Welcome to the Pecking Order
Published on January 8th, 2015
(January 8, 2015; Day 6) – In this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race, being held in identical one design Volvo Ocean 65s, there are no slow boats on the race course. In the past, there have been slow boats, but not this time. This time there are only slow teams. Welcome to the pecking order.
The pecking order is a feature of one design racing, where the ability of each team is not masked by their boat. Better teams do better, and during a series of races, a pecking order is soon established. With two legs now completed, the top three has been consistent: Brunel, Dongfeng, and Abu Dhabi. So consistent, in fact, they are tied on points.
And here we are on Leg 3, and the pecking order remains intact. If this trend continues, there will be high anxiety on these three boats to avoid any missteps. In a three-boat race, it will be hard to get back points on the overall scoreboard.
As the fleet descends south in the Indian Ocean, with a tactical turn east at Sri Lanka some 900nm ahead, expect the top three to stick together like stink on sh#t. They are broad reaching in VMG mode, and if the top three are faster, they would like nothing more than to increase their margin on the pack behind.
With all the countless sand traps this leg contains, the top three are eager to stay in the top three, and not let some unlit fishing net scuttle their place on the podium.
Leg 3 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3566.9 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 8.5 nm Distance to Lead
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 22.3 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 33.8 nm DTL
5. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 40.1 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 43.6 DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start
Background: The race is now on Leg 3 from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China (4,642 nm), which started Jan. 3 with an ETA on or after Jan. 19. 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.