• Snapshot Brunel Sailing 30112015
    ARC Rally Blog 8: The last day ARC Rally Blog 8: The last day

    ARC Rally Blog 8: The last day

ARC Rally Blog 8: The last day

Speeding through the night, unreal, sometimes scary…
some thoughts crossing my mind in the very early hours of this Monday.

When Navigation lights were switched on last night the Navigation system decided to quit. No light, no data, no wind information. Mmm kinda nasty, to say the least. When toddling along with 5 knots it also really bothers you. However at 27kn wind ( that is lots of those Beauforts) with a boat at topspeeds of 50km/hr in another pitch black moonless evening you are all of a sudden confronted with a potentially pretty dangerous situation. So what to do? Well , go on Rockypilot, i.e. put Rokas at the wheel and let him do what he does naturally, feel boat, feel wave, and steer towards the finish. I guess you could even blindfold him and he would still get it right, and fast, furiously fast. Than have Jens digging through the boat to find the cause of the blow-out, Tomas preparing the emergency lighting and Johnny and Gideon analyse what readings make sense, and what numbers are complete baloney. Ok, the compasses are out of business. A vital instrument to calculate true wind angles and many more things. An old school compass gets mounted next to Rocky and captain Ron a.k.a. Flying Indian next to him to assist reading and checking in the stormy wind and as ever bathtubs of water being thrown at you on deck at all times.

Right, so the compasses are out. Check all settings and functions. Get the manual out on screen to see where is what….bummer, it’s a B&G Manual. Definitively not meant to explain how to […]

Door |november 30, 2015|ARC Rally 2015|0 Reacties
  • Brunel Grootzeil
    ARC Rally Blog 7 ARC Rally Blog 7

    ARC Rally Blog 7

ARC Rally Blog 7

Team Brunel out the race, replaced by Team Bnel

Last night at 10.07 UTC a well controlled gybe was set up in pitch dark moonless conditions. We’ve done this numerous times so routinely every step was executed. Without warning the Mainsail completely ripped in two horizontally from masttrack till leech line when moving form port to starboard. Pretty disastrous we might say. Immediately Johnny took the lead the rescue operations. Jens in charge over the technical job of getting the mainsail down, Rokas up the mast, all hands on deck, wind blowing force 6. We got the mainsail down to the 3rd reef position and were able to secure the bottom half of the sail. Despite the obvious shock and disappointment all was handled in an incredibly smooth way by our pro team with the rest of us assisting in muscle power and shutting up. Jens communicating from the deck to Rokas in a howling wind at 35m high demanded full concentration. All went well and some 45 mins later the boat was on its way again, not like a lame duck but still the speed was severely reduced.

So, for our dedicated followers on the tracker, we didn’t fall asleep, went fishing or anchored for a swim, we just had some pretty bad luck.  Why it happened, a mixture of contributors like a mainsail that has more than successfully raced around the world plus many more miles since, a stiff breeze, 4 m. waves, darkness etc. etc. Anyway it happened and we could still sail. OK a 3rd reef is not what we aimed for but no-one got hurt and the yacht is well in control and still some 600 NM to the finish. (That […]

Door |november 29, 2015|ARC Rally 2015|0 Reacties
  • Snapshot Brunel Sailing 29112015
    ARC Rally Blog 6: Letter to Mrs. A Volvo ARC Rally Blog 6: Letter to Mrs. A Volvo

    ARC Rally Blog 6: Letter to Mrs. A Volvo

ARC Rally Blog 6: Letter to Mrs. A Volvo

Private & Confidential & for your eyes only

To: Mrs. A. Volvo On Board Reporter ad interim (OBR a.i.)
Volvo HQ Sailing Yacht Team Brunel
Gothenburg Atlantic Ocean
Sweden 19.55.612 N/ 049.58.534 W

Atlantic Ocean, November 28th 2015

Dear Mrs. Volvo,

My friends and I are crewing a VO65 Yacht called Team Brunel in the ARC Rally Race from Las Palmas Gran Canaria across the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean. It is truly a fantastic experience and a dream boat to sail on. We have been en route for 6 consecutive days now and hope to arrive in St. Lucia  within the next 50 hours. If we succeed we would even break an Atlantic record, wouldn’t that be cool ?!.

You might not be aware of this but the VO in VO65 stands for Volvo65, the boats used to race around the world, an incredible achievement by crews of 8. The event is wildly popular and attracts millions of followers. You will appreciate how proud we are to sail with even 5 pro sailors who did this VO race this year.

