Red light, Green light in the Laccadive Sea

Published on January 12th, 2015

(January 12, 2015; Day 10) – For a race billed as ‘Life at the Extreme’, the Volvo Ocean Race has had over a week of dry decks and monotonous reaching conditions toward the southern tip of India. But that ended today.

As predicted, after the teams turned the corner of India, they were served the wind compression which funnels through the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka.

“The setup of the boat today, in heavy air mode, is completely different to the setup since leaving Abu Dhabi,” reports Amory Ross on Alvimedica. “We need to remember all of the things we do differently in 19 knots: the outrigger positions, the internal stack position, when to reef and when to change sails. In a one-design class it’s these kinds of details that can make the biggest differences.”

Equally as predicted, the fast conditions were short-lived as the fleet approached the lee side of Sri Lanka. With an elevation of over 2000 metres high, plus an opposing current to the fleet, it is a recipe for a park up that the leaders now face.

MAPFRE and Team Alvimedica not only have gained miles, but have dug south of the pack, which may offer more consistent winds and less oppressive current.

With the fleet all posting single digit speeds, those that first get into the fresher winds in the Bay of Bengal should enjoy a ‘rich get richer’ lifestyle until Indonesia when the course turns right and enters the notorious Malacca Strait.

The 500nm stretch, dividing the Indonesian island of Sumatra and Malaysia, is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and narrows to 1.5nm at one point. That bottleneck could well allow the chasing boats to catch Dongfeng Race Team – if they are still ahead at this point.

Leg 3 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 2638.1 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 16.5 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 17.6 nm DTL
4. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 23.0 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 24.1 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 35.5 DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

Race websiteTrackingScoreboardVideos

Background: The fleet 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.

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