Volvo Ocean Race: Minions follow the leader
Published on May 23rd, 2015
(May 23, 2015; Day 7) – The mission to negotiate the Azores High is in full operation.
Dongfeng Race Team is leading so they get to set both the pace and the route. They decided to take a slightly more northerly route, broad reaching in the SSW winds of 10-12 knots. Their route has company as none of the teams are looking like risking a more direct passage through the high-pressure system.
After taking some bad losses yesterday, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing hasn’t been able to sail as low and fast as the leading pack and has taken some unpalatable medicine by double gybing to take a position just to the north of the pack. This was a painful move resulting in further losses to the leaders.
To say it’s been a bad day would be a vast understatement,” reports Matt Knighton on Abu Dhabi. “The most concerning thing to Ian right now is that we’re the most windward boat and that means that as the fleet gradually turns to the right, we’ll also be the most southerly boat. That means less wind in the high – not good. Ian just started talking to the boat – willing it to go faster. We’ll see how the conversation goes.”
While the minions follow Dongfeng, Team SCA made the brave call to gybe down with two separate manoeuvres to push further north. Their move has cost them in the short term, but they hope that the 60 nm of leverage and a few knots more of wind will pay dividends.
Leg 7 (2,800 nm) Position Report (as of 21:44 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 1079.1 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 6.0 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 7.1 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 12.0 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 22.7 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 96.2 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 seventh leg, from Newport, USA to Lisbon, Portugal (2,800 nm), began May 17 with an ETA between May 27 and 28.