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VOR: Doing the Doldrum Dance

Published on February 21st, 2015

(February 21, 2015; Day 14) – At 1130 UTC the wind shifted right for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet and from looking at the trackers this may have caught some of the boats off guard.

Brunel, despite a succession of blips on the tracker caused by anything from sail changes, wind shifts or something unknown to us, have managed to keep their lead…just.

It was looking bad for Brunel when the 1600 UTC sked came out (which doesn’t go to the boats). Dongfeng were overall leg leaders at the time, which in itself is a huge achievement as over the past 48 hours they have gone from last to back in with the leading pack.

Looking at the current weather and routings there is a light wind patch ahead of the boats which looks like it could perhaps delay arrivals, once the fleet pass the Doldrums fully we should have a much better idea of the ETA in Auckland.

The tracker shows just how long it takes the boats to do maneouvres with stacking and double-checking. Brunel had a negative VMG at one point where they were actually heading northeast, and it took them 3nm to tack as they had a wind shift from 033º to 298º.

These conditions are a huge change from the past few days of reaching in a straight line and will keep the teams on their toes for a few more days yet.

Leg 4 (5,264 nm) Position Report (as of 21:39 UTC)
1. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 1825.3 nm Distance to Finish
2. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 15.6 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 16.6 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 18.6 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 25.9 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 61.3 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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