Volvo Ocean Race: Slow going and no water for Dongfeng

Published on April 20th, 2015

(April 20, 2015; Day 2) – After a painfully slow start, the fleet finally got going. Team Alvimedica led the way out of Itajai. The Turkish American team must be spurred on and fired up for a good result for this homecoming leg back to Newport, Rhode Island. It was slow work northeast, moving more and more offshore and away from the land effect. At 22:00 UTC the fleet was dogged by some frustrating rain clouds that challenged some teams more than others.

SCA and Alvimedica fell foul of a shift that went against them, while MAPFRE and ADOR made the most of it stretching their lead North before tacking with the fleet east at around midnight. All the teams are now sailing incredibly similar speeds East with only 0.2 of a knot separating the fastest and the slowest.

Meanwhile, onboard Dongfeng Race Team, the crew is looking for ways to answer the question, how do you survive 20 days at sea without your main source of fresh water? Well, just 24 hours after the start of this Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, that question has had to be asked. The Chinese boat reported earlier today that their water maker is not working. The answer? Pumping, pumping a lot.

Sam Greenfield, Onboard Reporter for Charles Caudrelier’s boat, reports that the team is assessing the problem at the moment. “Today our water maker broke. Thomas discovered it fifteen minutes after I turned it on early this morning,” explains Greenfield.

“We’re not sure what the exact issue may be but the velocity of water spurting from the seal was a stern enough indicator to break out the emergency hand pump.”

The emergency hand pump will allow them to obtain fresh water to drink and cook, but it comes at a huge cost, hours of manpower needed to produce water. “Black, Eric, Thomas and I took about an hour and a half today to hand pump everyone’s water bottle and enough for dinner,” according to Greenfield. “The hand pump claims to be capable of 35 litres per hour but that is hardly the case.”

Back with the rest of the fleet, the light breeze has been prominent today. The fleet continues to sail east with MAPFRE in the lead. They are all within 5 miles of each other, easily spotted in the horizon and on AIS range. In the last hour, the fleet have had a 30 degrees shift to the right. If the shift continues we might see the first tack since today at 0005 UTC.

Leg 6 (5,010 nm) Position Report (as of 21:55 UTC)
1. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 4813.2 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 0.7 nm Distance to Lead
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 1.1 nm DTL
4. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 1.5 nm DTL
5. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 1.8 nm DTL
6. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 3.4 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start

Race websiteTrackingScoreboardVideos

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), began April 19 with an ETA of May 6.

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