Fernando de Noronha to port, then Cape Town to finish

Published on October 24th, 2014

(October 24, 2014; Day 14) – With tight reaching angles in winds in the teens and twenties, the focus of the Volvo Ocean Race teams today has been on Fernando de Noronha, which is much more than a Brazilian island. It is a compulsory waypoint, and a strategic turn, before the fleet can continue to the finish in Cape Town.

The fleet is rounding the rock now, led by Abu Dhabi at 1420 UTC, with now the longer term strategy through the South Atlantic to consider. As is typically the case at this juncture, the St Helena High is the main feature blocking their way to Cape Town.

The purpose of the Fernando de Noronha waypoint is to remove the temptation of any boat thinking it might risk sailing directly south from the Med through the St. Helena High. Ships of the past have cruised into that region and been stuck there for weeks and weeks in no wind.

In fact, this weather feature is so large that, despite a theoretical 3,353 miles left before the South African finish, the teams could have around 5,000 miles to actually sail to round it before they arrive in port.

Just after Fernando de Noronha, the navigators have two choices: dive aggressively in the south, to reach and sail in the strong Roaring Forties winds – in that case, they would probably pick a southwest course after Fernando.

Or they could chose to cut the corner, and sail in the middle of the St Helena High – in that case, they would pick a southeast course after rounding the waypoint.

An earlier feat was to cross the Equator. Here are the official times when each team crossed the line:
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing – 141023 – 21:12:50
Team Brunel – 141023 – 22:08:02
Team Vestas Wind – 141024 – 01:40:36
Dongfeng Race Team – 141024 – 08:45:44
MAPFRE – 141024 – 10:51:18 AM
Team Alvimedica – 141024 – 11:23:48 AM
Team SCA – 141024 – 1220 UTC

Leg 1 Position Report (as of 21:15 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 3356.6 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 6.4 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 15.0 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 89.7 nm DTL
5. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), 128.4 nm DTL
6. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 138.8 nm DTL
7. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 157.0 nm DTL

Race websiteTrackingWatch logVideos

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.

Report by race media. Photo of Fernando De Noronha by Brian Carlin/Team Vestas Wind/Volvo Ocean Race

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