Monday, December 22, 2008

Volvo Ocean Race story for children in The Hindu - Young World

A story from the viewpoint of children about Volvo Ocean Race, titled "Sea spray in your hair" was published in The Hindu's Young World (Kochi edition) dated December 23, 2008.

Friday, December 12, 2008

An overview: Volvo Ocean Race Cochin Stopover

The departure ceremony of Volvo Ocean Race is only six hours away. The 10-day long stopover (14 days for the first team, Ericsson 4 and Telefonica Blue; 13 days for Ericsson 3, Telefonica Black, Puma, Green Dragon and Delta Lyold & for Team Russia, exactly 10 days, who reached soon after the inauguration ceremony on December 3); will see its curtain fall as the teams will get an official flag off this noon.

The press release states a million people visited the stopover village - the kind of statistics, which alarms many others, and me though it's a fact there was a huge crowd in the past few days. It’s hard to believe the numbers touched a million! The projection was unrealistic even on the inauguration day, when it was announced 50,000 – 1,00,000 people attended the function. The queue to enter the ride, dome and Volvo Pavilion was long and the queue to the ride took as long as two hours to enter and experience the sailing effects.

Further, the press release states 100 stalls participated in the exhibition. The exhibition - Ocean Race Trade Fest was a major disappointment for the visitors as three-fourth of the pavilion was empty! And probably the total number of stalls must have been 25. The notable stall was of ISRO and the handicraft stall of Kudumbasree. There was a picture museum and to see the pictures kept inside, they charged Rs.5 per head.

The most crowded part was the food carnival, where people were flowing in to taste the dishes. Most of these food stalls offered expensive food, and a plate of fried rice or biriyani (the information was passed by many who attempted to buy a plate!) cost Rs.200. Though many backed out of because of the unrealistic pricing, the crowd was still high. Many others complained the area was so much packed that they couldn't even attempt to buy anything.

There's more to write, but it's time for me to head to the race village to witness the flag off and all the programmes planned for today.

Crew list for leg 3 (Cochin to Singapore) of Volvo Ocean Race

The crew list for leg 3 was released today.

1. Roberto Bérmudez de Castero/ESP – skipper
2. Matthew Gregory/USA - navigator
3. Sander Pluijm/NED -MCM
4. Stuart Wilson/NZL – watch captain
5. Ryan Houston/NZL – watch captain
6. Edwin O’Connor/IRL – trimmer
7. Martin Watts/GBR – trimmer
8. Peter Van Nierkerk/ NED – helmsman
9. Eduard van Lierde//NED – helmsman
10. Gerd-Jan Poortman/NED – bowman
11. Morgan White/AUS - bowman

No changes

1. Torben Grael/BRA - skipper
2. Jules Salter/GBR - navigator
3. Guy Salter/GBR - MCM
4. Brad Jackson/NZL – watch captain
5. Stu Bannatyne/NZL – watch captain
6. Dave Endean/NZL - pitman
7. Horacio Carabelli/BRA - trimmer
8. Tony Mutter/NZL - trimmer
9. Joao Signorini/BRA - trimmer
10. Ryan Godfrey/AUS - bowman
11. Phil Jameson/NZL – bowman

No changes

1. Anders Lewander/SWE - skipper
2. Aksel Magdahl/NOR - navigator
3. Gustav Morin/SWE MCM
4. Richard Mason/NZL - watch captain
5. Magnus Olsson/SWE – watch captain
6. Thomas Johanson/FIN - helmsman
7. Eivind Melleby/NOR – helmsman
8. Martin Strömberg/SWE – trimmer
9. Jens Dolmer/DEN - pitman
10. Anders Dahlsjö/SWE - mastman
11. Martin Krite/SWE - Bowman

No changes

1. Ian Walker/GBR - skipper
2. Steve Hayles/GBR - navigator
3. Guo Chuan/CHN - MCM
4. Damian Foxall/IRL – watch captain
5. Neal McDonald/GBR – watch captain
6. Anthony Merrington/AUS – helmsman/trimmer
7. Phil Harmer/AUS – helmsman/trimmer
8. James Carroll/AUS – pitman/trimmer
9. Andrew Mclean/NZL – pitman/trimmer
10.Freddie Shanks/GBR - bowman
11.Justin Slattery/IRL – bowman

ON: Steve Hayles/GBR – navigator
James Carroll/IRL – pitman
OFF: Ian Moore/IRL – navigator OFF
Tom Braidwood/AUS – pitman/trimmer

