Volvo Ocean Race: Potential for a Big Split
Published on April 28th, 2015
Itajai, Brazil (April 28, 2015; Day 10) – What lies ahead for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet is what official race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante described as a “cone of possibilities and decisions.”
Each team will need to decide whether east or west – or something in between – is the best direction and stick to that course. “After they take an option, that route will not intersect with the others until they reach Newport. Of course, it could be that they all take the same route.”
Since crossing the equator last night, in which SCA led the pack, the fleet positioning has tightened The leverage SCA had on the fleet yesterday has gotten tossed as they found their windward position to be on the wrong side of a backing wind, with the fleet now reaching on starboard, in a northwesterly direction.
Seaweed has been the main feature of the last 24 hours, with huge clumps drifting around the boats are finding it hard to avoid getting it caught on the foils, causing them to stop and reverse to get it off or if you are Abu Dhabi rolling the boat over onto its side to clear the windward rudder!
For now, it’s a drag race toward the Caribbean, but decision time could bust up the harmony.
“There is the potential for a big split in the fleet ahead as the two weather models we rely on fundamentally deal with the weather in a different way,” explains Ian Walker, skipper on Abu Dhabi. “Right now the routes then split by as much as 550 miles East / West! The two options go the opposite way around a High pressure system and then have a totally different approach to Newport.”
Leg 6 (5,010 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 2775.4 nm Distance to Finish
2. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 0.0 nm Distance to Lead
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 2.1 nm DTL
4. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 4.1 nm DTL
5. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 13.3 nm DTL
6. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 19.1 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 7.