the rigging. Eventually, the sickly and weakened crew reached the Philippines and the gateway to the Spice Islands, but tragedy would soon strike. Dabbling in local, inter-island politics, Magellan and a small party of men became isolated on a beach in Mactan Island and surrounded by natives. Covering his men as the crew attempted to launch their longboats in the surf and row for the ships at anchor, Magellan was attacked: “He refused to retire any further,” reported Antonio Pigafetta, an eyewitness. “An Indian threw a bamboo lance in his face and the captain immediately killed him with his lance, leaving it in his body.” Speared through his sword arm, Magellan was unable to fully withdraw his weapon from its scabbard. Another spear was thrust through

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

his left leg and the Portuguese commander fell face down in the water. “On this, all at once rushed on him with lances of iron and bamboo,” continues the expedition’s Italian chronicler. “With these javelins, so they slew our mirror, our light, our comfort and our one true guide.” Following Magellan’s death, the expedition descended into chaos and piracy under a succession of Spanish commanders with only a single ship returning to Spain in April 1521 under the command of Juan Sebastián Elcano with just 80 of the fleet’s original 250 sailors on board.


LCANO LAUNCHED A repeat, largely unsuccessful, Spanish expedition, but a second circumnavigation by Sir Francis Drake between 1577-1580 caused great antagonism in Europe. Dispatched from England by Queen Elizabeth with orders to attack Spanish ships and strongholds along the west coast of South America, Drake followed Magellan’s route south with the Golden Hind, entering the Pacific via the Straits of Magellan. After leaving the Straits, his fleet was blown south to 56°S, inadvertently making the discovery that there was




no landmass between Cape Horn and Antarctica and left his name, Drake Passage, on this ferocious stretch of water at the bottom of the world. Drake epitomises the ideal of ‘swashbuckling’ for Britons, but was regarded as little more than a pirate by the Spanish for, during one attack on a single ship off the coast of Peru, his fleet captured the equivalent of £7m in Spanish treasure. Between 1580-1589, the Spanish Franciscan friar, Martin Ignacio de Loyola, made two circumnavigations taking advantage of a global peace treaty between Spain and Portugal and brought the Jesuit brand of Christianity to the Godless corners of the world.


EANWHILE, SIR Thomas Cavendish continued the particularly English trend in circumnavigation on the Desire between 1586-1588 and attacked Spanish ships and settlements in the Pacific, including a record breaking haul of treasure from a single attack off Southern California. Just under 100 years after Cavendish’s exploits, another Englishman, William Dampier, began an inauspicious trip around the world from the Spanish Main, hitchhiking across the oceans with a succession of buccaneers and pirates and was eventually marooned on the Nicobar Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Eventually, Dampier returned to England in 1691, penniless but with a collection of his notebooks detailing flora and flauna observations from his circumnavigation: information that interested the British Admiralty who funded his second round the world voyage.

Captain James Cook was the most prolific circumnavigator and surveyor of the 18th century, making three circumnavigations in 1768, 1772 and 1776, mapping the New Zealand and eastern Australian coastlines in the first expedition, circumnavigating close to Antarctica on the second voyage reaching 71°S and attempting to find the Northwest Passage on his final voyage. Unable to find a route through the Bering Strait, Cook sailed south to Hawaii for a one month refit on Big Island. Upon leaving the anchorage in Kealakekua Bay to

recommence exploration, the foremast on HMS Resolution shattered, forcing Cook to return ashore where a long boat was stolen by the island’s natives. As the atmosphere on the beach between Europeans and Hawaiians grew increasingly strained, Cook was beaten over the head, fell face down in the sand and was stabbed to death.


