Volvo Ocean Race: Leverage is Sexy

Published on April 27th, 2015

Itajai, Brazil (April 27, 2015; Day 9) – In sport, there is the conservative, strategic approach. In football, it is the run up the middle or the short crossing route of the receiver. In baseball, it is the bunt to advance the runner. In sailing, it is careful positioning amid the fleet. But the conservative, strategic approach, regardless of its logic, is boring.

Fans like it when the quarterback lets it loose downfield, the hitter swings for the fences, and the tactician gets separation and bangs a side. Leverage is sexy!

While this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race has lowered budgets and attracted strong teams, the one design boats with their identical performance characteristics have produced matching routing solutions. Their rarely is separation in the fleet, which has made the race a bit boring to follow.

While the imagery and video are stunning, the conservative, strategic positioning can get a bit tiresome. Thank goodness for the occasional wipeout or gear failure.

However, occasionally there is hope, and right now there could be some hope.

Having cleared Brazil, the fleet is reaching on starboard tack, bows aimed for the Caribbean. With the bulk of the fleet bunched, Team SCA has carved out 20nm of leverage to windward, and has parlayed the position to make significant gains back on the fleet. A strong position in the westerly winds.

With the Windward Islands ahead, we can only pray that a routing option suggests a path through the Caribbean Sea. Now that’s what we are talking about!

Leg 6 (5,010 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3158.2 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), .4 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), .6 nm DTL
4. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 5.9 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 7.7 nm DTL
6. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 13.4 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 7.

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