Official Supporter of TEAM ABN AMRO in the Volvo Ocean Race

TEAM ABN AMRO | VOLVO OCEAN RACE | Leg 2 | Cape Town - Melbourne

Impressive second for ABN AMRO TWO

21 January 2006: ABN AMRO TWO today crossed the finish line in Melbourne in a well deserved second place at 00.20 local time (13.20 GMT), 4.20 hours behind their sistership ABN AMRO ONE.
The result marks the conclusion of what has been a fantastic leg for Seb Josse and his young crew as they became world record holders with a fantastic 24 hour distance run covering an astounding 563 miles at an average speed of 23.4 knots.

The team were jubilant as they stepped foot on land for the first time in 19 days. The ‘kids’ are consistently proving themselves as one of the strongest contenders in this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race and have spent much of the leg clipping at the heels of ABN AMRO ONE.

After this leg, ABN AMRO TWO now moves into a comfortable second place overall, with 24 points, behind ABN AMRO ONE on 29 points.

Sébastien Josse, the French skipper of ABN AMRO TWO and one of the world’s top ocean sailors, commented as he crossed the line “I am so proud of what the guys have achieved over this tough leg from Cape Town. Not only did we set the world distance record, but we sailed intelligently and were always pushing ABN AMRO ONE right up to finish line. The team spirit amongst the guys remained positive everyday and this result is a credit to all the hard work by every member of the crew. We had fun as well, but most of all I’m just relieved to be here!”

Josse paid tribute to Simon, who was instrumental in the success this leg, adding “Si Fi is a great navigator and we work really well together. I trust him implicitly and value his judgements and analysis. Having a quick boat is not enough in this race. It is so important to make strong tactical decisions and yet again, he was spot on.”

Simon Fisher (Si Fi), the young British navigator on ABN AMRO TWO, was not only celebrating a brilliant second place finish, but also his birthday, “We’re all really pleased to have made it to Melbourne with no major problems and to have remained competitive throughout the leg. I celebrated my birthday on the boat yesterday, along with Simeon, with some freeze-dried food. Although the light winds meant we didn’t get to arrive on my birthday, I’m sure we’ll all have a few cold beers to celebrate now we are in.”

It has been a great week for Si Fi, who turned 28 on January 20. Not only did he bring ABN AMRO TWO home in second and celebrate his birthday, he also managed to surprise his mum by calling her from the Southern Ocean as she was getting married on Wednesday. “I managed to get through to mum from the middle of the ocean to give her my best wishes on her big day. She sounded really pleased to hear from me and it was great for me to be part of the celebrations, even though I was calling from the ocean on the other side of the world.”

Summing up the leg and achievement of ABN AMRO TWO, Si Fi concluded, “This has been a good race so far for us. We have worked hard to prepare the boats and sails as best we can, train ourselves physically and to be on top of the tactics for each leg and in shore race; and now it looks to be paying off. I am really pleased to be a part of this team and we’re looking forward to the next leg in the Southern Ocean. We are all well aware that this is a long race and anything can happen so this stop over will be busy for us getting ready for the next Southern Ocean leg but we will also have some time to relax which we are all looking forward to.”

The second leg in the Volvo Ocean Race from Cape Town to Melbourne has taken its toll on the rest of the fleet, with only the two ABN AMRO boats performing consistently and coming through the Southern Ocean relatively unscathed. The first 24-hours of the leg saw two boats, Ericsson and Brasil 1, turn immediately back to shore in South Africa. Ericsson was forced to pull out of the leg. While Brasil 1 were able to set sail again for Melbourne, they suffered a dismasting over 1,000 miles from Australia. Meanwhile, movistar and Pirates of the Caribbean have both been plagued by keel problems. Throughout all this the Juan Kouyoumdjian designed ABN AMRO boats have continued to forge ahead, setting a new world distance record and sailing consistently well.

The crews will now stay in Melbourne and prepare the boats with the shore team for the in port race on February 4 and the start of leg 3, which takes the race to Wellington (New Zealand) on February 12.


ABN AMRO ONE wins Leg 2!

21 January 2006, 09:30 GMT
ABN AMRO ONE, carrying its 'Making more possible' spinnaker, crossed the finish line at 20:08:40 (local time) or 09:08:40 GMT today, ahead of its sistership ABN AMRO TWO after a leg filled with suspense, drama and tension. ABN AMRO TWO followed, 31 miles behind.

Looking pretty exhausted but relaxed and relieved as they crossed the finish line, the mostly freshly-shaven sailors cruised into the finish. Many of the sailors on board sported what appeared to be new facial hairdos. Tony Mutter, Justin Slattery, Sidney Gavignet and Brad Jackson had big mustaches, and there were big sideburns on Dave Endean.

Mark 'Crusty' Christensen, the ABN AMRO ONE watch captain who had to sit out this leg, went out in a rubber boat to greet his teammates before they went through customs. One of the sailors, who shall remain unnamed, apparently did not have his passport on board and a hasty rescue operation was underway to retrieve it from shore.

Mark chatted with crew ONE for a minute before heading back to shore. "They were all relieved, they had had enough. They were all exhausted."

Mark said he saw the tiredness in their faces. "They're very very relieved people, this leg finish couldn't have come any later. Mentally they're pretty numb." Mark said that Brad Jackson told him the leg had been relentless physically, just nonstop for the whole period.