HE ERA OF SOLO circumnavigation adventurers began in 1895 with the three year voyage of the Bostonian, Joshua Slocum, on board 39ft Spray: a journey producing tales and adventures that appeared in Slocum’s landmark, seafaring book, Sailing Alone Around the World, sparking a worldwide interest in long haul, offshore sailing. The opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 increased the appeal of solo circumnavigation in the aftermath of World War I, with multiple and international, small boat voyages including the American, Harry Pidgeon, on 34ft Islander and Frenchman, Alain Girbault with 39ft Firecrest, although the first single-handed circumnavigation via Cape Horn was made during World War II by Argentine yachtsman, Vito Dumas on Lehg II. In the 1960s, single-handed circumnavigation became a British obsession with 66 yearold Sir Francis Chichester on Gipsy Moth IV completing a 226 day lap of the planet in 1966-67 with just one stop over in Sydney, Australia, and Sir Alec Rose – at a comparatively youthful 59 years-old – sailing around the world with stops in New Zealand and Australia, arriving back in England in 1968 to be knighted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Greenwich using the sword of that pioneering, freebooting circumnavigator, Francis Drake.

round the world event with stop overs only appeared in 1982 with the BOC Challenge (British Oxygen Corporation Challenge and subsequently, the Around Alone Race and Velux 5 Oceans). In 1989, the French introduced the Vendée Globe for a non-stop, solo circumnavigation and round the world races and speed record attempts have since proliferated and expanded with the multihull Jules Verne Trophy and the record breaking voyages of Ellen MacArthur and Francis Joyon and now the introduction of the first Portimão Global Ocean Race.


LITTLE UNDER 500 YEARS have passed since Magellan embarked on the world’s first circumnavigation and despite enormous advances in technology, communications and yacht design, the competitors in the Portimão Global Ocean Race will require the same basic courage, strength of character, endurance and seamanship as the 16th century pioneers. As Pigafetta wrote in a eulogy to his murdered, Portuguese Captain General: “The renown of so valiant and noble a captain will not be extinguished or fall into oblivion in our time. For among his virtues he was more constant in a very high hazard and great affair then ever was any other. He endured hunger better than others. He was a navigator and made charts. And that that was true was seen openly, for no other had so much natural wit, boldness or knowledge to sail once round the world.”


YEAR LATER SIR ROBIN Knox-Johnson and Suhaili completed the first non-stop solo circumnavigation event in the Golden Globe Race. However, similar events were slow to materialise: the fully crewed Whitbread Round The World Race (subsequently, Volvo Ocean Race) including a number of stop overs around the planet was first raced in 1973, but a second solo

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race


The Machine

WHEN SIR FRANCIS CHICHESTER and the other brave pioneering solo sailors of the 1960’s left the trace of their wake across the world’s oceans for us to follow, they did not know if the human mind could cope with the hardship and solitude. They did not know if their trusty steeds were up to the rigours and relentless battering of wind and waves, of extreme heat and cold. There was no precedent to follow in preparing their boats and during this embryonic era of small offshore yacht design, they had no idea if any particular piece of equipment, let alone the overall structure of the craft, would be fit for the task. Indeed, Chichester left aboard a purpose-designed yacht that, from the outset, proved to be tough both on him and itself. Robin KnoxJohnston spent much of his nonstop circumnavigation repairing his boat with the limited range of equipment carried onboard. Thanks to the path-finding exploits of these iconic sailors, a brand new adventure sport was created and with each generation of circumnavigators the level of knowledge and the development of reliable equip-



ment have bounded forward in huge leaps. The oceans and the weather, with their attendant risks and dangers, remain the same for today’s sailors, but their ability to succeed in their ambition to “get around” is massively enhanced through the rapid evolution of preparation techniques that now exist, coupled with technical advances in the design, build and equipment that form the platform beneath their sea-booted feet. Here we take a look at the principle areas required for a strong, reliable, fast yacht that can confidently start the Portimao Global Ocean Race, and finish!