1. Ken Read/USA - skipper
2. Andrew Cape/AUS - navigator
3. Rick Deppe/GBR MCM
4. Sidney Gavignet/FRA – watch captain
5. Chris Nicholson/AUS – watch captain
6. Robert Greenhalgh/GBR – helmsman/trimmer
7. Michael Müller/GER – helmsman/bowman
8. Rob Salthouse/NZL – helmsman/trimmer
9. Casey Smith/AUS – bowman
10. Shannon Falcone/ANT – trimmer/pitman
11. Justin Ferris/NZL – helmsman/trimmer

On: Robert Greenhalgh/GBR – helmsman/trimmer
Off: Robert Naismith/NZL – helmsman/trimmer

1. Andreas Hanakamp/AUT - skipper
2. Wouter Verbraak/NED - navigator
3. Sergey Bogdanov/RUS - MCM
4. Stig Westergaard/DEN – watch captain
5. Nick Bubb/GBR – watch captain
6. Rodion Luka/UKR - helmsman
7. Jeremy Elliott/IRL - trimmer
8. Ben Costello/NZL - trimmer
9. Mike Joubert/RSA - bowman
10. Camron Wills/RSA – trimmer
11. Scott Gray/GBR – bowman/Pitman

On: Sergey Bogdanov/RUS - MCM
Scott Gray/GBR – bowman/Pitman

Off: Oleg Zherebtsov
Mark Covell/GBR – MCM

1. Bouwe Bekking/NED - skipper
2. Iker Martinez/ESP - co-skipper/helmsman
3. Simon Fisher/GBR- navigator
4. Gabriele Olivo/ITA - MCM
5. Jonathan Swain/RSA – watch captain
6. Jordi Calafat ESP – helmsman
7. Tom Addis/AUS - helmsman
8. Xabier Fernandez/ESP - trimmer
9. Pablo Arrarte/ESP Spanish - trimmer
10. Daryl Wislang/NZL - bowman
11. Pepe Ribes/ESP - bowman

On: Tom Addis/AUS - helmsman
Off Laurent Pages/FRA – helmsman

1. Fernando Echávarri/ESP- skipper
2. Roger Nilson/SWE - navigator
3. Mikel Pasabant/ESP - MCM
4. Santiago Lange/ARG – watch captain
5. Gonzalo Araujo/ESP – watch captain
6. Jaime Arbones/ESP – watch captain
7. Pablo Iglesias/ESP - helmsman
8. Javier De La Plaza/ESP - helmsman
9. David Vera/ESP - trimmer
10. Antonio Cuervas-Mons/ESP - trimmer
11. Michael Pammenter/RSA - bowman

On: Pablo Iglesias/ESP - helmsman
Off: Maciel Cicchetti/ARG - helmsman

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cochin Stopover is coming to an end on December 13, 2008

Cochin will witness the flag off cermony to mark the start of leg 3 of Volvo Ocean Race on December 13, 2008, 12 noon (locat time). A lot has been happening in the race village - several cultural events and the crowd too has been good over the past few days.

(Will update the blog with Cochin related stories in the next few days. I too have been held up with the events and the stories. I hope to follow the race till the end, so though it was meant for Cochin stopover, I would continue talking about the race. I am addicted to knowing more about Volvo Ocean Race and its happenings!)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fishing vessels in festival mood

The picture was shot while fishing vessels took charge of the backwaters and were in a festival mood - an event on December 6th evening at the race village in Kochi.

(Photo Credits: Resmi Jaimon; Date: December 6, 2008)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mini Pooram at the Race Village

Fifteen (15) elephants march towards the Race Village at around 1705 hours (local time) today. The image shows what the organizers called as "Mini Pooram" (with reference to the original Thrissur Pooram), getting ready for the festive mood.
(Photo Credits: Resmi Jaimon / Date: December 4, 2008)

Bouwe Bekking's interview online

Bouwe Bekking's interview is online at

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Bouwe Bekking's Interview in The Hindu's Metro Plus - Kochi edition

The interview I had with Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Telefonica Blue has appeared in The Hindu's Metro Plus dated December 4th, 2008 (ie. today).The story will also appear online later today.

The Official Inauguration Ceremony of the Race Village

Though the Race Village and certain areas (like Volvo Pavilion, Media center etc) were functioning since the first yacht arrived on November 30th; the official inauguration ceremony of the race village, as pre-planned was held this evening (December 3rd, 2008).