Mike said of the last days of the leg, that "we knew at some point we would get beaten by the guys on ABN AMRO TWO. Maybe the others weren't expected to be beaten by them! We have Grand Prix boats here. We have to work out the pace you can sail a V70 at. But we are here and we won! This boat has been our baby, and she has done us proud.”

Mike spoke for all his crew when he said, “the stress was immense from the minute we left Cape Town. It was the most stressful. Every day it was something big. Even yesterday, we were sailing down a front. For sure, it was full on. The boat did everything it was supposed to do.”

A tricky procedure to shore
Before ABN AMRO could reach shore and their family and friends, they had to literally tip their boat over and hang the mast over the water in order to cross under Melbourne's biggest bridge. Given that the mast on these Volvo 70's is over 20 metres high, they would not fit under the Bolte Bridge.

In a tricky maneuvre, the crew had to weigh the top of the mast down with a bucket to heel it far enough down into the water.

The shore crew were swarming over ABN AMRO ONE getting her ready to broach under the Bolte Bridge. Skipper Mike Sanderson chatted to reporters and family on his cellphone as the boat was readied for the slightly tricky maneuvre. Spotlights and lightning, and tens of thousands of cheering fans, greeted the athletes as they docked.

ABN AMRO ONE began to list or tip to one side slowly as TEAM rigger Chris Holland sat atop it. Meanwhile, below, a black bag full of water was attached to the mast via ropes and tugged away to list the boat even further under the bridge.

After ONE was physically dragged across the dock under the Bolte Bridge by a very careful shore crew. Its water ballast or weight was loosed from the mast once the 20 metre mast had cleared. The nearby crowd cheered and clapped, whilst a nearby boat played an unofficial national anthem, "Down Under" by Men at Work.

ABN AMRO ONE hoisted its three winner flags, one red, yellow and green, for winning the leg, the last in-shore race and for overall race leader before sailing into Victoria Harbour to immense applause. Skipper Mike Sanderson's fiancee Emma Richards was on board to share his happiness.

In advance of their arrival, much of the city of Melbourne seemed to be assembled on the docks to welcome the sailors in. ABN AMRO ONE's theme song, Black Betty, was played from the sea so as not to disturb unduly the neighbours in the residential area. Mike, absolutely happy with the great result, said "a couple of times I worried we were too conservative but Stan did a great job. I am really relieved. It has been a very stressful last 18 hours, but that is nothing compared with the leg as a whole. I have never known anything like it."

Navigator Stan Honey said, "we won by staying between them and the finish. Remarkably the mood wasn't that bad because we knew the lead was hard to keep. But you can't lose a 400 mile lead without it taking a toll. Overall it was absolutely exhilarating!"

Sanderson said, “ worked hard sched by sched, gaining two or three miles a head, and then hit the wall. I got what I wanted, getting here first. The boat is in great shape, fantastic condition. I have to thank the design team and the guys on board. You can't ever be confident, I wanted to arrive with a bigger lead like the one we had in Cape Town!”

Sanderson continued, “it's unbelievable to be here. We got a fantastic reception here in the bay, we drifted in so everyone could get a good look at us. We knew the reception into Melbourne would be huge. I told everyone in my logs, there will be some excited boys to see you! It's awesome to have two wins! Very exciting! I can't say enough about the guys, they did an amazing job. They sailed the boat beautifully. We are over the moon to be here, very excited everyone came down to see us!"



UPDATE 2200GMT 20 JANUARY 2006 | ETA Melbourne : 12 hours

ABN AMRO TWO closes in by another four miles on ABN AMRO ONE in three hours. TWO is sailing at nine knots and has turned well offshore now after making their initial landfall close on the west side of Cape Otway and seem to have found more wind. They have 14 knots at the moment, a headwind, but it is almost three times the wind that ONE has.

ABN AMRO ONE has stuck to her guns, staying right inshore to try to extract the maximum from whatever thermal breezes there might be, but as a result, an unforecast wind is blowing offshore that has passed her by and ABN AMRO TWO seems to be making the best of it. ABM AMRO ONE was 40 miles from the entrance to Port Phillip Bay at the 2200GMT poll, having made ten miles in three hours.

If things stay as they are and TWO continues to make ground at the same rate, at the heads the two boats will be just about in sight or each other. Mike Sanderson’s worst nightmare will have come true. In a drag race up the harbour to the finish is ABN AMRO ONE faster than TWO? In previous days she has been always that tiny bit faster, but in really light airs? Remember that TWO beat ONE in the ultralight winds of the first In Port race in Galicia.

© Volvo Ocean Race 2005 - 2006

Log 86 Skipper Mike Sanderson: Anticipation is the name of the game

20 January 2006 00:28 UTC
With 220 miles to go to the entrance to Port Philip bay, that is a big mile stone for the Kiwis on board, it is the distance from the Top of New Zealand for the sprint down the coast from when you used to finish Whitbread and Volvo Legs in Auckland. In the Days of Steinlager II and New Zealand Endeavour it would be here that you would start to pick up the first spectator boats, some of which would go all the way through to Auckland with you, some just to the cruising destinations like Whangaroa or the Bay Of Islands, but it used to be just amazing to watch this Pied Piper like effect on a flotilla of boats, that by the time you reached Auckland was in it's many hundreds.

No such luck these days, but then again it's not like a day out cruising trying to keep up with a Volvo 70 doing 20 knots would be a whole lot fun anyway.