STRUCTURE THE HULLS, DECK AND BULKheads (walls) of these yachts are built in what is called a sandwich construction. The sandwich filling is a strong foam while the sliced bread on either side is either fibreglass or vastly more expensive carbon fibre. This extremely robust form of construction is bonded together using a high strength resin. providing a strong, light structure. In high-load areas of the structure, such as where the mast and rigging are attached to the hull

and where winches and line diverters are bolted down, there is extra reinforcement. The yachts must have a number of watertight bulkheads in case of damage and flooding due to a collision. All of the safety bulkheads are fitted with access hatches so that the crew can pass through every area inside the yacht. Sadly, manmade debris in the ocean is common nowadays and if a yacht hits something solid at speed, it must be able to survive the impact and flooding must be restricted, hopefully, to just one watertight area. Whilst offshore and in the stopover ports, the crew will carry out regular and meticulous checks on the structure by tapping the high-load areas with a solid object. If there is a hollow sound then the bread has become unglued from the filling and they will have to carry out a repair using their onboard boatbuilding kit.

MAST AND RIGGING A TALL, STRONG MAST IS SUPPORTED by low-stretch rigging is needed to hang the sails from. Modern racing masts are usually constructed using carbon fibre to

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

minimise extra weight above the deck – every kilo “upstairs” only enhances the heel of the yacht and an over-heeled yacht is inefficient. The rigging will either be solid rods of high tensile steel or one of the modern, close-to-zero-stretch , rope hybrids such as Vectran or PBO. The latter are, again, very light. The rigging is then expertly tensioned by the yacht’s rigger and re-tuned in each port. Lubrication of all moving parts and constant vigilance in identifying potential issues with the mast and rigging are crucial with the crews making at least one trip aloft on each leg of the race for a thorough check. Prevention, as ever, being better than a cure. A small screw working its way out just 2mm can prevent a mainsail from being reefed down in a storm: a setback that, I assure you, can ruin your day! Protective covers on various parts of the mast will also reduce the risk of chafe on the sails when running before wind with the sailcloth pressed hard up against the spar.

SAILS MODERN SAILCLOTH IS LIGHT, strong, reliable and waterproof as opposed to the water-laden, weak, heavy sails of yesteryear: fabric that would fall to pieces after a few thousand miles of wind, rain and sun. The sail-maker aboard the sailing ships of old would be the busiest crew member onboard, wielding his needle and yarn day in, day out. That is not to say that modern sails do not split or fail but this is often due to a fabrication error or automatic pilot-error placing unnatural loads on the fabric. Racing sailors push their sails hard in order to go faster for longer, but it is essential that they find the right balance between going fast and protecting their sails – a tough place to pinpoint. Simple triangles of sailcloth are not enough, and the shapes of each individual sail are computer generated, the panels cut on a laser plotter and then glued and stitched together. Some sails are even custom made in one piece over a mould with all the cloth fibres oriented in the correct direction – a positive performance advantage….if you can afford them.

The Portimão Global Ocean Race yachts will carry up to 10 sails onboard, different sails for a variety of wind strengths and angles. Ensuring that the correct, most efficient combination is hoisted will place a high energy demand on the sailors. They will be the sailor’s best friends, and at times their worst enemies.

The amount of diesel carried onboard must be finely calculated as it is a heavy commodity, although the total payload decreases as fuel is consumed by the engine. Ideally, a yacht will cross the finish line running on fumes, much the same target as a Formula 1 race car - though for Lewis Hamilton a refuel pit is somewhat closer at hand.


The race yacht is, in many ways, a reflection of our modern world and its issues. We have focussed on developing the technology to empower us to go faster, know more, be better. But the raw energy supply to run it all has been left behind, ignored, and remains trapped in technology that is 100 years old. Let us hope that changes soon.

