Volvo Ocean Race: Big tactical call ahead
Published on November 14th, 2017
(November 14, 2017; Leg 2, Day 10) – With yesterday’s Equator crossings already a fading memory for the Volvo Ocean Race crews, and after being largely untroubled by the Doldrums, the seven teams were making between 16 and 18 knots in the south-easterly trade winds typical of this part of the South Atlantic.
With speeds almost identical throughout the fleet, each crew’s high command were busy poring over satellite images in an effort to predict the next change in the trades that might give them the slightest of advantages.
“It’s nice to lead the fleet but it’s not easy,” said Charles Caudrelier, skipper of leg leaders Dongfeng Race Team. “We’re in inshore mode. The red boat [MAPFRE] is very fast. It’s a very hard job to stay ahead.”
Although the sailing is relatively straightforward now, it is about to get more complicated.
The St Helena High, the huge high pressure system that normally sits off the west coast of Africa is practically non-existent at the moment due to a large low pressure system dominating much of the South Atlantic.
But over the next week the depression will lessen, and the St Helena High will start to reassert itself.
Traditionally the quickest route takes the fleet along the Brazilian coast and then very far south, below the latitude of Cape Town to skirt underneath the anticyclone, before turning east to the finish line.
However, a tactical gamble could be to take a short cut through a narrow corridor of pressure as the anticyclone reestablishes itself.
It could slash 650 miles off the distance – well over 24 hours of sailing – but as with all betting there’s a chance it might not pay off.
Will any of the teams feel bold enough to roll the dice? Only time will tell.
Leg 2 – Position Report (19:00 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA) 3275.3 nm DTF
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP) 0.5 nm DTL
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 8.9 nm DTL
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED) 9.6 nm DTL
5. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED) 24.2 nm DTL
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR) 59.8 nm DTL
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS) 66.8 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Leader
To see the crew lists… click here.
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: Volvo Ocean Race