Volvo Ocean Race: The grind down to the southern latitudes

Published on October 26th, 2014

(October 26, 2014; Day 16) – Since making the mandatory turn at the Brazilian islands of Fernando de Noronha, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet’s direction is now south in tight reaching conditions, finding the fastest course in the north easterly winds as they seek to navigate around the St Helena high pressure system.

“Sitting in the Nav Station on-board Azzam, (navigator) SiFi again surveys what looks like colored spaghetti,” notes Abu Dhabi reporter Matt Knighton. “This time thrown on a map of the South Atlantic Ocean. Each colored line marks a different routing to Cape Town. At last count there were over 15.”

MAPFRE and Team SCA have sought out a course much closer to the Brazilian coast, possibly with the intent of hooking into a small low pressure system close to Rio de Janeiro. However, it might also be a decision made out of desperation rather than strategy, as over the last 24 hours, Ian Walker’s Emirati boat has sailed the most miles, and MAPFRE the least.

Team Alvimedica reporter Amory Ross observes the benefits of how the leg is now one of few immediate decisions. “The watch system finally has some real estate to settle into—straight line sailing is something we haven’t had much of to date—and as boring as staying on one tack for a week can be, it really helps with routines and rhythms, with getting some rest for the challenging week ahead.”

Leg 1 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 2915.3 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 23.4 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 73.5 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 121.2 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 161.5 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 210.2 DTL
7. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), 214.9 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.

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