THE MODERN OFFSHORE SAILOR is armed with an impressive arsenal of electronic tools: digital displays for boatspeed, wind strength, wind angle; autopilot readouts; computer screens with electronic charts on display; electronic barometers glowing; sat-phones; illuminated switch panels and LED lighting. Indeed, the chart table of a modern offshore racing yacht is more akin to the flight deck of a space shuttle than a sailing craft. The micro-processor comes of age aboard these yachts and the plethora of equipment available to augment the crew’s ability to keep the boat on the right track, in the right weather and at the right speed is truly bamboozling. The essential new techno talents a skipper must possess to utilise these gadgets are formidable, but this does not change the fact that powering this sophisticated equipment requires electricity: Furthermore, NASA has yet to invent a 5000 mile long extension lead that is light enough to carry onboard. Therefore, the sailors must have much more than a surface knowledge of basic electricity generation and diesel motors as the true heart of the boat remains the smelly, noisy engine used to recharge the ship’s batteries every 10 to 12 hours – much the same as the engine on a car charges the car battery providing electricity for the headlights, heating, windows etc. We all know that sinking feeling when the car battery has run out of power and will not start the car. Well, imagine being aboard a yacht in mid-ocean in rough weather and being unable to start the engine to recharge the batteries and run the vital navigation equipment! Skill sets that range from trouble shooting a computer to fixing a recalcitrant diesel engine are pre-requisites for today’s sailors and choosing reliable, proven equipment onboard is a smart way to avoid problems.

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

SPARE PARTS ON A RACE AROUND THE WORLD the world onboard equipment will be subjected to the mileage equivalent of 15 years sailing for the average yacht. Plus it will be asked to support extremes of weather and motion normally avoided by pleasure craft. That is a big ask. Downtime through equipment failure is the enemy of the racing sailor to whom every minute counts. As is true onshore, often the most time-efficient solution is to replace a vital component rather than attempt a repair, so the choice of spare parts carried onboard are crucial. However, parts are heavy and, for a race yacht, heavy is slow. Choosing the spares is an essential task, often undertaken with the aid of a crystal ball. What will break? What could break? What will slow the boat down if it breaks? What equipment could we get by without if it fails? It is certain that the knowledge base for preparing these machines and the reliability of equipment is light-years on from Chichester’s day: a feature that permits today’s sailors to spend way more time sailing than fixing. Progress indeed. Though I somehow think that Chichester, given the choice, would prefer to have circumnavigated the way he did - without the intensity and stress of a race and with, perhaps, more time to reflect and smell the roses en route.


Staying in touch by OLIVER DEWAR


NTIL RECENTLY, MARINE COMMUNICATIONS systems were very rudimentary. In 1969, Armstrong and Aldrin transmitted the “One

small step…” audio and footage 380,000 km from Apollo 11 at Tranquility Base on the Moon’s surface to Mission Control in Houston with extraordinary clarity.


HE SAME YEAR, DURING during the first non-stop, round the world, singlehanded race, the Golden Globe, competitors survived on less advanced methods: Sir Robin Knox-Johnson’s radio failed early in the race and knowledge of his existence depended upon rare, visual sightings by deep sea commercial vessels, while fellow competitor, Bernard Moitessier, relied upon an ingenious, high-powered catapult as a means of propelling film canisters onto the decks of passing cargo ships. Today, communications and ocean racing are vital partners, both enhancing safety and feeding the increasing spectator interest in this unique sport. In offshore racing, a rapid response to any distress call from a yacht is crucial, whether this involves providing advice, reassurance or initiating the immediate rescue of a disabled yacht or injured skipper. During the Portimão Global Ocean Race, competitors will enter some of the most remote, empty and hostile ocean areas on the planet and the ability to coordinate an emergency operation is a fundamental for the Race precondition Organisation and the all-seeing, global network of the MRCC (Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre). In these desolate and dangerous waters far from land and the commercial shipping lanes, the sailors will often have to rely upon fellow competitors if the ultimate price – abandoning their stricken yacht – is the only option. Therefore, clear, concise communication and directions linked with pinpoint location accuracy is vital: a system that is achieved through onboard emer-


gency beacons, a satellite constellation providing 24 hour position coverage and a worldwide grid of land-based relay stations.


