Volvo Ocean Race: Progress and Regress
Published on April 6th, 2015
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing skipper Ian Walker and his team now sit clear on top of the Volvo Ocean Race rankings. After winning the first leg, they were tied for the lead after Leg 2 and again after Leg 4.
In a race of one design boats, where equal speed means equal routing which means close racing, Abu Dhabi now has a massive 7 point lead in front of four teams only three points apart. With four legs remaining, the final scoreboard will reflect the progress or regress from this point forward.
In second is Dongfeng, now in an urgent scramble to recover from their dismasting. The delivery of the boat, now under power and jury-rig, is still 1100 nm from port. The speed at which they cover the distance will dictate how prepared they are for the In-Port Race on April 18 and the sixth leg from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA (5,010 nm) which starts April 19.
After finishing Leg 1 in last, the fast climber has been MAPRE, posting a 1-2 in the past two legs. The team has shuffled some crew, with even skipper Iker Martínez sitting out two legs. “In one hand it’s very difficult to change the people onboard, but at the same time it can be very good to have fresh ones,” remarked Martínez. “I saw that when I jumped onboard again (after missing two legs). I could see the team from the outside, it was the first time I could sit at home and think of what we could do to be better. It was very good, very positive”
Also climbing the rank has been Alvimedica, overcoming the team’s youth and inexperience to land on the podium in two of the last three legs. “I don’t think you can make up for heaps of experience in just a couple of legs,” admits skipper Charlie Enright. “There are a couple of boats out there, Abu Dhabi for one, who seem to be pretty fast all the time, and there are other boats that are up and down – we’re one of those. We’ve got to become a little more consistent but we continue to make strides in the right direction.”
The one team in descent is Brunel. After tied for the overall lead after two legs, they have now posted a 5-5-4. Skipper Bouwe Bekking noted slow coating to their hull on one leg, and crucial tactical error on another, and a broken sail on this last leg.
As for SCA, their offshore legs have yet to match their In-Port success, where they sit third overall. SCA was over 600 nm behind when Abu Dhabi won the leg on April 5, and are expected to finish in Itajaí on April 7.
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 sixth leg, from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA (5,010 nm), begins April 19 with an ETA of May 4 to 11.