Volvo Ocean Race: Tense Times for Prologue Race
Published on October 9th, 2017
(October 9, 2017; Day 2) – The Prologue leg to the Volvo Ocean Race end draws nearer as the fleet makes their way to Alicante, Spain. The images of the boats in near calm conditions during the first 24-hours of the Prologue leg from Lisbon to Alicante may give the impression of a relaxing cruise down the coast to the gates of the Mediterranean.
The reality is the contrary. Light, variable conditions are a nightmare for the sailors, who end up agonizing over every tack or gybe in search of each little zephyr. Tense times in light conditions are widespread on the race to be first to Gibraltar. Sails are adjusted, course corrections are a constant, and eyes strain at the horizon looking for any sign of a change.
During the first 24 hours of the Prologue, a critical decision faced the teams. “There was a big choice to make at the end of the night,” explained Jérémie Beyou on Dongfeng Racing Team. “Do you stay offshore like we did, or do you try to escape the light air by the coast?”
The early returns are decidedly in favor of the coastal route, with MAPFRE and Team Brunel marching out to a 40-plus mile lead over the rest of the fleet who stayed 30 miles further west.
But the entire fleet now needs to navigate past another big light patch, before finding stronger conditions near Gibraltar.
“It’s going to be a long one,” said a frustrated Liz Wardley from Turn the Tide on Plastic, noting it would normally take about three days to complete the leg.
Her boat was trailing the fleet on the Monday afternoon position report, but making twice the speed of the four boats immediately in front, so there is still plenty of opportunities as we head into the second night at sea.
The 680nm Prologue is a non-scoring race that started October 8 in Lisbon, Portugal and finishes in Alicante, Spain.
The Volvo Ocean Race will start from Alicante, Spain on October 22. The Alicante Race Village is scheduled to open at 1800 local time on October 11, 2017, with the In-Port Race on Saturday, October 14.
2017-18 Edition: Entered Teams – Skippers
• Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED)
• Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA)
• MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP)
• Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
• Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
• Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR)
• Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED)
Background: Racing the one design Volvo Ocean 65, the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race begins in Alicante, Spain on October 22 2017 with the final finish in The Hague, Netherlands on June 30 2018. In total, the 11-leg race will visit 12 cities in six continents: Alicante, Lisbon, Cape Town, Melbourne, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Auckland, Itajaí, Newport, Cardiff, Gothenburg, and The Hague. A maximum of eight teams will compete.
Source: Volvo Ocean Race