Harken Derm

Volvo Ocean Race: Not the welcoming teams had expected

Published on April 1st, 2015

(April 1, 2015; Day 16) – All the Volvo Ocean Race teams that are still racing, are now racing in the Atlantic Ocean. At 1142 UTC today, Team SCA rounded Cape Horn in uncomfortable conditions with an even more uncomfortable forecast ahead.

While spirits were high to have reached this milestone, the forecast for the next 24 hours does not appear very welcoming with the team now facing 40 to 50 knots of wind. We are monitoring events closely here in Race Control.

The Cape is renowned for sudden changes in conditions. The high land around it can bring sudden gusts that can catch boats out. Team Brunel reported one such gust that destroyed their J1 beyond repair.

Ian Walker’s team on Abu Dhabi is clearly fast in the port tack tight reaching conditions, with winds now in the 30 knot range. They are safely positioned in front of the fleet, though second place Alvimedica has gained 11 nm leverage to leeward.

“The sailing has been as relentless as it was before the horn,” reports Matt Knighton on Abu Dhabi. “The front we’re now just entering has the conditions to break the boat if we’re not careful. We’re sailing in close to 40 knots as we cross the Falkland and Brazilian Currents. Wind will be against the direction of the current creating a massive sea state.”

It will not be long until they report warmer conditions and the ordeal of the Southern Ocean is a distant memory. But for now, with wind speeds of 40+ knots registered, a tough night awaits the fleet.

A report and video from Dongfeng, which yesterday withdrew from the race, can be found here.

Leg 5 (6,776 nm) Position Report (21:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 1066.6 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 10.2 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 22.8 nm DTL
4. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 37.0 nm DTL
5. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 712.4 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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