Finally beginning to feel normal

Published on January 6th, 2015

(January 6, 2015; Day 4) – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet has now passed the Pakistan border and the boats are making their way south toward India. Dongfeng Race Team have cemented their lead by gybing away from the shore first, giving them a solid position advanced and to the southeast of the fleet.

“We invested in our lead to make sure we’d be the most eastern boat, and have more wind to round the high-pressure system (on Wednesday,” said skipper Charles Caudrelier. “Although, now we’re pretty sure the wind will turn right 80º. This will be a compromise between wind strength and direction, we’ll have to wait and see.”

Both Team Brunel and MAPFRE were unfortunate enough to catch some sea anchors on their keels today, with the Spanish boat having to slow right down to remove some plastic. On Brunel, the Dutchies even had to wrestle a snake, which had attached itself to the keel.

Since the start, the fleet has remained tight as the emphasis has been on inshore tactics and boat-on-boat positioning. But Alvimedica reporter Amory Ross predicts that will soon change.

“With a little more ocean now to play with, the more traditional offshore strategies are coming back into significance. Things like the weather routing (and major decisions regarding it), miles of separation between the boats, a land-less horizon, watch systems, and the natural rhythms of the race are beginning to take over. Eating and sleeping schedules have settled in and everyone’s catching up on some of the lost sleep. It’s finally beginning to feel normal around here.”

With the increase in wind and the early gybe, the teams are now back in the drag race to the turning point around Sri Lanka. The work intensity stays high but with there are no more gybes to do for a day or so, and they should be able to catch up on some much needed sleep.

The wind is set to moderate slightly as the fleet gets further offshore and possibly veer from west-northwest to north, and maybe northeast overnight, with VMG sailing being the theme for the next 24 hours.

Leg 3 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3978.7 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 9.1 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 13.5 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 14.2 nm DTL
5. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 24.9 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 26.4 DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

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 third offshore leg from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China is 4,642 nm, started Jan. 3 with the ETA on or after Jan. 19.

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