Volvo Ocean Race: Hoping for an opening

Published on November 9th, 2017

(November 9, 2017; Leg 2, Day 5) – As temperatures rise and strong winds give way to localised storm activity on the approach to the Doldrums, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet is picking its way through the cloud systems, attempting to connect the dots, joining the wind pressure cells.

It’s exhausting work for navigators and skippers in terms of decision-making, and for the crew moving the stack of sails on each gybe. At least some if not all of the teams have elected to ‘split the stack’, piling half the weight on each side of the boat, sacrificing righting moment for the ability to quickly gybe on each wind shift.

In what has become a familiar refrain from several teams, gains and losses are coming quickly, with spirits rising and falling just as fast. One team’s favorable shift is another team’s loss, and you can only play the cards you’re dealt. Leader Dongfeng has gybed more than any other, in an effort to stay on the shifts and retain their grip on the lead.

With the wind still blowing from the northeast, port gybe aims the boats south where they’d like to go, with the leaders now at 20° N of the equator. Interest in stepping west on starboard, toward anticipated better winds and an easier doldrums crossing, may be waning as teams are now at 28° W, which is considered – depending on who you ask – near or at the end of the road for that tactic.

Of course, 370 nm due south of the leader is a massive region of confused winds. With Donfeng only covering close to 250 nm in the past 24 hours, maybe it will move away. They hope so…

Leg 2 – Position Report (19:00 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA) 4297.7 nm DTF
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 6.4 nm DTL
3. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP) 9.3 nm DTL
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED) 10.2 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED) 20.2 nm DTL
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS) 49.3 nm DTL
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR) 69.1 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Leader

To see the crew lists… click here.

Race detailsLive contentScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

The second leg of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race started November 5 and is expected to take three weeks for the seven teams to complete the 7000 nm course from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa.

2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)

Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.

Source: Scuttlebutt, Volvo Ocean Race

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