At this stage of the race in the last leg to Cape Town we were faced with a scary forecast and so that took a lot of the fun out of it. Once again we have wind speeds on our expected forecast down as low as 1.5 knots, and even though we have got a 56 mile lead on ABN AMRO TWO, the fat lady hasn't sung on this leg yet... In fact relatively speaking she hasn't probably even got out of bed yet on the day of the Opera !!!

What do we hope for with such a grim forecast? Well Port Philip Bay is famous for it's sea breezes, and even though we will be approaching land at the evening the most we can hope for is a land Drainage effect where the land cools down quickly at night and basically instead of a sea breeze that blows onshore, drainage would be offshore and will be hard in on the coast. Then we need to hope to be lucky with the tides at the entrance to Port Philip as it can be up to four knots there.

So please, please if you are a ABN AMRO ONE fan... fingers crossed.

Waiting in Melbourne to see us in along with my Dad and Rosie is a man that has probably had the single biggest effect in my motivation to be a good ocean racer, Don St Clair Brown, he is Rosie's Dad but was also my late grand father, Dr Gerald Brown's, very good friend, I don't have room unfortunately here to talk about how much he has done for New Zealand offshore racing, but for me he has been a huge motivation.

The year my grand father died was my first year in my Optimist, unfortunately my Grandfather never saw me sailing in the Optimist, but I remember when I did my very first Ocean Passage a whopping 2 mile stretch across a sheltered harbour, with my parents escorting me in our family trailer sailor. I was so proud that I sent him a photo. I remember feeling pretty honoured when about 15 years later I saw the photo was still on his office desk at his house.

Anyway, of all the many things that Don has taught me over the years, the two that have stuck the most vividly, are firstly how to tie a dinghy on... but the most influential is based on his famous 50 foot Ben Lexen designed yacht Anticipation. Don once said to me while we were on her... "Michael, Anticipation is the name of the game"... no truer words could be said for when it comes to racing a Volvo 70.

See you in Melbourne.


Mike Sanderson - skipper


Log 65 Navigator Simon Fisher: The boat catches fire and the old compass comes into play

18 January 2006, 23:36 GMT
Today we had a bit of an electrical fire on board. We were sailing along quite happily when Seb popped his head out the hatch and said, get on down here. I came downstairs and there was smoke everywhere and a fire had started in the back of the nav station. Luckily we were able to switch everything off and put it out in time. Its wiped out a few things and will make a bit difficult for the rest of the leg.

The first priority was to get the electronics up and running again. In the meantime, the boys were just steering off the regular compass. The next job was to get the computer to talk to the instruments again so that I could find out where we were, which we managed to do. At the moment we are just missing a few things like our messaging terminal, our Sat C and also one of our compasses has gone down, oh and the media desk. Hopefully we will get some of that working again, but at the moment those things arent working.

It was probably at least 10 minutes before we managed to make sure that the boat wasnt live any more and that there wasnt any more smoke coming out. The problem with electrical fires is that it is quite hard to tell where the cause is. We could see which wires were burning and we could get rid of those, but for quite a while the whole boat was live and if you touched anything electrical you got 24 volts through you. In a couple of places it was ground into the hull and causing burning there. It was about 10 minutes before we got it all under control. I had to go through the boat and start chopping bits away.

No one was hurt or anything like that.

Si Fi


Log 85 Skipper Mike Sanderson: Developing ulcers - why do we do this to ourselves?

18 January 2006, 1:59 UTC

If I can get through this race without a stomach Ulcer from the constant worry I will be amazed, man if it hasn't been one thing on this leg then it has been another. Still we are bashing our way into an awful sea state in the Great Australian bight.

It's not like it has been that windy, with the wind speeds between 18 and 25 knots, but just the constant launching off waves only to land with this hideous crack has just about worn us all out, this is one of those times when you have to take a seriously good look at yourself for enjoying Ocean Racing, why we do this to ourselves, I will never quite know.

We are now through under the 1000 mile mark, in nice running conditions just a couple of days away, sadly that's not the case at this time, looks like we will be doing this for at least another 36 hours before it will hopefully start to free us enough to get some reaching sails on.

The only upside of the conditions is that we seem to be going well, so that is one bonus, our final approach though is looking pretty tricky, but surely we have had enough parking lots for one leg?? Please?? Anyway, the famous saying stands again. Time will tell.

If you are able to come in and see the boats arrive in Melbourne, one thing is for sure: WE will be very pleased to see you!!




Leg 2/Day 14 - Update 11: ABN AMRO ONE and TWO in first and second place at scoring gate

by TEAM ABN AMRO Brazilian correspondent Carlos 'Lua' Mauro from Melbourne

16 January 2006, 4:00 p.m. GMT
On 16 January, the two ABN AMRO boats finally took the right turn on the corner of 37 South with 117 East.

Eclipse Island was rounded respectively at 05:40 and 06:48 GMT by ABN AMRO ONE and TWO. These results added 3.5 and 3 points respectively to their totals. At 10:52 GMT movistar made the same turn and was also 2.5 points richer. The Spanish boat, though, soon after at 11:32 GMT, made a pit stop of roughly one hour duration in the city of Albany, off the Australian southern coast, in order to assess damage to its keel. It continued without losing third place to the Pirates of the Caribbean. Pirates rounded Eclipse Island in fourth position at 14:38 GMT and soon (around 16:30 GMT) followed in the steps of movistar, also stopping for damage evaluation and repairs.