You will ask why I’m writing you personally? Well, as you are a member of the Supervisory Board of Volvo you are very influential in the company and as a major stockholder you will be committed to the well being of the company. As an enthusiastic sailor and many years Volvo car owner I need to warn you for a great danger for Volvo’s reputation as THE company that cares about personal safety: On deck the Volvo boat is fantastic but below decks it is a disaster and very uncomfortable an unsafe. I’m sure you did not know about this else you would have taken appropriate measures to fix these problems, […]

Door |november 28, 2015|ARC Rally 2015|0 Reacties
    ARC Rally Blog 5: November 27th 2015 ARC Rally Blog 5: November 27th 2015

    ARC Rally Blog 5: November 27th 2015

ARC Rally Blog 5: November 27th 2015

Ever sailed an ocean? No? you should try it, it’s magical, overwhelming, peaceful, violent, cruel but above all fantastic!!!! We’re sailing through rainbow territory, honestly, we’ve seen 1 full grown moon rainbow and a handful of partial rainbows, fairytale! And this immense empty world causes a very subtle feeling of intimacy, comradery..friends for life.

We met 3 boats in 5 days.. busy times. There is literally no one around here, which is great. Stresses the need though to be very careful indeed, it’s us, the boat and the ocean. Oh right, and a whole lot of flying fish. About an hour before sunset they start flying around to escape predators (like our yellow tuna like keel bulb) and some fly straight over us. But quite a few don’t make it and hit crew in the face or drop on deck, smelly buggers. I believed fresh fish doesn’t smell, no clue what these guys eat for dinner….


When racing the ocean one is really in a sort of mixed reality:
On deck sun- moon- rain squalls- falling stars, concentration – focus – workouts on the grinder- chatting with the boys, cracking jokes, talking shop. And below decks quiet- off watch sleeping- cooking breakfast- brewing coffee cleaning, sponging the excess water of the floors. But above all a challenge of all yours senses, an overload of impressions. The howling almost serene singing of the water flow along the rudders like altos and sopranos seamlessly taking over the song of speed when the tempo goes up (don’t need speedometer readings anymore to know the speed) And smell, the testing of the nostrils, an item often discussed in a negative context when on board with 15 unwashed men. Not with […]

Door |november 27, 2015|ARC Rally 2015|0 Reacties
  • Snapshot Brunel Sailing - ARC - 27112015
    ARC Rally Blog 4: November 26th ARC Rally Blog 4: November 26th

    ARC Rally Blog 4: November 26th

ARC Rally Blog 4: November 26th

How did we get on till now…

Exactly 4 full days have gone by in a fantastic race and we are exactly halfway in mileage to St. Lucia. The averages per helmsman go up, the topspeed remains the same. The bravest of the gang (or the daredevils?) push her ladyship VO65 to 26+ knots, being it day or night, a shift is a shift and we want to push on. The predicted weather versus the end is still the major variable. If the breeze stays on (like around 22kn all the way now) we still might have a chance to equal or beat the mighty 100 Ft Leopard of London record of 8 days- 14 hours- 39 minutes and 59 seconds. This is our challenge in the challenge to arrive before December 1st, 3:24:59 AM on the finish line. And of course sailing as fast as we safely can to win the race on handicap (corrected time) versus our Class 2A competitors. As the new update has not arrived for today, yesterdays positions look good but the yachts Farfalla, Durlindana 3, Talanta and Weddel will not let us get away easily. At yesterday noon we had 212 NM- 264 NM and 269 NM lead over the runners up (having sailed some 1000 NM straight line) but they do have quite different handicaps so even winning line honours does not tell us who wins the race overall until time correction factors are applied.

Interior designers delight…

The VO65 was specifically designed to accommodate 8+1 crew during the round the world Volvo Ocean Race. She’s a dream to sail on once all sails are set and handles impeccably gentle. Down below however about half of the area, ahead of the […]

Door |november 26, 2015|ARC Rally 2015|0 Reacties
  • Snapshot Brunel Sailing - ARC - 26112015
    ARC Rally Blog 3: November 25th ARC Rally Blog 3: November 25th

    ARC Rally Blog 3: November 25th

ARC Rally Blog 3: November 25th

Three full days have gone by since we left the Canaries, the weather Gods are with us and fair trade winds ranging 18-28 knots allow high averages. Steering with the high waves demands full concentration but the rewards are stunning- true sailing delight with an excellent crew and mega thrills when you achieve longer and longer runs at max speed.