On 3rd Dec 2008, Honorable union Minister of parliamentary affairs, Sri.Vayalar Ravi inaugurated the Volvo Ocean Race, India Stopover, Cochin. The statement says, Honorable Minister for Vigilance and Tourism Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Sri.Chandran Plllai MP, Sri.Sebastian Paul M.P,Sri.K.V Thomas M L A, Sri.Thomas Chandy M.L.A, Mr. Knut Frostad, CEO Volvo Ocean Race ,officials and public participated in the public function held at Race Village at Willingdon island.

The release from the Volvo Ocean Race states, "Thousands of people, most without any prior knowledge of the race, packed the village in their droves. When the doors are closed and the last visitor has left later tonight, N Ramachandran, chairman of Cochin Port Trust, predicts between 50,000 and 100,000 people will have been in attendance." (50,000 - 100,000 ???? An unbelievable statement for those who were present during the ceremony and considering there isn't enough space to accommodate the said number of people in the race village!)

Ericsson 3 crew, soon after their arrival

(Photo Credits : Resmi Jaimon / Date: December 1st, 2008)

Soon after Ericsson 3 arrived on December 1st, around 1420 hours (local time)

(Photo Credits : Resmi Jaimon / Date: December 1st, 2008)

Ericsson team and others await Ericsson 3's arrival

(Photo Credits : Resmi Jaimon / Date: December 1st, 2008)

Visitors to the race village await Ericsson 3's arrival on December 1st, around 1400 hours (local time)

(Photo Credits : Resmi Jaimon / Date: December 1st, 2008)

Seven teams in Kochi, waiting for the arrival of the eighth - Team Russia

The last three days, I was spending time at the Race Village and today, I chose to sit back home to file a couple of Volvo related stories.

The day before - December 1st noon was interesting when I waited for the arrival of Ericsson 3. The only yacht I have witnessed reaching Kochi. Ericsson 4 reached Kochi during the early hours of November 30th, Telefonica Blue by late evening on November 30th and Telefonica Black, Puma, Delta Lyold and Green Dragon by late evening on December 1st. Team Russia is yet battling their way to Kochi. Hopefully, they should make it tonight or tomorrow morning. With just one team still out in the sea, I was curious to know they were taking things. As I logged on to Volvo Ocean Race website, I found the following release - an interesting one from Team Russia:

'A defiant Mark Covell, the media crew member on board, says spirits remain high and the team is looking forward to the finish:

"We are on the emerald highway home and nothing is going to stop us from enjoying our last few days at sea. Even the rain that is falling now will not break our spirit," he wrote. "We have been catapulted forward by huge waves of the Southern Ocean and stopped dead in our tracks by Indian fishing nets on a stop-start of a leg that still has yet to stop...We hold our heads up high and congratulate the winners."

The team is certainly maintaining its sense of humor, calling in its StealthPlay overnight only to cancel it after a couple of position reports. The team can expect a warm welcome for its efforts when it arrives in Cochin.'

That says it - let us welcome, the eighth team – Team Russia to Kochi.

Story related to Volvo Ocean Race in JetWings (December 2008)

My travelogue on Willingdon Island, Kochi plus a short note on pre-event Volvo Ocean Race Stopover in Cochin story has appeared in Jetairway's inflight magazine - Jetwings (December 2008).

Willingdon Island is the place where the race village for Volvo Ocean Race is set up.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ericsson 3 reaches Cochin with the third position

Ericsson 3 (Anders Lewander) appeared at the berth by around 1420 local time. According to the press note, Ericsson 3 spent the final 24 hours of the leg almost drifting, choosing to activate their StealthPlay in order to keep their position secret and prevent the chasing pack from sailing round them while they were becalmed. The crossed the finish at 0736 GMT (1306 local time) on December 1st, 2008.

Further the note says, on stepping ashore, skipper Anders Lewander said, “Coming into port is wonderful. It is something you dream of and realising it feels so great. A podium position is extraordinary. This race is worth fighting to be involved in. We have spent a lot of time developing and learning and each leg has its achievements, and on this leg, we have been though all sorts of weather. We now know how we can go forward. I have great confidence in the team.”

Telefonica Blue, led by Bouwe Bekking Takes the Second Position in Leg Two

In 15 days, one hour, 17 minutes and 50 seconds, in spite of serious damage to the daggerboard, Bouwe Bekking's Telefonica Blue reached Kochi at 1237 GMT (1807 local time) on November 30th, 2008 (yesterday).

The press release read, '“It was really fantastic to come second, but it was bloody hard,” said skipper Bouwe Bekking. “The ‘no wind’ was tricky, but I suppose the locals are used to it, but this afternoon was difficult. We were always hoping for a first, but second is still a good result. The last 18 hours as hugged the shore, so we have seen quite a bit of the Indian coastline, the lovely views and beautiful beaches.”'