HE TECHNOLOGY BEHIND the emergency communications - reassuringly rich with acronyms - is usually triggered by the yacht’s EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) of which two are required for each competing boat as back-up in the unlikely event of equipment failure, but also providing position data for both yacht and liferaft if abandonment is undertaken. Once activated, the beacon’s signal is transmitted to the GEO (Geostationary Earth Orbit) satellites rotating in a fixed point above the planet, synchronised with the Earth’s rotation and the LEO (Low Altitude Earth Orbit) satellites which remain stationary while the Earth spins beneath them. The distress signal is then transmitted back to earth to the LUT (Local User Terminal) bases around the world and passed to the MRCC geographically closest to the Mayday and the highly experienced team at MRCC Falmouth, England. Each EPIRB has a unique signal registered to a specific yacht and information relevant to the stricken yacht’s crew, the boat and liferaft filed pre-race with all MRCC is immediately accessible. Through further communications with the MRCC, the Race Organisation and other competitors via Iridium satellite phone, the viability of a swift rescue through assistance from a commercial vessel in the proximity of the Mayday or by diverting another Portimão Global Ocean Race yacht to the constantly updated location of the emergency is achievable.

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

For the majority of the Portimão Global Ocean Race fleet, the Iridium satellite network provides the basis of all on board, ship-toshore communications. Benefiting from a constellation of 66 operational, cross-linked satellites, the system delivers total global coverage equipping the skippers with a means of downloading vital information with the added ability to transmit text, images and video from anywhere on the surface of the planet. All yachts are required to carry two Iridium phones by the race rules: a unit that is fixed and a chargeable handset that could be used in a liferaft. The competitors will rely on this system for incoming weather GRIB (Gridded Binary) data analysing the best tactical options available by overlaying the MaxSea Chopper file sent to the yachts every six hours with digital charts in the yacht’s on board computer. None of the yachts racing will carry the more traditional, far larger SSB (Single Side Band) radio, thus saving considerable weight in basic equipment and cabling required for a masthead antenna. The yachts will also be fitted with an Iridium tracker unit transmitting position data and each boat’s ‘vital signs’, including boat speed, compass heading, wind strength and wind direction.


DDITIONALLY, THE tracker unit can be adjusted remotely to send this data with increased frequency allowing the race organisation to monitor and poll each boat every minute if conditions are dangerous expected or damage on board has been reported, providing a very clear picture of the yacht’s status. As a back-up for the tracker unit, all the boats are required to carry an Inmarsat-C transmitter – the small inverted cone usually attached to the yacht’s pushpit – which constantly transmits position data accessible to the Search and Rescue services and includes a separate GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) activated by the push of a button.


GROWING ECENTLY, spectator and media interest in offshore racing and increasing corporate sponsorship has resulted in a spiralling demand for material from yachts involved in this sport. Advances in on board communications equipment and surge in web sophistication have combined to bring the offshore action ashore quickly and clearly in a diverse range of formats. Throughout the Portimão Global Ocean Race, the competitors will be in constant contact with the race organisation, making a mandatory, daily, safety call, but a requirement to send material is also a fundamental requirement. Race Director, Josh Hall, explains: “Part of the race rules ensure that the boats provide us with a certain amount of media driven data on a daily and weekly basis,” he says.


LTHOUGH THE YACHTS competing are unable to carry the range of satellite comms available to the bigger ocean racing yachts – the IMOCA Open 60s and Volvo Ocean Race boats – a carefully devised system is in place to maximise the material. “We won’t be expecting them to stream data back to us, but some of them will have the ability to hold a video conference call and that will be uploaded to the website,” continues Hall. The option of installing the recently developed Iridium OpenPort transmitter – a laptopsized unit fitted inside the boat – gives the skippers an opportunity to send video footage and images of life on board back to the race headquarters in addition to video material collected in each stopover. “In terms of non-safety communications from the boats, we will require that a certain number of text reports and photographs are emailed to us each week. This is a form of contract between the skippers and the race organisation, helping them promote their sponsors and providing us with material for the website,” says the Race Director. Failure to fulfil these demands will result in a time penalty applied at the end of each leg to encourage a flow of text and

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

images from the yachts and media prizes will be awarded during each stopover. In addition to the personal, textual logs and images, a leaderboard on the website will provide position reports and speed data every six hours at precisely the same time the yachts receive this vital, tactical information. “We’ve chosen the six hour polling to try and maintain the Corinthian and adventurous spirit of the race,” explains Hall. “Rather than the skippers knowing when another competitor has tacked within minutes of the manoeuvre, we hope that this six hour polling develops into a more individually tactical race with skippers having to rely on their skill, judgement, knowledge and instinct.” This same information is used to update the Géovoile Race Viewer every six hours providing a visual representation of the fleet’s location and provides a clear trace of each yacht’s course with an overlay of the current wind direction and strength. Yachtsmen and journalists with MaxSea software can download all the GRIB files from the Portimão Global Ocean Race website for an even more detailed picture of the offshore tactics.


