Abu Dhabi thankful. Dongfeng, not so much.

Published on November 27th, 2014

(November 27, 2014; Day 9) – While the USA is amidst its Thanksgiving Day holiday, the team of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, current overall leader of the Volvo Ocean Race, has much to be thankful for too. After finding themselves separated from the fleet on the leg from Cape Town to Abu Dhabi, ranked as low as fifth at one stage, the weather gods have brought them back to the fleet. Onboard reporter Matt Knighton provides an update…

On the horizon at dusk, four sets of sails became clearer and clearer as the fleet compressed and our separation for the past three days came to a close. We’ve been very pleased that the wider route we accidentally dealt ourselves earlier has paid dividends as we now are fighting for the lead with Brunel, Dongfeng, and MAPFRE.

For Ian (skipper Ian Walker), there’s a relief to have other boats nearby to race against, “We’re quite pleased this time because we were a long way behind these guys. It’s quite nice to be in touch and see how we’re going.”

Last night as we gybed north towards a predicted Tropical Storm that might cross our path, the forecast was for decent trade wind conditions all day. However, as dawn is breaking the Indian Ocean is glass and we’re floating amongst the lead group looking for wind.

As if the unpredictability of this leg wasn’t enough already, now this un-forcasted high-pressure ridge is rolling the dice again. Anyone could get a puff from a squall right now and come out miles ahead, arrive at the Tropical Storm first, and then see decisive gains.

There’s no question that storm is in the back of everyone’s mind. When asked if he knows how Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing will prepare for those conditions, Ian is weighing the options.

“The Tropical Storm is coming towards us and that can become a question of how close to the center do we dare go: racing benefits versus potential risk scenario.”

With a laugh he adds, “I’m sure when push comes to shove we’re all going to send it in there and egg each other on.”

MORE: The Dongfeng Race Team report that a section of the mainsail track has separated from the mast. They have strapped the track to the mast to prevent further damage, though this prevents the mainsail slides from moving… a problem when needing to reef. See video…

Leg 2 Position Report (as of 15:40 UTC)

1. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 3351.6 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), .4 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 2.2 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 5.2 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 25.0 nm DTL
6. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 29.6 nm DTL
7. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 32.7 DTL

Race websiteTrackingWatch logVideos

Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on Oct. 11 with the final finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, seven 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. The second offshore leg from Cape Town, SA to Abu Dhabi, UAE is 6,125 nm, started Nov. 19 with an ETA of Dec. 9-16.

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