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Volvo Ocean Race: It’s cold time

Published on March 21st, 2015

(March 21, 2015; Day 5) – The temperatures are getting colder for the Volvo Ocean Race, a trend that will continue as the fleet pushes further south toward the ice limit at the 51ºS latitude. They are now in the Roaring Forties and are already using three layers of clothing. Thermals, mid-layers and the all-important warm hats to keep the bitter cold out. The all-in one-survival suits should be out very soon.

“Today was the first day we wore our wet weather gear on deck not to stay dry but to stay warm,” reports Matt Knighton on Abu Dhabi. “At night we’re now sleeping in several layers with our sleeping bags zipped shut. During the day the guys are putting on gloves – bare skin isn’t cutting it anymore.”

The fleet is doing everything they can to escape the lighter and confusing conditions of the high-pressure system behind. With the help of a few windy squalls, they are now in the upper tens building breeze and looking to use the right hand lifting shift to push south.

While the cold is expected, the winds have been less certain. But as Knighton reports, that looks to be improving. “Both the European and American models indicate we’re looking at only one day above 30 knots of wind over the next week; unprecedented in the Southern Ocean. ‘This forecast is a dream, you never see it this good,’ observed skipper Ian Walker.”

Brunel has continued to profit in the north with both more wind and a private shift. Alvimedica is 38 nautical miles to the north and sailing well in 15 knots of wind at 10 knots. Abu Dhabi is still happy to sit in the middle of the fleet.

To the south of Abu Dhabi, the girls of Team SCA are showing their ability to sail just as fast as the next boat. After some difficult legs for them, this current performance will be a real boost to their confidence in what is proving to be the toughest leg so far.

MAPFRE and Dongfeng are the two closest boats together, just 3nm apart with SCA probably drifting in and out of AIS distance at about 10 nm to the northeast.
Leg 5 (6,776 nm) Position Report (21:40 UTC)
1. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 5391.3 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 15.9 nm Distance to Lead
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 33.7 nm DTL
4. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 64.7 nm DTL
5. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 70.2 DTL
6. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 73.1 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

Race websiteTrackingScoreboardVideosCrew list

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 fifth leg, from Auckland, NZL to Itajaí, Brazil (6,776 nm), began March 18 with an ETA of approximately April 4.

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