VOR: Life is not fair

Published on January 19th, 2015

(January 19, 2015; Day 17) – After leading for most miles since the leg start in Abu Dhabi, Dongfeng is finding that life is not fair in the Volvo Ocean Race. Executing solid strategy and consistently maintaining maximum boat speed is what should win races. But when racing in the Malacca Strait, luck looks to be as vital.

After building a 100 nm, Dongfeng has badly bled miles due to a no-wind zone that has opened up around them. The only good news for the Chinese team is the trailing fleet is aimed straight for the quicksand too.

The four boats bearing down on Dongfeng – MAPRE, Abu Dhabi, Alvimedica, and Brunel – are on a near parallel path within a 11nm radius. They are likely not to wander far apart, each fearful of what punishment is given to those that seek to outsmart the local wind gods.

Or perhaps misery just likes company. The sea temperature is 30º and the air temperature is in the high 20s, and very humid. The weather models that the teams use do not pick up the subtle changes at a local level, so it really is all about keeping a careful watch on deck, looking at the clouds and the water.

Obstacles are a problem too. The teams are all reporting more floating rubbish and unlit obstacles, with shipping traffic to become an issue as they sail down to the separation zone, before Singapore.

Leg 3 (4,642 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 1432.2 nm Distance to Finish
2. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 25.4 nm Distance to Lead
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 25.8 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 28.9 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 35.0 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 90.5 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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