Volvo Ocean Race: Courting the Wind Gods

Published on May 22nd, 2015

(May 22, 2015; Day 6) – A few days ago the feeling onboard Dongfeng was that they had just had the worst day racing so far (after their mast breakage on Leg 5, that is). But today it’s been Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s turn to play that tune.

At 0500 UTC, having just sailed past the corner of the ice limit, the leading pack was very closely bunched, just 3 nautical miles apart. Dongfeng, furthest north and the most leeward boat, took advantage of a slightly better southerly wind angle to simply sail around the rest of the fleet and open out an impressive lead.

A couple days ago we were last, some 35 miles behind Brunel,” recalled Charles Caudrelier, skipper on Dongfeng. “Fortunately the dice has rolled in our favour, and the Wind Gods, having given a present to Brunel, gave the rest of us a nice comeback present.”

Team Brunel and Abu Dhabi both suffered the most by being to windward of the fleet. Team SCA also lost out by not being more to the north.

The racing is tighter than ever, but the sailing conditions are just fantastic.

“This is by far the easiest Atlantic crossing I have ever done and I have done many,” said Dutch skipper Bouwe Bekking from Brunel. “Hardly any spray on deck, winds never exceeding 20 knots, flat seas and still having some ‘fresh’ carrots. But this is also the most exciting crossing I have done, it’s unbelievable how close the racing has been and still is.”

And there is more to come. Navigating the Azores High is the nest hurdle ahead.

Leg 7 (2,800 nm) Position Report (as of 21:43 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 1401.8 nm Distance to Finish
2. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 1.7 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 3.5 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 4.2 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 7.0 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 17.0 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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