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Girls take first Volvo Ocean Race milestone, but reset has Walker in lead

Published on October 13th, 2014

(October 13, 2014; Day 3) – Team SCA, the first all-female crew to take part in the Volvo Ocean Race for more than a decade, tackled the first milesone of the 2014-15 edition as they lead the 7-teams through the Strait of Gibraltar and into the Atlantic Ocean. The Swedish-backed crew crossed the Strait at 0540 UTC today.

After the fleet had clung together through the Mediterranean since the start, Team SCA split from the fleet in their approach to the Strait of Gibraltar, taking a northern route inside 100 nm to go. While the rest of fleet sailed closer to Morocco and the Spanish city of Ceuta, on the African continent, the leverage by Swedish-flagged team gave them the lead.

“Everyone except us were going the southerly route through the Strait and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why,” said British navigator Greenhalgh. “We wanted to stay with the fleet but we also wanted to stick with our plan – and our plan had us sailing north.”

Passing times through the Strait of Gibraltar
Team SCA, 0540 UTC
Team Vestas Wind, 0635 UTC
Team Alvimedica, 0655 UTC
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, 0657 UTC
Dongfeng Race Team, 0716 UTC
Team Brunel, 0718 UTC

After passing Gibraltar, however, rather than a turn to the south to hop on the trade wind conveyor belt, the entire fleet was forced to push west, a result of low pressure in the North Atlantic keeping the trades further south. But it’s been hardly straightforward as the fleet’s gone inside out a few times.

“Boats have been on all different angles,” observed Ryan Houston on Team Alvimedica. “We call it snakes and ladders – and at the moment we’re on a snake. A few others are on a ladder.”

The theme today was to stay in the cold front, which offered a long port tack in the southwest winds. But with the wind clocking during the day, the fleet was finally able to tack onto starboard by 21:00 UTC, with leader Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing now heading south, tight reaching at 15 knots in westerly winds of 18 knots.

Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 6073.0 nm Distance to Finish
2. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), 3.4 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Alvimedia, Charlie Enright (USA), 4.4 nm DTL
4. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 5.2 nm DTL
5. Team Bunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 6.0 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 7.3 DTL
7. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 9.8 nm DTL

Race websiteTrackingWatch log

VIDEOS: The Volvo Ocean Race YouTube channel includes the first two episodes of ‘The Inside Track’, a daily recap show hosted by Genny Tulloch. Also posted by Team SCA was footage of whales keeping the girls company. Click here for channel.

Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began Leg 1 on October 11, which takes the 7 teams 6478nm from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. ETA is Oct. 31 – Nov. 9. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition – the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series. Final finish on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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