Volvo fleet shifts from survival to stability
Published on August 13th, 2014
Cowes, UK (August 13, 2014) – The third day of the 1880nm Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race continues to pressure the 28-boat fleet, with strong conditions remaining the theme for this immensely challenging course.
Among the five Volvo Ocean 65s, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Azzam leads the charge, extending on Team Campos, skippered by Iker Martinez, to over 40 miles, reveling in the offwind sailing with just over 500nm to the finish.
“With up to 36 knots of wind and sustained periods of 30+, we have continued to push the boat as hard as we can – only once backing off as it felt like we were going to shake everything to pieces,” noted skipper Ian Walker. “I think it is paying good dividends having so many capable helmsmen, as we are going well. It is pretty intense on the body and mind, with most of the helmsmen’s hands now in tatters.”
Team Alvimedica, in fourth position, reports at nightfall off Ireland that the conditions are finally easing, and they are able to climb out of drysuits, with some hopes to see the fleet compress.
Trailing in fifth, the all-female Team SCA remains penalized for an early race decision along the notoriously tricky route, flanked by ever-changing coastline and testing tides. “We found ourselves in a situation with wind farms,” explains navigator Libby Greenhalgh. “We made a call to go outside of them, thinking that there was a large gap between them – but it turned out there was another wind farm! This caused us to go 30 miles in the wrong direction.”
The good news for the fleet is that, following a fast and furious opening 48 hours, the conditions are more stable as they head south, past the western edge of Ireland, with an ETA of late Friday/early Saturday.