Day of the Doldrums
Published on October 21st, 2014
(October 21, 2014; Day 11) – It’s been the day of the doldrums for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, with the historically preferred west positioning again appearing to provide the best conditions for progressing across the equator.
Perhaps that is why two of the more seasoned teams, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Brunel, are furthest west and now furthest ahead.
“We made that decision two days ago,” explains Abu Dhabi’s skipper Ian Walker. “All we can do now is a subtle adjustment. It’s not like we can suddenly go 100 miles this way or that way. We’re where we are.”
There’s no shortage of incentive to get across to the South Atlantic. “It has become very hot,” noted Amory Ross, Team Alvimedica reporter, “and super smelly. So yes, confidently confirmed: we are in the Doldrums! Wish us luck.”
While teams read the clouds for wind, they welcome the occasional downpours too, and are ready with the soap when they arrive.
“I can’t see a thing, I’ve got so much soap in my eyes!” laughs Walker, steering the boat with one hand, wiping away the suds and bubbles from his foamy brow with the other.
Walker’s team is now 7 degrees north, and while the early forecast was for the fleet to exit the Doldrums by Wednesday morning, all boats at this time are recording slow speeds.
Leg 1 Position Report (as of 21:55 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 4050.1 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 2.9 nm Distance to Lead
3. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 46.6 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 69.7 nm DTL
5. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 75.6 DTL
6. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), 89.4 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 93.0 nm DTL
Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began Leg 1 on October 11, which takes the seven teams 6478 nm 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.