Sailing things

At this very moment only the second! sail change takes place, the MH0 ( Masthead Code 0) is being prepared to be hoisted and unfurled. As the winds are in the lower ranges 15-20 Kn this huge surface asymmetric sail can squeeze the max power out of the available wind. Since the start we used the golden triangle of FR0 with jib2 and mainsail, to be replaced in the first night for the Jib 3 serving as a staysail between FR0 and Mainsail. It partitions the wind flow nicely into 2 more stable streams and pushes another knot of speed out of the boat.

The life onboard brings some unexpected excitements:

‘Breaking news’ Last night we have a thief onboard?! First some headlights had disappeared, than a jacket, a cap and brand new clean white socks with fluorescent striping (who buys this anyway?, note editor.) . Despite a serious search and rescue mission by the owner and investigation by the authorities the objects did not surface. Various crew were interrogated but denied any misconduct in this serious matter. This morning at dawn the mystery was mostly solved, the objects were all in his own bunk. There was obviously no case of any criminal offence but rather a rare combination of ‘squirrel syndrome’ and Alzheimer light. The matter was therefore quickly solved but the owner denied the […]

Door |november 25, 2015|ARC Rally 2015|0 Reacties
  • 12241535_959793487427578_551548524021798894_n
    ARC Rally Blog 2: November 24th ARC Rally Blog 2: November 24th

    ARC Rally Blog 2: November 24th

ARC Rally Blog 2: November 24th

The first 24 hours of the race proved successful, 1st on rating and about 120 NM ahead of nr 2, a significant 100 ft Southern Wind yacht. We had some showers (that is rain- none on board..) but mostly clear skies and a brave ¾ moon peeping through the occasional cloud cover. Forecast still looking good for a quick crossing but hard to tell with another 2000 Nm to go.

Life onboard gets into a 4 hr rhythm and once we figured out how the first watch change almost turned into mild chaos- none would read the scheme without reading glasses and assumed his watch fellow could…! things run like clockwork.

Watchleaders Johnny (Gerd-Jan) Poortman, Rocky (Rokas Milevicius), Jens (The farmer) Dolmer and Tomas (Ivanauskas) manage their teams within the boundaries set by Johnny for course, sail trim and strong safety awareness. All get their turn to steer the boat, trim and grind. A great experience where every personal speed record has already been broken. As watches come and go we –the amateurs- get better and better at it. Who said 20 knots was a speed record? In your past yes, not now anymore; touching 25 is still high end but no one will stop this bunch aiming for the big 30. The boat’s 36kn record is a little far reached but every 4 hours you get another chance J!

Little did we know that a men’s personality is demonstrated by driving style. Joern’s cool and analytic approach is steady fast and effective but Auke (a.k.a. Turkish cowboy) is definitely a thrill seeker pushing the yacht to almost bitchy behaviour. Rocky’s guidance is try to anticipate, well said- not easily done. Once you steer up to a […]

Door |november 24, 2015|ARC Rally 2015|0 Reacties
  • Crew
    ARC Rally Blog 1: November 23th ARC Rally Blog 1: November 23th

    ARC Rally Blog 1: November 23th

ARC Rally Blog 1: November 23th

On Sunday 22-nov-2015 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria offered its best as sailing hub for the start of some 200+ yachts in the 30th ARC for Racing and Cruising divisions with a nice 20-25 knot breeze.   At 12.45hr local time the start gun was fired of a huge Navy Vessel P44 packed with cheering spectators as we blasted of the start line. Some fellow competitors were obviously intimidated by the size and speed of our VO65 Team Brunel when we whizzed through the fleet with full main and Jib2.

When the FR0 (Fractional Code 0) was unfurled another turbo set off and the surfing party began. Skipper Gerd-Jan (Johnny) Poortman helmed this powerful beast skilfully in an adrenaline boosting performance to begin the 2700Nm crossing of the Atlantic to St.Lucia in pristine conditions with a strong weather forecast of 15-30 Kn N-Easterly breeze, a promising sleigh ride to the Caribbean.

The 15 strong crew- 5 pro’s and 10 experienced sailing amateurs threw in their best musclepower on the grinders they so carefully gained in countless hours in gyms and on bikes to prepare for the ultimate ‘bucketlist item’.

Within half an hour we had passed all multihulls who had an earlier start and aimed for the Southern tip of Gran Canaria. The ‘Acceleration zone’ brought the typical 30 kn winds that caused the first reefing action on the mainsail whilst speeding to the planned gibing point some 70 nm S off the startline. A seamless operation that opened our way to the W, slightly below the notorious wind shadow areas S off Tenerife.

Around 1800 hrs the 3×4 hr Watch system kicked in to clear the deck of half the crew and keep the team fit and healthy. […]

Door |november 12, 2015|ARC Rally 2015|0 Reacties