VER THE PAST 40 YEARS, marine communication technology has changed dramatically since the era of the shorthanded, round the world sailing pioneers. However, the emotions, stress, isolation and physical and psychological demands of a gruelling offshore voyage remain the same. During the Portimão Global Ocean Race, every challenge facing the skippers will be recorded, reported and shared for the duration of this exceptional adventure.


Looking after Number 1 by OLIVER DEWAR



skippers in the Portimão Global Ocean Race, a

consistently high level of physical and psycho-

logical well being is crucial for safety and survival, but also for overall performance .

CORRECT MANAGEMENT OF EATING and sleeping routines are clearly primary factors and general fitness pre-race is essential. However, in offshore racing the astonishing number of variables experienced by sailors can destroy any preplanned dietary regime or proposed sleep programme and seriously undermine motivation and morale on board. Add into this equation the discomfort and disorientation of living in a confined, constantly mobile environment with the everpresent risk of injury and the backdrop for catastrophe and intense hardship is complete. Controlling, monitoring and adapting these diverse elements offshore is a vital component in a successful race campaign. It may be thought that achieving this balance is far easier on board double-handed boats with a shared work load and joint decision making: in reality, this is far from the truth.

EATING ESSENTIALLY, THERE ARE TWO distinct disciplines in offshore racing: Firstly, the well ordered routine of eating at set times (while charging batteries, when coming off watch or following the daily check around the boat) and ensuring that periods of 20 to 40 minutes sleep are taken in evenly spaced packages throughout a 24 hour period. Secondly, there is the more old school method of ‘eat when I’m hungry, sleep when I’m tired’. In practice, these two systems combine. It is obvious that food is fuel for the body, without which the ability to function properly or efficiently is dramatically reduced. The general, calorie intake rule for round the world yachtsmen is 3,000Kcal/day with this figure doubled for passages through the freezing wastes of the Southern Ocean.


All this energy is supplied by irradiated food (pre-cooked meals blasted by radiation to kill micro organisms and bacteria) or the freeze-dried variety (unappetising granules rarely resembling the photograph on the packaging requiring rehydration in hot water). Superficially, reaching the required energy intake appears to be purely a matter of cramming in the bulk. However, it is the sheer volume necessary to hit the upper end calorie target with monotonous and repetitive food that can pose problems. For example, the standard 24 hour army ration pack includes a ready-to-eat breakfast, hamburger and beans and chicken, pasta with mushrooms for main courses, a suet pudding and golden syrup supplemented by a tin of pâté, one packet of biscuits, an oatmeal block, a packet of fruit sweets, two chocolate bars, a sachet of orange drink powder, one vegetable stock drink, a sachet of instant soup, a sachet of instant drinking chocolate, coffee, tea and six sachets of sugar. While this poses the question of how the armed forces manage to consume this bulk and find any time for peacekeeping or ‘hearts and minds’ activity, the total calorie count for the 24 hour rations is only 4,000K/cal. Offshore there is rarely time to prepare such a military feast and burning fat reserves and body weight is an occupational hazard. There are, however, ways to minimise the repetition and boost the overall appeal of food on board: fresh fruit, meat and vegetables can survive on board without refrigeration for the opening stages of each leg, although the ‘tropical’ sections of the round the world route reduce this capability. Also, adding olive oil makes freeze dried food marginally more palatable.

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race



FOR SINGLE-HANDED SKIPPERS, there is limited opportunity to form any regular sleep pattern. Boat handling, sail changing, downloading weather information and constant maintenance or boat checks require a ‘cat nap’ culture of rest with short snatches of sleep.

