VOR: From a drag race to a drift-fest

Published on January 14th, 2015

(January 14, 2015; Day 12) – What began today as a drag race for the Volvo Ocean Race has now turned into a drift-fest in the Bay of Bengal. With entrance to the Malacca Strait still 500nm ahead of leader Dongfeng, their short term reality is grim.

“The wind forecasts for the next 48 hours are awful, less than 3 knots of wind,” notes skipper Charles Caudrelier. “It’s a nightmare for us – we can’t control anything, and it gives hope for the pack right behind us.”

The low is producing an area of very light wind near to its center and that system is moving erratically. Wind direction is anywhere from northwest to north to northeast. Rumb line is ENE.

While Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking can appreciate it would be great for Chinese sailing if Dongfeng won this leg, he remains eager to spoil their party.

“The next three days will be painstakingly slow, with no more breeze than 2-3 knots in the forecast, 1 knot more of breeze in these conditions means you go 2 knots faster that the opposition. No extra pressure on our navigator Capey, he is cool as ice and he knows the opportunities are out there.”

With four of the teams now within 10 nm of each other, there is close attention on how each is performing.

“It’s moding – tanks, trim, fore and aft weights, sail combinations,” notes Neal McDonald, Abu Dhabi performance manager, who is also crewing on this leg. “There is lots of tweaking, lots of modes to play with, conditions change.”

Leg 3 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 2208.5 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 45.8 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 48.0 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 50.7 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 55.6 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 81.5 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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