The ABN AMRO TEAM navigator forecast of the coming days

by Mike Quilter

16 January 2005, 05:00 UTC
The ridge of light airs is now behind the boats, and from here on they have good pressure. It is a straight forward reach into Eclipse Island. ABN AMRO ONE and TWO should be able to collect there respective points at the Island.

After that the picture gets a little harder for them. They will probably have a day or even two days on the wind before they can start reaching again. The first day may be in 15 to 20 knots, but on the second day after the Island it could get reasonably fresh, say 25 to 30 knots.

One option may be to stay on the wind on stb tack, and put some miles in to the east, or even north of east, along the Australian coast, rather than heading straight back to the south. The wind is due to clock left eventually, so by putting one in along the Australian coast it may set them up for the left hander. Also the breeze is more easterly the further east they go, so they may get a better heading away from the Aussie coast when they eventually tack and head south.

Either way they are riding the back of a high pressure all the way to Melbourne. After they leave the coast and head SE on port tack, it could well get fairly fresh for a while, but slowly the wind will moderate and lift, enabling them to start heading east at pretty good pace.

So the next couple of days are basically upwind in moderate to fresh conditions.

Mike Quilter



Log 62 Navigator Simon Fisher: Sneaking into first position and waiting for those grey hairs to kick in

15 January 2006, 14:30 UTC
Hi There,

Its been a big day for ABN AMRO TWO today - The boats first birthday, complete with party, silly hats and a sing song.

It's been a big day for racing too though. As of a couple of hours ago we have finally left the ridge of high pressure that has impeded our progress over the last few days and seen our lead over Movistar reduced from 110 to 12 miles. However it's not been all bad, after all that drifting it is good to be heeled over again and going fast. To make things sweeter as of the last position report we have managed to sneak into first position ahead of our stable mate ABN AMRO ONE. There is no time to celebrate this one though, this is early days, and this is only the beginning of what will be a pretty nail biting conclusion to leg two. With over 1500 miles to sail there is a lot of golf left in this hole as they say!!

The fleet is now all compacted up and the race can effectively start again. With everyone in such close quarters we will no doubt have to find another gear in order to get to Melbourne in good shape as our passage across the Great Australian Bight looks increasingly tricky. Bring on more head scratching, tough decisions and yet again more grey hair!

For the short term though we are back on the drag racing strip - 270 miles to the scoring gate and some more points up for grabs. Right now the atmosphere is one of focus and determination - the boys want this one real bad. With our nose just out in front the pedal is firmly on the floor.

Cheers for now,

Si Fi. Simon Fisher - navigator



The boys go ‘buffalo girls’

By Andy Rice of Sailing Intelligence

15 January 2005
The mood is extremely cheerful aboard ABN AMRO TWO. Not surprising really when you’ve just taken up the race lead. Navigator Simon Fisher spoke after seeing the 1000 hours sked this morning, which ranked them seven miles ahead of ABN AMRO ONE. “It is a fairly tenuous lead, but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t put a smile on our faces,” said Si Fi. “It’s hard not to be happy about leading the rankings. But we’re not getting big-headed about it. It’s just head down to try and keep movistar behind us. The race is definitely on now. These are nervous times!”

Unlike their team mates on ABN AMRO ONE, ‘the kids’ have enjoyed a much smoother transition through this ridge of high pressure. “We’ve been running out of breeze and movistar has been coming up from behind, but at the same time we’ve been catching up on ABN AMRO ONE. Luckily we’re getting to the new breeze and it should start filling in. Hopefully we can consolidate this position.”

When Si Fi spoke at 1100 hours this morning, it sounded like they were certainly beginning to feel the effects of the new breeze. “We’re reaching in 7 or 8 knots of breeze, 115 true wind angle, and it’s getting more reachy as we go along. Right now we’d certainly rather be in our position (compared with ABN AMRO ONE). Because we’re 40 miles to windward, we’ll be cracked sheets coming into Eclipse Island so it should be a faster angle. I remember the advice Mike Quilter gave me about coming into Eclipse and we’ve applied it to quite good effect, so I’ve got to give him credit for this one.”

Si Fi admitted he also had to give some credit to ABN AMRO ONE. “It’s a pretty tough situation for the guys out in front. It’s favoured the boats behind because the further back you are the smoother run and the less fighting through no breeze that you have to do. We had two attempts at making our final approach, but we’ve been using ABN AMRO ONE as a feeler. We saw them sail into light winds, so we changed sails and put the bow down again and went further east.

“So having them as a feeler in front has made our lives a little easier. They’ve just had the weather data to go on, but we’ve had the benefit of watching their progress. We got a sked through a day or so ago, and we saw they only had 6 knots so I thought, I’m certainly not going to go chasing them, so we decided to sail around them, do a bit of the ‘buffalo girls’.”

While ABN AMRO ONE has got moving again, Si Fi says he’s just as concerned about movistar coming up from behind. “She’s about 12 miles off our quarter. If they get any closer we’ll be able to see them over the horizon, but now we’re getting moving again, so hopefully that won’t happen! But they’ve certainly done a good job.”

Si Fi is analysing the weather data as carefully as ever, not only for now but for what lies ahead. “We’re following the weather data quite carefully and quite cautiously, because we’re still feeling our way through this ridge. And we’re looking ahead at the options past Eclipse. There are a couple of interesting options, one could be to sail more miles but potentially quicker by going south again.” First things first, though, and ABN AMRO TWO must see if they can win the race to the next scoring gate at Eclipse Island.


