Volvo Ocean Race: This Could be a Very Interesting Finish

Published on May 25th, 2015

(May 25, 2015; Day 9) – A funny thing happened as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet sought the best route to negotiate the Azores High. As the wind clocked around from the south to the north, there was enough separation within the fleet to cause some separation. Shocking!

Getting the worst of it was overall race leader Abu Dhabi, having dropped to last in the standings, having now only slightly recovered. If another shuffle doesn’t occur, they could see their seemingly comfortable six point overall margin on Dongfeng get pretty uncomfortable.

“We are having a tough time on Azzam right now as we have to accept the losses from being becalmed for three hours when the high pressure expanded over us,” said skipper Ian Walker. “
“We have had very few tough periods in this race so far and you have to expect a few when sailing round the world. Right now it is our turn.”

Unfortunately for Walker, the race is in a ‘rich get richer’ phase, so any shuffle will have to wait for the last day of the race, which is now estimated for Wednesday morning.

“The east coast of Portugal is topographically quite complex,” explains Anderson Reggio, Team Alvimedica Navigation Support. “Just a mere 50 nm from the coast, the mountains of the Iberian Peninsula rise to over 1000m high and have a dramatic effect on the winds along the coast.

“The forecasted light northerly winds have potential to be quite variable in direction and pressure as the local effects of the River Tagus and the mountains just north of Cascais will likely make this a very interesting finish.

“Look for the weather models to be thrown out the window for the final 50 miles as the fleet negotiates one final TSS zone, the randomness of the breeze, and the strong outgoing current from the River Tagus. Despite the few miles left, a twenty-mile lead now may simply not be enough.”

Walker is counting on it.

Leg 7 (2,800 nm) Position Report (as of 21:44 UTC)
1. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 556.4 nm Distance to Finish
2. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 1.7 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 2.5 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 16.0 nm DTL
5. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 30.0 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 37.9 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 of May 27.

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