Volvo Ocean Race: All smiles on AkzoNobel
Published on February 23rd, 2018
(February 23, 2018; Day 17) – Skipper Simeon Tienpont’s team on AkzoNobel made the most of slightly better wind and angle as they sailed round the outside of previous frontrunners Turn the Tide on Plastic along with Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallwag.
A little bit of luck then came AkzoNobel’s way when a tropical cloud appeared in between them and closest chasers Scallywag, scuppering their rival team’s speed while they slipped away at pace.
The three teams had been neck and neck approaching the northern tip of New Caledonia, with AkzoNobel and Scallywag lined up to the west of Turn the Tide on Plastic.
Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide team gambled on sailing between New Caledonia’s barrier reef in a bid to gain precious miles but the punt has not paid.
At 1300 UTC AkzoNobel had accelerated to 25 miles in front of Scallywag, while Turn the Tide on Plastic were 65 miles north-east, but another 1,000 miles of race course still lie between them and the Auckland finish line.
“Of all the six boats in the fleet I would rather be on this one right now,” AkzoNobel’s Cécile Laguette said. “We are in a good spot, looking at where the breeze is coming from right now and where we need to be positioned in the next few days. But there is still a long way to go and until we get to the northern tip of New Zealand with a good lead then we probably shouldn’t talk about anything.”
Leg 4 winners Scallywag have been working overtime to regain ground on AkzoNobel since losing the Leg 6 lead a few days ago. Just when they thought they had reeled their rivals in disaster struck in the form of a cloud that reduced their speed to less than a knot.
AkzoNobel, still travelling at 13 knots, made their escape once more.
John Fisher, helmsman on Scallywag, said: “It was the middle of the night and we were heading round the reef at the top end of New Caledonia. We were only two or three miles from Akzo when a cloud came right between us. It was one of those very frustrating hour-long stints when you just want to pull your hair out. We’re just heading south as quickly as we can go.”
Team Brunel were in fourth place on the Leg 6 leaderboard before opting to go into stealth mode, whereby their position is hidden from the race tracker for 24 hours.
Stealth mode is most commonly deployed when the teams want to attempt a big tactical manoeuvre – but the teams and fans alike will have to wait until they reappear with on tomorrow’s 0100 UTC position report to find out if it has paid off.
After passing the top of New Caledonia and breaking free from the Doldrums, back markers MAPFRE and Dongfeng have adopted a slightly higher angle as they try to maximise boat speed and claw back miles on the front four.
“We are starting to get out of the Doldrums and the conditions are starting to be close to the south easterly winds, though the trade winds aren’t established 100 per cent yet,” MAPFRE navigator Juan Vila said. “We have periods of ten knots of winds alternating with slightly lighter winds of five to six knots. We hope it will be more established in the next hours and tomorrow we will already have wind around 10-15 knots.”
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 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.
Leg 6 – Position Report (13:00 UTC)
1. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 1123.3 nm DTF
2. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 1.6 nm DTL
3. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 2.8 nm DTL
4. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 55.1 nm DTL
5. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 61.9 nm DTL
Stealth mode. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 16.6 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