Volvo Ocean Race: Welcome to the Southern Ocean

Published on November 1st, 2014

(November 1, 2014; Day 22) – It was a case of follow the leader this morning, as Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Team Brunel and Team Vestas Wind gybed at around 0700 UTC – mimicking the move of Dongfeng Race Team, who were the first ones to gybe south around two hours before.

An hour later, at around 0800 UTC, Spanish boat MAPFRE and Team Alvimedica also gybed – leaving the all-female Team SCA as the only ones who hadn’t. That changed at 1100 UTC when the magenta boat also positioned themselves south.

Currently, leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are closing in on Gough Island, a volcanic island in the South Atlantic Ocean, and a dependency of Tristan da Cunha.

“On deck, the guys have been facing white-walled waves that crash over the cockpit as they surf down ocean swells four meters high,” described Matt Knighton on Abu Dhabi. “As the ride down one wave ends, the bow of Azzam will plow into the next sending freezing seawater crashing up the deck with a power strong enough to knock you over. The best part: this is only an introduction to Southern Ocean sailing.”

Remember – the ice exclusion zone between 42°S, 10°W and 20°W means that the teams aren’t able to cut straight through that area, but they are sticking as close as possible to the safe limits, with some sailing as close as 60nm to the border.

Once past the corner of the exclusion zone, we could see the fleet push south again to colder and even more aggressive sailing conditions.

“There are some significant hurdles left on the course and the general consensus is that there are big opportunities for gains from behind, all the way to the finish line,” notes Amory Ross on Alvimedica. “It’s a theory we plan on putting to the test.”

Leg 1 Position Report (as of 21:54 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 1453.8 nm Distance to Finish
2. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 15.1 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 25.6 nm DTL
4. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 58.7 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 166.7nm DTL
6. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), 358.5 nm DTL
7. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 521.4 DTL

Race websiteTrackingWatch logVideos

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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