Volvo Ocean Race: Big changes ahead

Published on January 7th, 2018

(January 7, 2018; Leg 4; Day 6) – The Volvo Ocean Race is about to take a turn as the leader are within 20nm of the Solomon Islands, the easternmost point of which is a mark of the race course from Melbourne to Hong Kong.

The entire fleet, beam reaching on a northerly course, has compressed significantly over the past 24 hours as the leaders raced into less stable conditions, allowing the backmarkers to close the gap. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, for example, who trailed by 90 miles at 1300 UTC yesterday, had nearly halved that deficit by this afternoon.

“It’s going to be slowish progress, but we’ve had a good run so far,” said Rob Greenhalgh from on board MAPFRE. “It’s going to be a bit of a drag race with a few clouds to contend with.”

The weather is very unpredictable. In the squalls, winds can be up to 25 knots. In the lulls, there can be as little as 5 knots.

“Today was all about cloud activity and making the best of the wind it delivered,” reports Dee Caffari, the skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic. “There is a lot more of this kind of activity ahead looking at the satellite pictures and some of the clouds are looking very active. Whichever boat comes out of the clouds ahead first will do very well, however, the light airs area of the doldrums is looking large at the moment.”

The routing software suggests the boats will ‘round’ the island of San Cristobal closely, leaving it close to port, before continuing north through the lightest winds of the doldrums. The next 48 hours will be very challenging.

“We’re going to have to be on our toes now,” said Simon Fisher, the navigator on Vestas 11th Hour Racing. “We’re expecting big changes to come in the next 24 hours.”

To see Leg 4 crew lists… click here.

 

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Leg 4 – Position Report (19:00 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3502.9 nm DTF
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 4.0 nm DTL
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 7.0 nm DTL
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Mark Towill (USA), 11.5 nm DTL
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 18.3 nm DTL
6. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 32.9 nm DTL
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 51.4 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Leader

Beginning on January 2, Leg 4 is a 5,600 nautical mile race up the east coast of Australia from Melbourne, into the Coral Sea and up north to Hong Kong. The ETA for Hong Kong will be more certain after the boats clear the Doldrums but is penciled in for January 20 to 21.

Overall Results (after 3 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 29 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 23
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 14
5. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 11
6. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 9
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 6

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

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