VOR: When anchoring becomes the winning move

Published on January 20th, 2015

(January 20, 2015; Day 18) – The soundtrack from the 1975 film Jaws was filling the air today around Volvo Ocean Race leader Dongfeng. But unlike the movie, when a giant great white shark kills unsuspecting beach goers, Dongfeng narrowly escaped the attack of the fleet during another day of fickle winds and opposing currents.

With lead still in hand, and improving winds, Dongfeng rounded the north point of an exclusion zone which will now funnel them down the Malacca Strait along the Malaysian coast, intended to keep the fleet clear of the main shipping channel

Among the prominent tactical decisions today was whether to anchor. “With absolutely no wind, and about a knot and a half of current, our progress was going backwards,” noted Abu Dhabi navigator Simon Fisher, who anchored along with MAPRE and Brunel.

Team SCA, trailing by 55 nm yesterday, used this leverage to separate from the fleet, sailing closer to the Indonesian shore in better breeze. While the rest of the fleet played with their anchors, SCA was full-charge and catching them up.

But much like how Dongfeng escaped from the shark, the fleet regained speed in time to avoid SCA’s attack. But nobody has avoided the attack of killer trash.

“Plastics and nets get hooked on the keel, and we’ve hit a couple of tree trunks,” reports Francisco Vignale on MAPRE. We keep lifting the daggerboards to get rid of whatever gets tangled on them.”

For the Malacca Strait, each team’s designated swimmer might prove the decisive factor.

Leg 3 (4,642 nm) Position Report (as of 21:55 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 1295.6 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 37.6 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 42.6 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 43.5 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 49.7 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 73.3 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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