Volvo Ocean Race: Home for Easter
Published on April 3rd, 2015
(April 3, 2015; Day 18) – It’s a measure of how long the teams have been sailing in uncomfortably cold 5ºC water that they’re all highlighting how much they are enjoying the warmer seas. The grizzly conditions of the Southern Ocean are forgotten as the fleet sails north.
The reason for these tropical sea temperatures of 24ºC is that the fleet is sailing in the Brazil current flowing southwest against the boats’ track. This is throwing a short, sharp and confused sea condition that results in a very uncomfortable ride.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is sailing in their preferred upwind condition and has held their 5nm lead over the Spanish team MAPFRE. We are back into AIS range as each team monitors the next. This will suit the Emirati boat just fine – as the old saying goes, keep your friends close but your enemies closer.
The leading boats are now following a clearer track. They’re beating north with what looks like one last tack to Itajaí. The winds are set to stay very settled. The whole fleet is on the same line; it’s a pure boatspeed game now.
Anderson Reggio, who provides navigational support for ALvimedica, describes the final approach here.
Having damaged their J1, Team Brunel is not suffering from it yet, and even gaining 3nm on the leader in the last 12 hours.
Team SCA is making progress north and it will soon be their turn to enjoy the warm bath of the Brazilian current.
The last approach to Leg 5 finish line looks more confusing. With the fleet still so close, it’s not unreasonable to see place changing near the Brazilian coast.
The Estimated Time of Arrival into Itajaí is for late evening local time on Sunday, April 5. But with the weather throwing some unpredictability, please keep watching our channels for an update.
Leg 5 (6,776 nm) Position Report (21:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 420.4 nm Distance to Finish
2. MAPFRE, Xabi Fernandez (ESP), 3.5 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 7.1 nm DTL
4. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 9.0 nm DTL
5. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 647.1 nm DTL
6. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), Did not finish
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start
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 5.