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VOR: Will a park-up decide the race to China?

Published on January 25th, 2015

(January 25, 2015; Day 23) – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is in final approach, and after a night of shortacking the Vietnam coast, they are more eager for this finish than most legs.

“It was hours of pure chaos under the moonlight shadow of Vietnam,” reported Amory Ross on Alvimedica. “There were lights everywhere, hundreds of little craft and even unlit, overturned saucers with an oarsmen and a headlamp, drifting through the darkness. We could just have easily run someone over as we could have hooked a net, anchor, or both. The margin for error was ridiculously small.”

Still sailing upwind angles, the fleet today split from the coast on port tack to seek better winds offshore. Now on starboard, and with their bows aimed at Sanya, there still remain some hurdles to overcome.

In their track are the Paracel Islands which offer reefs to avoid, and an area of light wind related to the high pressure near the Vietnamese coast. Once the teams are 100 nm from the finish they would have passed this transition area and see more stable wind right up to the finish.

However, closer to Sanya, one last situation is an area of light wind pushing out on the final miles of the leg. After over three weeks of racing, will the winners be decided in a park-up at the finish?

“It is a shame that we have to sail with the AIS on, as the boats ahead can see every move we make and can respond to what we do,” noted Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking. “But let’s hope we can use it this time to our advantage, as we maybe can see the opposition parking up and then buffalo girl around them.”

Auction: Team Alvimedica has raised more than $30,000 for pediatric heart health since the Volvo Ocean Race started, offering coveted onboard guest positions through an online auction. Bidding has started on the seven Pro-Am Race spots and the “Jump Seat” positon when Team Alvimedica competes in Sanya in early February. Click here to submit a bid. Here’s a video of the jumper from the Leg 2 start in Abu Dhabi:

Leg 3 (4,642 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 227.9 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 56.2 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 62.5 nm DTL
4. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 75.9 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 85.0 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 126.8 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 Jan. 26-27. 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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