Log 61 Navigator Simon Fisher: Power versus patience - finessing this next phase

14 January 2006, 14:23 UTC

Hi There,

After a brief day of sunshine yesterday, today saw a return of the fog and drizzle we have come so accustomed to in the days past.

The race is now reaching a critical stage as we near the high pressure which blocks our way to the scoring gate off the South of Australia.

Over the past 24 hours our lead over Movistar has been more than halved as we sail towards lighter air. The sea is now flat apart from a slow rolling swell which is assisting our progress north-east a little. It is a far cry from the big seas and high winds that we had just days ago but it continues to be a battle against the elements all the same.

Power, aggression and brute force is now replaced with finesse and patience as we coax the boat through the ever dying breeze.

Despite the difficult conditions ahead the mood on board is really good. Everyone is very determined to get through this patch of light air in better shape than those around us. Each position report that comes in could make for depressing reading but we have taken comfort in the fact that whilst we may be losing miles to those behind we are also gaining miles on the boat ahead. Everyone is in the same boat (excuse the pun) and it is up to us to try and handle it better. Once again the race has been thrown wide open and over the next 24 hours anything could happen...


Si Fi. Simon Fisher - navigator


Log 82 Skipper Mike Sanderson: Friday the 13th means worry, worry, toil and trouble

Skipper Mike Sanderson

January 13 2006, 20:17 UTC
Friday the 13th... This Race is turning me into the most superstitious person, Stan and I have this piece of wood built in to the nav station that basically our hands rest on while we are sitting here, so we are pretty much covered to say anything we like and we will be touching wood if ever one of us does say something that could be seen as slightly cocky or presumptuous. Then there is always from both of us this lunge for the bit of wood trim, it's going to be well worn by the time we get there.

I am also not really a jewellery person, but my mother gave me a very traditional gift for a Maori Mother to give her son when he goes off in life, it's called a Taonga (Pronounced Toe-unga) and for all the Maori people who might be reading this you will have to excuse me if I have got the spelling wrong, basically it is a Green-stone carving that you wear around your neck, the design symbolises the meeting of the seas, and the safe return trip for my crew and I. It is carved out of South Island of New Zealand Green-stone and was transported being blessed on the way to it's place of Carving at the Northern most city of New Zealand. Anyway, it is beautiful, I didn't have it for the first in-port race and we came last, but I have worn it on the boat ever since and so far so good. So it's not going anywhere.

I know of one other sailor who wears one, and she isn't even a Kiwi but I know it is now very important to her, and that is Dame Ellen MacArthur. She received hers in New Zealand before she set out on that famous Vendee Globe of her's, so if it has had anything to do with Ellen's success and safety, then mine isn't coming off.... superstitious..who me?? Never. So lets just say I am looking forward to Friday the 13th being over.

Stan Honey at his nav station
Life on board if you don't bother to look at the position reports has been awesome, have been smoking along with the big gear up, often doing speeds up to 29 and 30 knots... very cool. The boat feels great and so far so good its my ambition to have a race boat that is 100% in one piece for when we get to Eclipse Island.

Obviously Stan and I have been beating ourselves up about how to get the boat through this ridge of high pressure without losing all our lead. The fact of the matter is that we will just have to see what happens. We think we have picked the best spot to go through and we have done all the homework we can and are positioned in a good spot having a loose cover on the guys behind. So really there is nothing more that we can do, Mark Crusty Christensen when he is here often comes into the Nav station and says to us not to worry about things of which you have no control over... yes, all very true. But it doesn't make watching a 350 odd mile lead get eaten away though any easier. I have always had this feeling even when the lead was at it's biggest that we would be seeing these other guys again before reaching Eclipse... I hope I am wrong.

As I say a lot.... Time will tell

Talk soon


Mike Sanderson - Skipper



Log 82 Skipper Mike Sanderson: The facts of life about breaking in boats

13 January 2006, 08:15 UTC

Well well, and then there was four!! Very disappointing news this morning to hear that Paul Cayard's Pirates have suffered structural damage. Man this leg has been tough on the boats. It will be very interesting to see
what the race management and the measurers do in Melbourne with regards to the boats' current certificates?

If Michael Schumacher goes out on dry tyres in the wet and drives at dry speed and then spins off that's not Bernie's fault...I am sure that's not what happened here as I know that Paul (Cayard) often talks about the lessons learnt on this leg in the 97-98 race when both EF Language and the boat I was on, Merit Cup (the two boats that finished that race first and second) were beating ourselves to death towards the back of the pack with all sorts of issues going on.

Quite clearly with these boats we are seeing some load cases that the models that are used to design them can't predict. We have broken parts both during the race and more so pre-race which I know that designer Juan K. and his team just say isn't possible. Our tiller arm on the first leg was one case, and the canting keel system break that we had on ABN AMRO ONE pre-race has had, until quite recently, plenty of people scratching heads.

Some sage advice
A very famous French single-handed sailor Michel Desjoyeaux, a man that has won the Vendee Globe race in a canting keel boat, and is the master of sailing the very fragile Open 60 Trimaran's, has said two pretty big statements to me over the last year or so that I have really listened to.

The first one was right before I started my first single handed race last year, Mich came up to me and said "Mike, do you mind if I give you some advice..." I was so excited, I was waiting for this great secret on how to tack or gybe, or maybe find out the trick he uses at getting up the mast when single handed.

Anyway, out it came:
"I think you should move your Argos beacon!!!" (A race supplied instrument which they had put on the back of the boat.) "It might get washed off."

