Volvo Ocean Race: Now the leg begins

Published on March 31st, 2015

(March 31, 2015; Day 15) – The playbook among the Volvo Ocean Race teams is the same. When racing from New Zealand to Brazil, explained Anderson Reggio, Team Alvimedica Navigational Shore Support, “Get to Cape Horn fast and safe with all your Legos still attached. The boat to make it there with the most of their boat still intact will win this leg.”

Reggio’s words are ringing true:
– SCA damaged their fractional gennaker Mar 24, and are off the pace sailing offwind with the smaller J1 jib. They will round Cape Horn tomorrow.
– Dongfeng broke their mast on Mar. 30 and have withdrawn from the leg.
– Brunel, hours after rounding Cape Horn on Mar 30, damaged their J1, and are off the pace sailing upwind with the smaller J2 jib.

With the lead four boats of the Volvo Ocean Race now in the Atlantic, this is the section that wins or loses the leg. Abu Dhabi wasted little time, quickly overtaking Alvimedica’s lead to now control the fleet as they march at tight angles on port tack along Argentinian coastline.

While Dongfeng may have withdrawn, the urgency to get to Brazil remains. The boat arrived to Ushuaia, Argentina early today, with the plan to reduce the mast to a two-spreader rig, adapt a cruising mainsail replacement that had been sourced locally, and use the small J3 headsail. To supplement sail power, the forward water ballast tank will be used as a fuel tank to permit motoring for significant hours if necessary to keep the average speed up.

The plan is to depart local time tomorrow evening (Apr 1), with the trip to Itajaí expected to take 10-12 days. The In-Port Race is on April 18 with the Leg 6 start to Newport on April 19.

Leg 5 (6,776 nm) Position Report (21:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 1384.4 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 6.1 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 15.6 nm DTL
4. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 29.4 nm DTL
5. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 690.9 nm DTL
6. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), Did not finish
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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