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Doldrum drubbing for Volvo Ocean Race

Published on October 23rd, 2014

(October 23, 2014; Day 13) – As the Equator looms large for the Volvo Ocean Race, the doldrums passage cruelly reminds the fleet that life is not fair, and perhaps least fair at the latitude just north of the 0 line. While Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Brunel have seemingly skated through the zone, the others… not so much.

“Normally you can be sitting stationery for hours on end, relying on clouds to puff you through – but we managed to keep moving,” smiles Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker.

While Team Vestas Wind has found a rabbit hole far to the east of the fleet, the middle of the course with Team Alvimedica, MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and Team SCA has not seen the best of times. Watch video.

“There’s no wind – and there’s nothing you can do about it,” shared Abby Ehler on Team SCA. “You can see where the wind is, but there’s no way of getting to it.”

Carolijn Brouwer compared the futility to another mode of transportation. “It’s like trying to sit on a bicycle without a chain. You keep turning the pedals really hard, but you’re not getting anywhere.”

“I’m tired of taking pictures of clouds,” shared reporter Amory Ross onboard Alvimedica. “We’ve somewhat resigned to the fact that Abu Dhabi and Brunel to the west and Vestas to the east are probably gone and into the SE trades. There’s nothing we can do about it but push harder to come out of the middle group on top.”

The good news is that speeds across the board are now in the teens, indicating the worst of it is behind all the teams. The bad news is that with the approach of the Equator, a ritual is afoot in which previously inducted crew members (Shellbacks) are organized into the ‘Court of Neptune’ to induct the Pollywogs (people who have not crossed the line) into ‘the mysteries of the Deep’. Watch video.

“Charlie, Mark, and Alberto might be content putting off their scheduled meeting with King Neptune,” considered Ross, “But little do they know that their special ‘stew’ in the bow is only growing stronger with time.”

The next waypoint for the fleet is toward Fernando de Noronha turning point, some 220 mile off the Brazilian coast.

Leg 1 Position Report (as of 18:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 3627.7 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 10.9 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 96.6 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 163.5 nm DTL
5. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), 194.0 nm DTL
6. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 197.1 nm DTL
7. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 225.5 DTL

Race websiteTrackingWatch logVideos

Weather forecast courtesy of PredictWind: All boats are on their way to the Fernando de Noronha waypoint. It appears that the Western most boat is going to arrive at the destination first, currently estimated to arrive 5 hours sooner than the Eastern most boat. For the weekend, the winds are between 15-20 knot ranges. PredictWind has provided forecast graphs through the weekend.

Click here to view.

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