At first, all attempts to get some sort of a yacht race going failed because of the lack of that essential ingredient – wind . The luxury tug “Holland” was providing a “Volvo Ocean Race Experience” for VIPs and guests.

The seven-strong fleet of yachts competing in the Round-the-World Volvo Ocean Race set sail on the 10th leg of the event  this afternoon – heading for Gothenburg.

This leg of the round the world event was supposed to start at 16:00 and in anticipation large crowds were thronging Cardiff Bay Barrage, Penarth Head Viewing Platform and Penarth Esplanade – where the event coincided with the second day of ‘Picnic Penarth’.

“Painted ships….”: With 15 minutes to go before the start there wasn’t a breath of wind. Spectators on shore had to guess what was going on.

However at 16:00 there came a problem – not enough wind. The start was postponed until 16:10 in the hope that some sort of a breeze would spring up.

There was no such luck. The yachts sat almost totally be-calmed and the start was postponed  a second time .

Spectators again packed the Penarth Head Viewing Platform but struggled to make sense of what was happening out to sea

It was a long hot wait for spectators who were straining to make sense of what on earth was going on at the start area  – more than a mile a mile away.

Many of those watching did not know that the advertised “inshore loop” which the competitors  were supposed to take immediately after the start, had been cancelled because of the light winds,

Eventually at 16:36 all 7 yachts competing in the Volvo Ocean Race were under way

Eventually the fleet DID get away with Vestas/11th Hour Racing leading a very spread-out field down channel with MAPRE in second place, Brunel 3rd and AkzoNobel 4th.

The slogan on the sail on the leading boat Vestas 11th Hour Racing says “Wind, it means the world to us” . …It certainly did this afternoon

In second place was MAPRE – mysteriously being pursued by a team of armed police officers in a black South Wales Police RIB. Perhaps one of the yacht’s crew had incurred a parking ticket whilst ashore.


Brunel was escorted down channel by the big Barry Dock lifeboat – despite the flat calm conditions, and warm benign weather. The RNLI said the lifeboat was carrying out “safety duty”

Wishing “bon-voyage” to the yacht “Turn the Tide on Plastic” was the Penarth-based sail training yacht “Challenge Wales” . Whilst in Cardiff, “Turn the Tide on Plastic“s  skipper Dee Caffari had met young people from Challenge Wales and exchanged ideas on reducing the amount of plastic in the oceans

At the tail end  Dongfeng ran into a rigging problem and was last over the start line – escorted by Penarth’s Atlantic 85 lifeboat Maureen Lilian

Two helicopters hovered overhead shooting video and – somewhat surprisingly in the almost flat-calm conditions – no less than 3 RNLI lifeboats escorted the fleet for the first couple of sea miles. The RNLI said they were carrying out “safety duties”.

MAPFRE gradually reduced Vestas/11th Hour Racing‘s lead as these first two yachts drew closer to Flatholm – and to each other.

MAPFRE goes on a port tack whilst Vestas/11th Hour Racing remains on a starboard tack. The two boats sandwiched a race official’s boat as they parted ways – but MAPFRE ‘s manoeuver gave her the advantage

Passing abeam of the islands of Flatholm and Steepholm MAPFRE had moved into a comfortable lead

Brunel challenges for second place as she draws level with Vestas/11th Hour Racing

Before the fleet reached Flatholm, MAPRE had overtaken Vestas/11th Hour Racing by dint of tacking earlier than her rival and opened up a wide gap between by the time the two yachts reached Lavernock – with Brunel a close 3rd.

Regus/Scallywag (left) which was penalised for not keeping clear of Turn the Tide on Plastic took the long way round and sailed South on the  Somerset side of the Cardiff Grounds sandbanks and close to the Monkstone lighthouse . Dongfeng brought up the rear.

Bringing up the rear were Dongfeng and Regus/Scallywag – which for some reason had elected to go  on the Somerset side of the  sandbanks.

The departure of the seven yachts brought down the curtain on the Volvo Ocean Race in Wales – and upon Volvo itself which is now aiming to hand the event over to a new sponsor.

The hugely expensive – not to say extravagant –  race pits seven yachts (each costing between £10,000,000 and £20,000,000)   against each other. Helicopters and drones film from overhead, dozens of official vessels patrol the race areas,  support crews criss-cross the world and burn up thousands of air miles.

Environmentalists say it’s all in the cause of  selling fossil fuel-powered vehicles and they’ll be asking the Welsh Labour Government whether – in retrospect –  it was really justified in spending £3,000,000 of taxpayers’ money to host the event in Cardiff.


About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time. Comments posted on the site by commentators reflect their opinions and are not necessarily shared, endorsed or supported by Penarth Daily News.
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  1. Old Sea Dog says:

    Sadly the wind is the one thing that is never guaranteed.

    A great day out on the water for those who witnessed it.

  2. RetailGuru says:

    Well I hope that the “Hooray-Henry’s” enjoyed watching the big boys sailing their big boats and spending our taxes to the tune of a cool £3m….ah well, off to Goteborg now to spend their money…

    Absolutely incredible to me that, during these austere times, when we’re all being told that budgets are soooo tight, waste collections are being reduced, not enough money to run essential services etc etc. and we’re spending £3m on entertaining a load of toffs.

    And before anyone tells me “ah yes but what about the people coming to Penarth to spend their money”… they didn’t.

  3. Steven says:


  4. whatsoccurin says:

    it seems time and tide (and wind) waits for no man (person) -cannot complain about “fossil fuel powered vehicles” as I had spent an enjoyable morning at the Barry Transport festival. The heat on the pier proved too much for me at about 4-15pm, and I went home wondering-will the yachts go to Gothenburg through the channel or around Scotland? and have the rules regarding no fishing on the pier through the summer months been relaxed?

  5. AK says:

    The yachts are going round Ireland and Scotland.

    Since the Vale no longer employs a piermaster, you are free to do whatever you want on the pier.

  6. Frank Evans says:

    What a pointless sport.
    Like a formula one race with no fuel.
    Posh stuck up types.
    Why so much PDN coverage other media have ignored it.

  7. CelticMan says:


  8. AK says:

    I’m sure the crew of all three boats benefited from the additional hours at sea during the Volvo race practising headings, turnings, communication and other boat skills, put to good use in the wee small hours this morning when they were out saving lives.

Comments are closed.