I was so disappointed. Here I was, about to learn from the master, and all he spoke about was my Argos beacon!! However, a few months later I was talking to him about the new Volvo boat that we where building and once again, just as we where wrapping up the conversation, Mich said: "Mike can I give you some advice?"

This time I was like..."yeah, sure..."(what this time, thinking of the Argos situation)...And he said: "Nobody truly knows the dynamic loads yet of a canting keel boat." And that hit home pretty hard.

Now I know that Juan K. will shoot me for saying this, even though I did go on about it a lot during the design phase. And I am sure that Russ Bowler and Bruce Farr (who I know so well over the years) will also think that I have gone slightly mad out here, but it must be the case:

All the boats now in their lifetime have broken bits which they "shouldn't have", so quite clearly there are dynamic loads going on which the models aren't detecting.

The facts of life
We have to over-build things and in doing so bury the gremlin. And we have to find the limits gently as to how hard we can push these new boats. Both of which are possible. When ABN AMRO TWO broke the 24 hour record yesterday, the conditions were too bouncy for us.

We need flatter water than that, but they are a stronger boat. And the price they have paid for that stronger boat is less lead on the keel, so upwind and tighter reaching they are slower then us. Those are just both facts of life. So yesterday for us we had to be at 90% while they where at 100%.

I think in Melbourne, the race management group will have to give us the two weeks to do only the changes the teams and the designers think is necessary to make the boats tough enough. And then we have to re-weigh and take lead off our keels accordingly. It is the only solution I can see that is going to get this fleet around the world.

So to wrap it up, a saying that I know I say too much when being interviewed, "Time will tell."

Talk soon.


Mike Sanderson



The TEAM navigator forecast of the coming days

by Mike Quilter

13 January 2006
The situation at present is that both ABN AMRO boats are running in a westerly regime with a large high pressure system to the north of them. The high will dominate the scene for the rest of the leg to Eclipse Island as it slides under Cape Lewinn and into the Great Australian Bight. If they head north too soon they will slow down in the centre of this ridge of high pressure, so they have to delay heading straight for Eclipse Island until the high has slid through above them.

ABN AMRO ONE will probably keep heading east without making any northing until approx 110E. Then he will have to start heading up and pray that the ridge will not treat him too harshly. Below the ridge are westerlies, above it on the Aussie coast are easterlies. ABN AMRO ONE has to cross an area of light winds as he changes from the westerlies to the easterlies at about 40S and 113E.

The situation for ABN AMRO TWO is slightly better, as he will be coming up a little later than ABN AMRO ONE so the ridge will have had a bit more time to slip through. Nevertheless, ABN AMRO TWO still has to cross the ridge and get into the easterlies. ABN AMRO ONE will be heading up into the ridge first, so he will expect to lose some miles to the boats behind. But hopefully first in, is also first out and away again. My computer suggests ABN AMRO ONE could arrive at Eclipse Island on the morning of 16 January, with ABN AMRO TWO five or so hours behind.

Mike Quilter


Leg 2/Day 9 - Update 9: ABN AMRO TWO breaks the 24 hour record - 558 miles

BY TEAM ABN AMRO Brazilian correspondent Carlos 'Lua' Mauro from Cape Town

ABN AMRO TEAM11 January 2006, 10:00 a.m. GMT
ABN AMRO TWO breaks the world 24 hour record: 558 miles! It happened, the young guys on ABN AMRO TWO did it again. They have established a new 24 hour run record, averaging a speed of 23.25 knots.

With the result they notched another couple of miles from ABN AMRO ONE’s lead while outdistancing Pirates of the Caribbean and movistar by respectively six and one mile.

ABN AMRO ONE’s investment in the tactical move is expected to bring dividends soon. Stay tuned because the race for the 24 hour run record, which has just showed us another round of many yet to come.


Leg 2/Day 8 - Update 7: ABN AMRO ONE first at the scoring gate, ABN AMRO TWO is second

By TEAM ABN AMRO Brazilian correspondent Carlos 'Lua' Mauro from Cape Town

10 January 2006, 4 a.m. GMT
ABN AMRO ONE is first at the Kerguelen scoring gate, ABN AMRO TWO assumes 2nd place.

A lot of water went under the hulls of the boats at the Volvo Ocean race since the last positioning report of 4PM GMT of 9 January.

Since then (exactly at 7 p.m. GMT) ABN AMRO TWO overtook the Pirates of the Caribbean (both have yet to pass the scoring gate) and opened a gap of 32 miles to the American boat, ABN AMRO ONE (at 1:12 a.m. GMT) was the first through the 69º35’ East longitude that marks the Kerguelen Islands scoring gate and movistar has closed the gap to the Pirates. The distance between them fell, in the last 12 hours, from 93 to 27 miles.

ABN AMRO ONE raises its points form 15 to 18,5 thanks to the 3,5 points (at the scoring gates, as well as in the in port races only half of the available points are awarded) that the first placed boat through the scoring gates receives. ABN AMRO ONE also keeps increasing its lead while behind the battle intensifies with movistar approaching, thanks to the benefits of the new system it will soon be arriving.



Log 79 Skipper Mike Sanderson:Evil Knieveling off the ocean

9 January 2006
You would think that with the day that we have had sched-wise, that it would be all roses on board. The fact of the matter is that, as I am writing this is probably the most stressed out I have been in the whole race.

Life on the edge
We are teetering on the front edge of this cold front, which is the reason for the nice gains. But the conditions here are quite quickly getting worse. We go from not having quite enough sail up, as we are working hard to try and keep this missile under control, and then off she goes roaring down a wave at 30 plus knots...

