Volvo Ocean Race: Day of light breeze
Published on April 23rd, 2015
(April 23, 2015, Day 5) – It has been a day of light winds for the fleet, which has been experiencing a northerly breeze in the range of 8 to 11 knots. For MAPFRE’s skipper Xabi Fernández, this has been pleasant.
“The truth is that we are going slow and although we all love strong downwind conditions, days like this are very welcome. After two or three days of 16-20 knots with a lot of spray on deck, a dry day with good weather is well received,” says Fernández. The fleet is still waiting for the right moment to tack when the wind shifts to the right.
“We are sailing upwind, on port tack, heading 50º – 60º and we are waiting for the wind to shift to the right 20 or 30 degrees, in order to tack and sail up along the Brazilian coast,” says Fernández.
In this position report the fleet is now heading in the direction of 30º – 40º. The fleet is 400 nm east of the Brazilian coast. Even though there is less than 8 miles between first and last, throughout the day the fleet has slightly separated into two groups, with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Team SCA and Team Alvimedica on the left side of the track and MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel on the right side.
“There is a bit of separation in the fleet as some huge rain clouds caused some of us to have to tack. We are sailing alongside SCA with Alvimedica in sight. Dongfeng are not in sight but pop up now and again on AIS about 13 miles SE of us,” reported Ian Walker.
“The main highlight of the day has been crossing our track of Leg 1 so that technically we have sailed round the world! Looking ahead we should be tacking onto port today and setting ourselves up for a long starboard tack towards Recife. This should be in about 50 miles time but the wind is forecast to be light and fickle so it could take a few goes at it.
“The clouds are having a major impact on everything right now. Much will depend on what shift MAPFRE, Brunel and Dongfeng manage to get out of the right. I am not too worried as if we get a huge right shift we can undertack them and lead out – we will see. The shifts are so big and so local things can change fast.”
Some of the boats are reporting quite a lot of unstable cloud action. It’s treacherous times in the danger zone for all the teams, as, although sailing very close together, they are far enough apart that any one boat could get either a positive or negative wind effect. They will be watching the sky for any clues that it can give.
Leg 6 (5,010 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 4190.5 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 0.37 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 2.69 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3.75 nm DTL
5. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 3.95 nm DTL
6. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 7.74 nm DTL
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 sixth leg, from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA (5,010 nm), began April 19 with an ETA of May 6.