Please wait...
HOME AUCKLAND STOPOVER HOSPITALITY THE RACE SCHOOLS NEWS VOLUNTEERS PORT PARTNERS GALLERY SITEMAP
 
 
 

Host Partner




ALL NEWS

The man at the helm of the Race

 

 

For a guy with such a challenging job, Volvo Ocean Race Director Jack Lloyd seems incredibly relaxed.

 

Perhaps it 's due to many years of experience in America’s Cup and Volvo race management or maybe it is his Kiwi can-do attitude, or both. His role is to delicately balance the safety and well-being of the crew and yachts in the Race, the voracious public appetite for the latest information from the boats while being sympathetic to the needs of the sponsors, whose support is essential for an international event the magnitude of the Volvo Ocean Race.

 

Each Volvo Open 70 yacht is equipped with a plethora of electronic gear including Inmarsat (International Maritime Satellite) transmitters that send and receive information between the boats and Race Control in Alicante, Spain.

 

Through a dedicated Race Management System, weather and other safety information is sent to each boat twice daily. Bespoke transmitters on the boat send information such as position, course, boat speed, wind direction and speed, wave height, sea temperature and even data on the stresses the hulls may be experiencing while pounding through rough seas.

 

Race Control constantly monitors progress of the yachts and can determine within minutes if there is an issue on board. When it comes to safety at sea, time is of the essence. Data from the boats is posted to the Volvo Ocean Race website along with regular video, photos, voice and written stories hot off the boats.

 

To prevent any outside assistance to the competing yachts, Race Control monitors all voice and email communications and the yacht’s access to the internet is restricted. Race Control must protect the integrity of the Race while balancing the need for crew to share a birthday wish, happy anniversary or other important news with family and friends back home.

 

According to Jack, the biggest challenge with the Auckland Stopover is the short layover time between two very long race legs. The crew, whose caloric burn greatly exceeds intake while racing, have little time to replace their body mass. Every bit of electronic gear must be inspected and serviced to ensure it is ready for the next leg. And all this must happen in a week or less.

 

The next Leg takes the fleet through the Roaring Forties of the Southern Ocean where icebergs born in the Antarctic replace tropical coral reefs as the hard stuff the navigators must endeavour to avoid.

 

Jack’s challenge is to determine where there is the potential for icebergs along the route and set avoidance waypoints accordingly. This must be done prior to the start of the Leg. “Nobody likes to sail to a moving target,” says Lloyd.

 

Twenty-one Kiwis on five of the six strong fleet will be sailing home to New Zealand on this Leg but, according to Jack, Auckland is a special destination for most of the crews. Many of them have a strong affection for the City of Sails from previous Volvo Ocean Races and/or America’s Cup campaigns.

 

Those who haven’t been here are looking forward to the legendary warm Auckland welcome and experiencing some of the wonderful treats that only New Zealand has to offer.

 

MORE NEWS