TRUST BETWEEN TWO CO-SKIPPERS is of paramount importance, combined with an awareness of possible shortcomings, tolerance of any flaws and an appreciation of strengths and weaknesses with a good understanding of a potential limit, either physically or emotionally.

While this system provides the bare minimum of down time, slipping into the napping routine may not be achievable for days after the start of each leg with the close proximity of other boats, commercial shipping traffic, the disruption of a stop over and the adrenaline rush of setting off to sea all conspiring to prevent the skipper from spending any valuable time in his bunk. For the double-handed yachts, the sleeping system is very different and many of the crews will operate a three hours on watch, three hours off watch routine, splitting time spent running the boat, with a five hour period when both crew are operating together. In practice, the luxury of three hours rest is unlikely as sail changes, manoeuvres or any unforeseen issues will generally require both crew. In addition there is the danger of being too kind and allowing a crewmate an extra half an hour of sleep: a generous gesture, but one that can lead to resentment when it remains unreciprocated or cause additional fatigue leading to potentially dangerous errors or unnecessary risk taking.

In these respects, the doublehanded teams in the Portimão Global Ocean Race represent a fascinating view of two people working together towards the same goal in dangerous and physically demanding isolation. The character mix and interaction between the two sailors, therefore, is critical and no amount of training can prepare or equip the crews with the psychological tools to survive in this entirely unnatural environment: it is – in some ways – a matter of instinct, temperament and human experience. Single-handed skippers, by contrast, have a less complex atmosphere on board: if a solo sailor makes a bad tactical call or an unforced error, he can beat himself up emotionally, descend into a foul mood, sulk or strive to correct the mistake. For the solo sailor, the lack of any potential personality clash is offset by the absence of any close-hand support, advice or motivation enjoyed by the doublehanded teams.

WORST CASE RIGOROUS MEDICAL AND SURVIVAL training is undertaken before entry

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

to the Portimão Global Ocean Race can be confirmed. In the hefty NOR (Notice of Race) document, mandatory qualifications are required: “…each competitor shall file with the race organizers a certificate of satisfactory training…in an ISAFapproved personal survival course which includes heavy weather, CPR and medical topics.” While instances of abandoning a racing yacht are fortunately rare due to the increasing strength and stability of modern boats, the possibility of injury is a very real threat. Crushed fingers, violent bruising, concussion and smashed teeth are a few of the more common injuries sustained on board. The ability of the sailors to identify and treat any injury immediately and calmly is critical. However, the skill needed to mix and fit a temporary filling or stitch a pig’s dismembered foreleg in a classroom is very far from dealing with a medical emergency unassisted offshore. Similarly, attaching a catheter to a prosthetic dummy or administering the uncomplaining, medical mannequin with an enema is awkward and possibly embarrassing, but a million miles from performing the same procedure on an incapacitated or dehydrated co-skipper. Like almost every aspect of offshore sailing in the Portimão Global Ocean Race, the skippers are very much in charge of their own destiny.


Why do they do it? by BRIAN HANCOCK


H E C H I N E S E P H I L O S O P H E R L AO - T Z U S A I D, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” So too, in a way, does a circumnavigation of

the world. The hardest part is often leaving the dock. Once the first night at sea has slipped into their wake it will start to get easier for the sailors competing in the Portimão Global Ocean Race.

F THEY TRY AND IMAGINE the enormity of a complete circumnavigation it can overwhelm them, but instead they will have to break it down into manageable sections. One leg at a time, one week at a time, one day at a time and finally one watch at a time. Just get through each watch and soon the miles will be covered and the trip over.


too often in fact, water comes cascading down the companionway when the hatch is left open to circulate some fresh air below. Your clothes are wet, your bunk is soaked, your sleeping bag damp and in the very cold regions, starting to solidify into ice. The constant wet chafes skin, causes painful salt water rashes and generally makes life a bit testing.

