VOR: Auckland has a new leader

Published on February 15th, 2015

(February 15, 2015; Day 8) – The massive bet has paid off for Brunel, cashing in their northern position to now lead the Volvo Ocean Race by a large margin.

After splitting five days ago from the fleet, following SCA’s early tack, the ‘Taiwan way’ has proven to be the lucky one. Yes, the leg to Auckland has a new leader.

“Brunel have finally made their northerly gamble pay and I suspect their lead could grow to around 100 miles,” acknowledged Abu Dhabi skipper Ian Walker. “Nice sailing by them but hopefully it won’t be the last we see of them this leg.”

Despite Team Brunel’s move to the top of the scoreboard, at the moment the investment to the north doesn’t seem to have paid off for Team SCA, who still sit in sixth position.

Abu Dhabi has held their lead among the southern group despite breaking the J1 spigot and the pad-eye for the reaching strut this morning.

“We are still winning our tussle with the main group despite a few minor breakages,” added Walker. “I can’t pretend I am not getting a bit bored of being pretty much on the wind on port but at least we have wind and with the windspeed dropping there is less load on all the gear.”

Bad luck today as well for the overall race leader Dongfeng Race Team who broke their halyard locking system, losing the J1, the weapon of choice. It took seven hours to hoist the J1 again.

In other news, the fleet sailed today through the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s ocean.

Leg 4 (5,264 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 3388.4 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 53.0 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 58.3 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 65.5 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 66.9 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 105.4 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

Race websiteTrackingScoreboardVideos

Background: 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. The fourth leg, from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand (5,264 nm), began Feb. 8 with an ETA of Mar. 1-5.

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