Bouncing like a motorcycle off the waves
I mean the boat is in perfect control, as long as all is going well. But we have done some jumps at the end of some of these waves that would make Evil Knievel proud, and it will only take one really bad one and for sure damage will follow.

So I sit here typing to you guys with that sick feeling in my stomach, just out of worry. I know this could be the windiest night of the leg and so we are doing a lot to throttle back. It's like thinking you’re safe on your bike without brakes because there are no hills. Then you turn a corner in the middle of a pitch black night, and remember that you live in San Francisco!!

3.5 points are waiting for us now just 550 odd miles away, if we can keep this thing in one piece and get to the gate first. At the pace we are doing right now, that's less then a day away, but not if I have got anything to do with it...

Fingers crossed.



The Volvo Ocean Race 2005 - 2006

© Volvo Ocean Race 2005 - 2006



Log 78 Skipper Mike Sanderson: winning the race within the race

7 January 2006, 09:39 p.m. GMT
Today has been about two races, first racing the fleet of course. In that race we have had a pretty mixed day. First in the morning reports making some nice gains, only to lose them all in the afternoon report.

Then there is a second race going on for the whole fleet, and that is against a weather system. A cold front is threatening to "roll over" the fleet, if some boats managed to stay in front of it. Some were caught on the other side then there is a big potential gain to be made there. It is for sure touch and go though.

Time is relative at sea
It seems like we have been back out here for a long time now. Even though it is only five and a half days, I think a lot of that is because the first few days were so action-packed, with boats having to drop out due to
breakage. That has made it seem like a long leg already.

I think the other reason is that so far in this leg we haven't really had much smooth sailing. So every mile has seemed like it has had to have been hard fought for. That's racing though, I guess.

The smaller dramas of racing
We had a little drama last night when during a sail change. The old jib sheet flicked up and got Tony in the cheek. It has given him a nasty little cut on the face that Justin (Slattery) and Jan (Dekker) as medics were sure required stitches, if only (we think) because they wanted to have a go.

However, on closer inspection, it appeared that a couple of butterfly dressings could probably give Tone a better chance of not having a good scar on his face. It seemed like the better solution, no matter how we talked about how a distinguishing scar has worked for a lot of famous people.

So it's all about trying to win both of these races at the moment. Right now we are in the middle of nasty little black cloud which has stolen all our wind and pouring down with rain. So the only thing you know for sure is that we will be losing out in both at the moment...No good, but nothing we can do, have just got to get on with it.

On that note, I will leave you until next time.

Hope you’re having a good weekend.

Take care.

Mike, ABN AMRO ONE and the Boys…



Leg 2/Day 4 - Update 3: The conveyor belt at last

By ABN AMRO TEAM Brazilian correspondent Carlos 'Lua' Mauro from Cape Town

ABN AMRO ONE is now in the lead

6 January 2006 - 4 a.m. GMT
After full two days of bad treatment (head winds, contrary currents, big waves, difficulties to sleep, work, eat and even think) the 5 boats that are still (as we all now the bad treatment took provisionally out Ericsson and Brasil 1 from the race) in the direct fight in this 2005-2006 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race entered the what can be considered sail’s primary catwalk.

Right there just beyond 40 degrees latitude South Earth’s rotation in conjunction with the differences between high and low pressures; guarantee both constant/cyclical winds traveling from West to east (blowing slightly from Northwest) and unforgettable moments dreamt by sailors worldwide.

Who “discovered” these winds?
History registers that the first to detect and turn a profit from the phenomena was the Dutch explorer Hendetik Brouwer that in the 17th century worked for the Dutch East India Company and used it to be the fastest man between Europe and Batavia (the current Indonesia). This is how, somehow based on History ABN AMRO ONE insisted on going south and is now in the lead 10 miles in front of the Pirates of the Caribbean and 19 miles ahead of ABN AMRO TWO. movistar that was the leader in the beginning of Leg 2 jumped to 4th overall (64 miles behind) and ING Brunel that is already 222 miles away from first place.

Controlling anxiety
Leg 2 of the Volvo Ocean race comes to prove once more (when you read the logs received from the crews and the different cases of problems) that it is also a competition that requires a whole dose of patience and in where keeping the boat and crew together is lesson number one. For us sofa and laptop sailors each positioning report is a new opportunity to curb our anxiety and to live our part of this unique adventure.



Log 76 Skipper Mike Sanderson: the real meaning of the word "hectic"

5 January 2006
As professional sailors, it's our job I guess to try and make it all seem smooth. Normally if it is all going smoothly then it is generally all going well. What this often leads to though unlike rugby or something where you can see the drama unfolding, is that we sailors tend to gloss over the drama when talking about it so that we seem like a better oiled machine.

So I thought I might put a slightly different spin on today's update just to let you know exactly how much we have had going on here.
At the start of day one, we had the worry of getting out of the Bay in such light airs. We know the boat is no rocket in under 7/8 knots of wind, so it was always going to be tough against the more narrow Farr Boats.

We had a collision with Ericsson and protests were called for on both parties. We are the only boat to do circles in penalty, so clearing ourselves from the incident, no other boats did turns even though Ericsson went on to have another incident with Brasil 1.

Slopping in no wind, put two holes in our code 0 where the sail missed the spreader patches.

