Volvo Ocean Race: Doing the end around

Published on February 8th, 2018

(February 8, 2018; Day 2) – While the six boats all pounded away on an upwind easterly course toward the southern tip of Taiwan, the split came soon after passing the island nation as Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG) and Team AkzoNobel tacked to starboard and now are sailing a NNE angle… a near opposite direction from the finish line in New Zealand.

The first big tactical call is whether teams commit themselves to the northern route or if they choose to cut the corner and aim south earlier toward Auckland. Until the result of this decision is learned, the rankings will mean very little.

“I’ve got my bets on them getting really up-close and intimate with Okinawa,” notes offshore expert Conrad Colman. “I expect them to be doing this big northerly loopy course that is all driven by this trough that’s a building mix of a high pressure zone that’s going to be pushing the boats out this way.”

But whether on port or starboard, going upwind in 20+ knots is no joy. “We’ve been bouncing upwind – it’s been straight into it,” reports team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont.

Passing through Asian waters, the prevalence of trash has already impacted Turn the Tide on Plastic and Team Brunel. “We were going very well but then all of sudden we were super slow,” notes Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Team Brunel. “In no time we lost half a mile, the cause was a huge plastic bag on the rudder. We actually had to do two tacks to get it off, losing more distance, but from then on we’ve been slowly chipping away again.”

For the time being, Brunel, MAPFRE, Dongfeng, and Turn the Tide continue east on port tack, which boosts their rankings but may be sending them toward a developing area of light wind. The impact of this decision will be known tomorrow.


Beginning on February 7, Leg 6 is listed as a 6,100 nautical mile course from Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand.

For crew lists… click here.

Damage: Only six of the seven teams are competing in Leg 6 as Vestas 11th Hour Racing is still repairing their boat following the collision with a fishing boat as they neared the finish line of Leg 4 in Hong Kong. The team shipped their boat to Auckland to complete repairs in time for the March 18 start of Leg 7 to Itajaí, Brazil.

Race detailsTrackerScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Leg 6 – Position Report (19:00 UTC)
1. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 4983.5 nm DTF
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 4.7 nm DTL DTL
3. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 6.5 nm DTL
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 10.0 nm DTL
5: Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 15.9 nm DTL
6. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 16.7 nm DTL
DNS. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead; DNS – Did Not Start

Overall Results (after 5 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 34 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 30
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23
4. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 20
5. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 18
6. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 15
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 9

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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