Passing the oceanic pole of inaccessibility

Published on March 25th, 2015

(March 25, 2015; Day 9) – The Volvo Ocean Race today passed Point Nemo, best known as the most remote place in the whole world. Also referred to as the Pole of Inaccessibility, the nearest piece of land is 1,450nm. It’s times like this that there is comfort in the closeness of the teams. And the top four are close.

“The fleet is on the same page regarding routing and weather as we’re all compressing quickly,” reports Amory Ross on Alvimedica. “That’s what an ‘ice limit’ keeping us north and identical routing software will do.”

With the wind from the east, Alvimedica, Brunel, and Abu Dhabi are within AIS range of each other on starboard gybe to the north with MAPRE coming in on port gybe, having just bounced off the ice limit. The split is about 20 nm and closing.

Now halfway between New Zealand and Cape Horn, and skipping along the ice gate at 50 degrees south, the talk on the boats is about temperature.

“At the ice limit it doesn’t snow, it hails,” reports Francisco Vignale on MAPRE. “When the hail stones gather it gets really slippery and walking on deck gets dangerous.”

Onboard Abu Dhabi, reporter Matt Knighton caught skipper Ian Walker in a moment of contemplation as he woke up for his watch. With his breath visible in the red light down below he joked, “Remind me why we do this sport again?”

Standing by for the punchline…

Leg 5 (6,776 nm) Position Report (22:25 UTC)
1. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 3822.0 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 0.9 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 2.1 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 8.7 nm DTL
5. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 37.2 DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 140.8 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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