Volvo Ocean Race: Now it gets interesting
Published on May 2nd, 2015
(May 2, 2015; Day 14) – The long awaited gybe to port has played out at the front of the Volvo Ocean Race fleet. Team Brunel led the move, gybing just minutes before Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing at about 16:42 UTC. Now on port, the two teams led the game back west to a smiling Dongfeng Race Team who then gybed about 7.5 nautical miles ahead and 2nm to leeward.
This predicted redirection, with the fleet now broadreaching at a WNW angle, is the result of a weak high-pressure ridge that has lifted them on starboard and now hopefully head them on port. This is just the first of two weak high-pressure systems that the teams need to negotiate.
The three leaders must be quite pleased to leave the east in reasonably good shape. Although the route had a better angle on those to the west, it also had less wind.
MAPFRE and Team Alvimedica traded many miles heading west as they had no faith in the east. The outcome worked out well for them, making up many miles to now have significantly closed in on the leaders. This is a good example of the chasing pack being forced to do something different that works out well for them.
The great news for all the teams is that the dreaded fields of Sargasso seaweed have started to become less frequent. Finally they can start sailing again – and stop gardening.
Leg 6 (5,010 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 1242.7 nm Distance to Lead
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 2.4 nm DTL
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 3.6 nm Distance to Finish
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 9.6 nm DTL
5. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 10.6 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 52.4 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.