Harken Derm

Volvo Ocean Race: Living in a world of what ifs

Published on April 9th, 2015

Seven teams started the Volvo Ocean Race in Alicante, Spain on October 11, but after nearly 30,000 nm there are now only five teams in Itajai, Brazil getting prepared for Leg 6 to Newport, USA.

Missing is Team Vestas Wind, which has been absent from the race since their grounding on November 29. The team has been rebuilding their boat to return for the final two legs in Europe. While likely now to finish last in the overall standings, their motivation is to complete a comeback that many people did not believe to be possible. This video provides their latest update.

Also missing is Dongfeng Race Team, a victim of a dismasting on the leg to Brazil on March 30. The team is desperately now in a race against time to get the boat and spare mast to the stopover, and then prepare both to be at the start for Leg 6 on April 19.

Here is an update from the Dongfeng team…
The expected time of arrival for the Volvo Ocean 65 ‘Dongfeng’ is Monday 13th April – at best. This is also the expected time of arrival for the mast – at best. The mast has been flown from Dubai to Amsterdam, where it was loaded April 9 onto its connecting flight from Amsterdam to São Paolo where (once it clears Brazilian customs) it will be loaded onto a truck and driven down the Brazilian coast to Itajai.

However, that will just be the beginning of our race against time. Once we have the boat and the mast, there is the work that normally takes a week to do in half that time – to prepare the boat itself after the tough leg from Auckland, and to prepare, setup and tune the new mast and rigging.

Now… calculate the odds of everything running smoothly. As it stands we have no idea if the truckers will be willing to drive over the weekend, so best case scenario – if they do – the rig and the boat both arrive in Itajai on Monday as planned. Otherwise the rig arrives two days later and we struggle to make the In-Port Race on April 18. This is assuming of course, the delivery of the boat proceeds without complications.

“When we started this project, if someone had told us that half way through the race we would still be in second place after a leg where we broke the mast and scored a penalising 8 points…we would have laughed,” noted Team Director Bruno Dubois.

“We know that we were lucky to have had enough points in the bank to afford what happened to us but we can’t afford to be the victim of a technical failure again, or make any of our own mistakes on the water either,” Dubois continued. “The others are knocking on our door to take our place on the podium.”

Race websiteTrackingScoreboardVideosRoute

Background: Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs (38,739 nm) 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 – which if needed will be the tiebreaker in the overall standings.

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