Volvo Ocean Race: The calm after the storm

Published on November 20th, 2014

(November 20, 2014; Day 2) – After the seven Volvo Ocean Race teams were nearly shot out of cannon at the start of Leg 2 in Cape Town, with winds touching 40 knots, the forecast for the first night was to be equally fearsome. With strong winds predicted, and an opposing current eager to launch 65-foot boats into the air… into the dark… the teams would be forgiven if concern and caution was on their minds.

So much for predictions. The first night storm didn’t materialize, with winds peaking in the 20s as the teams tight reached around the bottom of South Africa.

With manageable conditions today, Vestas was able to lower the main for a repair. “We got a little split in the main, so we lowered the main for a quick repair,” explained skipper Chris Nicholson. “It won’t affect us long term.”

While this is the second edition for the 6,125 nm leg to Abu Dhabi, it is the first time teams will be fully sailing it. In the 2011-12 edition, the boats stopped mid leg at the Maldives and were shipped to Sharjah – a short distance from Abu Dhabi – due to the threat of attack from pirates in the Indian Ocean.

Since then the problem of piracy in the Indian Ocean has decreased dramatically following pan-national intervention and the only activity that has been recorded recently has been in the far west, well outside the route of the Volvo fleet.

“We are not experts in this area of maritime security,” noted race CEO Knut Frostad, “but we work closely with those who are and their advice has been that we’re good to take this course of action.”

Ian Millen is the Chief Operating Officer for Dryad Maritime, which offers expert advice to the race.

“Since 2011 the level of piracy has changed markedly,” he said. “In fact, in the route that the fleet is going, there have been no reports of piratical activity in 2014 and considerably longer than that.”

Always good when race tactics are not literally life and death decisions.

Leg 2 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 4873 nm Distance to Finish
2. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 4.4 nm Distance to Lead
3. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 5.3 nm DTL
4. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 8.5 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 9.3 nm DTL
6. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 15.5 nm DTL
7. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 18.3 DTL

Race websiteTrackingWatch logVideos

Weather: PredictWind has created a 7-day weather routing video that carries the fleet through the forecasted conditions. CLICK HERE

Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on Oct. 11 with the final finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, seven teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition – the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series. The second offshore leg from Cape Town, SA to Abu Dhabi, UAE is 6,125 nm, started Nov. 19 with an ETA of Dec. 9-16.

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