Volvo Ocean Race: Wide open again
Published on January 17th, 2018
(January 17, 2018; Leg 4; Day 16) – For the past two days, the weather models have been telling the Volvo Ocean Race fleet to take a quick hitch to the south. While their aim is the finish in Hong Kong, they must first thread the gap between Taiwan and the Philippines, and some southing would help to avoid light winds ahead.
But to gybe in the northeasterly would see them suffer in the rankings. Every mile south counted for nothing in terms of progress to the finish line. But one by one they complied except for the leader, SHK/Scallywag, who enjoyed seeing their advantage over the fleet increase to nearly 100 miles.
“For the last three days the routings have been desperate to gybe south but they have also failed to capture the reality of the wind we are actually in,” explained Scallywag navigator Libby Greenhalgh. “So far the gybes have been a loss and the teams haven’t gained any leverage to pull back the distance. More defensive on the fleet near them than attacking us.”
But finally Scallywag skipper David Witt and Greenhalgh relented today and gybed south. And then they vanished.
From what we could see before they entered Stealth Mode, it was going to be as painful as expected. A lead of 90 miles rapidly came down to 70, and then just 45 nautical miles.
It appeared as though Scallywag would cross ahead of the line of Vestas 11th Hour Racing with about a 40 mile lead – half of their winning margin sacrificed to drive down the leverage and consolidate.
But then they called Stealth Mode and disappeared from view. Have they gybed again on the line of Vestas 11th Hour Racing? Or continued further south? We won’t know until they reappear on the position report and tracker at 13:00 UTC tomorrow.
Every team has the option of deploying Stealth Mode once per leg. When a team is in Stealth Mode, it will not show up on the position reports delivered publicly or to the rest of the fleet for three consecutive position reports. Teams in Stealth Mode still receive the position of the other boats in the fleet via the 6-hourly position reports.
Once the leading boat is within 200 miles of the finish line on a leg, all boats will be taken out of Stealth Mode for the remainder of the leg.
Race Control always receives the position of boats in Stealth Mode for safety considerations but does not publish them.
Overnight, Dongfeng Race Team became the first team on Leg 4 to engage Stealth Mode, reappearing today at 19:00 UTC.
The tracker is now live to the finish (as opposed to six hour updates) with the ETA in Hong Kong as Friday, January 19.
To see Leg 4 crew lists… click here.
Leg 4 – Position Report (21:05 UTC)
1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Mark Towill (USA), 798.2 nm DTF
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 29.4 nm DTL
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 52.6 nm DTL
4. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 118.2 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 153.6 nm DTL
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 179.9 nm DTL
STEALTH: Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead
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.
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