Volvo Ocean Race: Not quite ready for the red carpet

Published on May 4th, 2015

(May 4, 2015; Day 16) – The Volvo Ocean Race teams crossed through the transition from a southwest breeze to a northeast one and are now sailing upwind on port tack around the Bermudan high-pressure system in a solid breeze.

Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier’s prediction of their lead ‘melting away’ when they hit the stalled cold front did not occur as the weather files over-estimated the difficult of transitioning from the warm air coming from the south, and the cold air behind the front.

Some teams felt the transition harder than others, with MAPRE getting knocked down as they crossed the line (see video).

“At first the clouds sucked the wind, leaving us stuck in the middle of the Atlantic,” reported Francisco Vignale on MAPRE. “Then the rain came in and tackled us big time. We were basically completely stopped when 50 knots suddenly kicked in. The blow knocked the boat completely on its side and we were close to losing the sails, which were stacked at the bow. If it weren’t for the lifelines, we would have lost at least two of them.”

One thing for sure is the temperatures have dropped and the thermals will be out for the first time on this leg.

With hurdles ahead, the rankings are far from certain. There is a ridge of high pressure ahead that will slide across the fleet’s track, a conundrum that will have navigators pondering how close they can cut to the centre on the direct route, coupled with the traverse of the Gulf Stream, and then the increasing likelihood of little wind and fog in the last hundred miles to Newport.

Leg 6 (5,010 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 677.3 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 8.0 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 9.7 nm DTL
4. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 25.3 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 29.4 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 83.6 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

Race websiteTrackingScoreboardVideos

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 sixth leg, from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA (5,010 nm), began April 19 with an ETA of May 7.

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