It’s in these bite-size, manageable chunks that the day-to-day living takes place and it’s a foreign and somewhat alien environment for most new would-be circumnavigators. For a start it’s a world on an angle and with constant motion. Very rarely does the boat stop and sit squarely on the water. Most of the time it’s heeled well over and the sailors will have to contend with eating, sleeping and carrying out the rest of life’s little chores with one leg higher than the other. It’s exhausting. Think about constantly balancing yourself by bracing your feet and hanging on with your arms - all day, every day.

HE FOOD IS NOT GREAT either. The great English writer Samuel Johnson, without meaning to, summed up life on a sailboat quite succinctly when he pronounced: “A man in jail has more room, better food and commonly better company.” As none of the boats have any kind of refrigeration, all the food has to be freeze dried and rehydrated before eating. The water for rehydration is easy. All boats carry small “water makers” or reverse osmosis systems for making fresh water out of salt. The problem, however, is that it’s hard to bring food “back to life” and as such the freeze dried slop, while much better than it used to be, is still pretty grim.


T’S ALSO A WET ENVIRONMENT. On deck spray flies constantly but that is a sign that the boat is moving fast and most sailors are not too perturbed by the constant barrage of waves breaking over the boat. Most people, however, like to be able to go home at the end of the day, or at the very least get away from the constant wet, but “home” is a short walk down below and the cabin interior is by no means a dry environment. Boats leak, even new boats leak. The constant banging and twisting stress the hull and and water somehow gets in. It’s also dragged below by drenched sailors and often, far




LUS IT’S LONELY, FOR both the solo sailors as well as the double-handed teams. While it might sound good to have another person on board, the reality is that you hardly see the other person. When you sleep, they sail the boat, and vice versa. You cross at each watch change and while lingering and chatting sounds like a good idea in theory, the fact is most sailors will high-tail it for the warmth of the bunk rather than hang around. For the solo sailors there is no question about it. You

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race

are all alone in the world with the closest land just three miles below your keel. On the third leg of the race between Wellington and Cape Horn, the boats will sail over the remotest spot on earth. It’s about as far away as you can get from land anywhere on the planet. That’s out there, and with your position plotted on a chart and the expanse of the continents above, it starts to look far from just about anywhere.


O THIS ALL BEGS THE obvious question. “Why do they do it?” Why would seemingly sane people chuck it all in, buy a boat and attempt to sail it around the world? There are better answers than the one given in response to being asked why climbers climb Everest - “Because it’s there!? Yes, a circumnavigation under sail is one of life’s major accomplishments, but there is more to it than that. There is something addictive about having firm and fixed goals. Most people wander through life without any goals, without any kind of blueprint to




show them the way. When you have a goal, a worthwhile one like a race around the world, life become much simpler, more defined, and ultimately more satisfying. There is nothing like a bit of focus to get you out of bed in the morning and for the sailors competition in the PGOR there is plenty of focus in their everyday. They are focused on getting up, getting dressed to go on deck, focused on racing the boat, taking care of themselves, beating the com-


pétition and doing it all over again in four hours. The days roll into each other, the miles slip silently out into your wake behind you and before you know it you have finished your first week at sea. Then another, then a month, then a leg and by taking it one day at a time, one watch at a time you have demolished the course. The healthy living - no wine with that freeze dried - the fresh air - plenty of purified air coming right off antarctica - and the simplicity of uncluttered living and by the time Portimão looms on the horizon ahead most of the sailors will be reluctant to give it up.


members of the Royal Cape Yacht Club welcome the sailors competing

The Yacht Club de Ilhabela, one of the

in the Portimão Global Ocean Race to

loveliest yacht clubs in the Southern

the City of Cape Town. We extend a

Hemisphere, will welcome the sailors

warm South African welcome to you

of the Portimão Global Ocean Race to

and your families.

the tropical paradise of Ilhabela, Brazil.

Official Race Programme of the Portimão Global Ocean Race


Global - official magazine of the Portimão Global Ocean Race.  

Global - official magazine of the Portimão Global Ocean Race. This magazine was written, produced and presented as an online and conventiona...

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