Indian Ocean giveth, Indian Ocean taketh
Published on December 6th, 2014
(December 6, 2014; Day 18) – After seven days of Emirati supremacy during the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, Dongfeng Race Team just overtook Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and are now in first place, with Team Brunel in second.
Both teams have been steadily gaining on the Azzam boat, sailing a deeper angle at a faster boat speed ahead and in the secondary Doldrums.
“The payout we’re counting on is that we’ll cross the light air quickly in the west and then take advantage of the building breeze on the west hand side of the course all the way north,” wrote Abu Dhabi’s Onboard Reporter this morning, when his team was still in the lead.
Rather prophetically, Matt Knighton then added, “The risk we take is that Dongfeng and Brunel could have a better angle in the east – especially if they’re able to cross the Doldrums ahead of us. It’ll either be first place or third place for us coming into the final stretch after this.”
The latter turned out to be true – for now at least.
This morning, at 1000 UTC, Dongfeng was 13 nautical miles (nm) behind the leader and Brunel, 17.5nm. At 1600 UTC, these distances had dropped to 4.7nm and 6.9nm.
The Chinese and the Dutch teams, only 1.9nm apart, seemed to have found a better route across the convergence zone. Compared to Abu Dhabi, their speedometers have shown one to two additional knots of boat speed all day.
These aren’t big numbers, but it has been enough to overtake Ian Walker’s team, now 3nm from the new leader.
At the back of the fleet, the other three boats haven’t had the same luck, and the distance between them and the leaders has only been increasing.
Leg 2 Position Report (as of 21:43 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 1449.3 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), .9 nm Distance to Lead
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 10.2 nm DTL
4. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 176.4 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 197.6 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 207.3 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Suspended racing
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.