Volvo Ocean Race: Passing the Caribbean Islands
Published on May 1st, 2015
(May 1, 2015; Day 13) – This week has been glorious trade wind sailing for the Volvo Ocean Race, with the crews focused mostly on just sailing fast. However, a weather transition is now challenging the leaders which is presenting new opportunities for the chasing pack.
The leader, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel are all showing lighter conditions of around 10 knots of wind. Crossovers and crucial sail changes are coming into play as the leaders change up onto their A3 big kites. While MAPRE has been dropped off the lead group, they must contend now with Alvimedica which has reeled back some lost miles.
Seaweed continues to be an issue, dogging the fleet and even causing boats to involuntary broach, as huge clumps of Sargasso Weed collects on the rudder and forces it to jam. Ragging sails and broaching out is the last thing that the teams expected during this idyllic section of the leg. “The only thing I can do at the moment is laugh,” said Carolijn Brouwer on SCA. “It’s so ridiculous that there’s nothing else left to do.”
The fleet is passing 150nm to the east of Antigua and Barbuda, with the wind slowly backing southeast and dropping, allowing the fleet to make some direct miles north before gybing sometime tomorrow. The exact moment when they gybe will of course be closely monitored on the boats on AIS.
Leg 6 (5,010 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 1531.8 nm Distance to Finish
2. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 2.7 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 3.2 nm DTL
4. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 24.0 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 26.5 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 73.3 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.