We got caught in the new south- easterly with a full size reacher on in 30 knots of wind! During the change we had a split in the leech of the Jib a meter in length. Now we have two damaged sails and we are only two hours in to the leg at that stage.

We couldn't do the change upwind as it was puffing over 30 knots and the damaged reacher was starting to get worse. Bearing away in over 30 knots, the reacher didn't get enough ease and mainsail did a nasty flick and broke the bottom batten.

Finally we got the right sails up and then we were in catch up mode. We worked our way back up to second spot with good speed upwind and then started to lose boats. Can’t work it out. Then we found the most massive clump of kelp right at the top of the keel. We had to Jib down and sail backwards off kelp. Then it was catch up mode once again.
That night was fairly un-eventful, apart from of course tacking four times with about six sail changes.

Next day, the breeze built up all day. We had Pirates and Ericsson in front of us for a while so going fast past them was a nice feeling.

The boat then had the same sail combination as during the inshore race. We pull out nicely and settled down after a very windy tack, with breezes up to 30 knots. Then, we heard a big bang! The structure under the deck that holds the tie rod for the No.4 jib failed and the fitting starts ripping out of the deck!

It was full action to save what was left and the sail. We rolled up the No.4 and decided since the same structure holds down our staysail that we would have to lug the J2.

After about an hour in with the J2 and the tack pad eye on the jib cunningham snaped (this holds the front corner of the jib down). We managed to rig a jury system around the headstay chainplate. We wondered, what's next?? Luckily nothing, and the rest of the night was un-eventful and we went well on with the fleet.

The new day brought lightening airs. Two of the boats don't make it through though, and our hearts go out to them. I am sure they had as hectic a time as us since leaving Cape Town and so to then have something happen which makes you have to pull out of the race is awful. We hope they can make speedy repairs and get back out here.

Now, with the lightening breeze, it is all action stations here, whenever we get light airs there is one team racing the boat and there is another team fixing it. Tony (Mutter) has fixed the sails. All of them are fixed and up and running again. Dave (Endean), Jan (Dekker) and myself have been working on the No.4 structure and it looks like we can get that back to 100%. We dropped two reefs in to the main and replaced the broken batten.

Meanwhile as all this is going on, the guys are still racing hard. It's almost like the big man above gave us a little light air to re-group before we get into the heavy running. Whatever the case is, we have certainly appreciated it.

So, next time I say that it has been hectic out here but don't go in to the details, you will be able to use this as a guide line. And to any of the reports on the other boats that say how it is all being going smoothly…well, I will leave it to you, but if they have been going upwind in big breeze with some strong currents... don't believe them.

All in all it’s good to be back into our little world, and today we found the NZ sweets that Crusty (Mark Christensen) stashed on board.... we love Pineapple Lumps!!!!

Talk soon


Mike Sanderson - skipper


TEAM leads flight south as others head for home

by James Boyd of The Daily Sail

4 January 2006
Strong upwind conditions over the last 24 hours have taken their toll on the Volvo Ocean Race fleet. In the early hours of this morning Neal McDonald's Ericsson Racing Team was forced to turn back to Cape Town when she broke the end fitting on one of the giant hydraulic rams used to cant the keel. This was followed a few hours later by the news that an area of the deck on Brasil 1 was delaminating (where the carbon layers either side of the core 'spacer' material had come unbonded) and they were heading back to land too, once again leaving the race with five out of seven still competing. Fortunately conditions are now getting lighter and the excitement, for the time being, is over.

"Obviously we feel for both of those guys because we are walking a tight rope out here ourselves. For two boats to break it is very bad luck for them," commented ABN AMRO ONE skipper Mike Sanderson earlier.

ABN AMRO TWO navigator Simon Fisher gave some insight into the conditions last night, the cause of the trouble: "Yesterday afternoon and evening was absolutely heinous, in terms of pounding upwind. It took its toll on the boat and the crew. Most people bounced their dinner!" While the wind strength of 25-26 knots was not exceptional the sea state was short and sharp. "It had us launching off every other wave and coming down with an almighty bang. So we throttled back a bit and pulled up some daggerboard because we didn't want to smash the boat up. It might have cost us a couple of miles on the water but we thought in terms of longevity it was a good idea. We were pretty sensible with it all."

The news of their competitor's breakage prompted Nick Bice to make a thorough check of the boat. "It all seems to be in good order so we are pretty pleased with that," said Fisher.

Trouble on ABN AMRO ONE
On ABN AMRO ONE they have not been so lucky. Mike Sanderson explains: "Getting out of Cape Town we ripped a couple of jibs - just little tears in that first squall, but we have those all fixed and back up to 100%. Then beating up the coast we hit some pretty bad kelp which we didn't notice until we were well into it. We couldn't work it out: We had awesome speed in the in-port when we'd lined up with everyone, and yet we were just okay." They managed to remove the kelp (a substantial piece of seaweed) and yesterday proceeded to overhaul both Ericsson and the Pirates through a sheer boat speed advantage.

Last night a more serious problem occurred when the structure broke in the bow used to hold down the tack (front bottom corner) of the Solent jib (the inner forestay, one back from the bow). "At that stage I thought the Solent tack fitting was going to be out for the whole leg," continued Sanderson. This prospect would have considerably impaired their performance. "But Dave Endean and Jan [Dekker] have done an awesome job and put it back together today and it is going to be stronger than it ever was. So we are going to come out of this unscathed." At present until the repair is fully complete there is still an open hole in the deck which is forcing them to bail out roughly six buckets of freezing sea water every 30 minutes.