What a difference a day makes

Published on March 26th, 2015

(March 26, 2015; Day 10) – The quickest route to Cape Horn is to dive south, where the mileage is shorter in the lower latitudes. But digging that deep in the Southern Ocean comes with risks, specifically ice, so an ice limit in the Volvo Ocean Race course saves the teams from the temptation.

But there is no rule against skimming along the limit, which has propelled Dongfeng Race Team from fifth position a day ago, 37 nm off the lead, to the front of the fleet.

Now in the tradition of this edition of the race, the top five teams are all together, all playing the limit, and all staying within AIS range, if not within old fashion visibility. A decrease in winds even has the teams commenting on the pleasant sailing at 50 degrees south.

“Clear skies and calm winds from start to finish, it was a total intermission, a reprieve from the madness,” reports Amory Ross on Alvimedica. “Any day in the Southern Ocean where Coppertone is a more important brand than Gore-Tex is a good day and we all went about shedding the layers for a long and deserved dry-out under the warming sun. At 6 degrees Celsius it’s not exactly springtime terrace lounging in Chamonix, but it will have to suffice for now.”

However, the Blue Bird conditions appear to be temporary.

“This short break from the melee is well timed as once we’re clear of the northern ice limits we can resume our southward march in more typical Southern Ocean conditions,” says Ross. “The forecast to the Horn looks wet and wild, a passing Low sweeping us up on its way east, and the sailing will be fast though assuredly less comfortable than our present settings.”

What a difference a day can make…

Leg 5 (6,776 nm) Position Report (21:40 UTC)

1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3628.3 Distance to Finish
2. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 4.5 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 6.1 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 6.3 nm DTL
5. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 7.5 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 56.6 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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