Volvo Ocean Race: The Main Course Lies Ahead

Published on May 20th, 2015

(May 20, 2015; Day 4) – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet today saw ‘Life at the Extreme’ if life was on an inland lake. Think opposite of tradewind sailing. Between the light and unstable winds, and the meandering unknowns of the Gulf Stream, life was not always kind on the Atlantic.

Onboard overall race leader Abu Dhabi, Justin Slattery at one point looked out at the three other teams within a mile of each other, noting how everyone had completely different sail configurations. “Surely one of us must be wrong,” assumed Slattery.

As the wind swung through nearly every point on the dial, it was a day of sail changes and gybing, with the fleet now tight reaching to the northeast, riding a southerly breeze toward the ice limit that is 100 nm ahead of leader Brunel.

Brunel got the best of the fleet today, but according to Charles Caudrelier, skipper of Dongfeng, this part of the race is a mere appetizer for the main course that lies ahead.

“It’s a long way from being simple,” he explained. “The Azores High is like a massive wall in front of us. How to get past? By the north maybe, but it adds many miles to the route. Or take the risk and cut it via the direct route, but get stuck in its middle. This will be the decider on this leg.”

Leg 7 (2,800 nm) Position Report (as of 21:43 UTC)
1. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 2078.2 nm Distance to Finish
2. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 16.9 nm Distance to Lead
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 20.3 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 21.3 nm DTL
5. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 26.5 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 32.0 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 seventh leg, from Newport, USA to Lisbon, Portugal (2,800 nm), began May 17 with an ETA between May 27 and 29.

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