Early Surprises for Volvo Ocean Race
Published on October 23rd, 2017
(October 23, 2017; Day 2, 20:00 UTC) – An eventful beginning in the Volvo Ocean Race has seen skipper Charlie Enright’s Vestas 11th Hour Racing grab the lead as the fleet exits the Strait of Gibraltar.
The Vestas 11th Hour Racing crew, along with team AkzoNobel, were the first to make a break for the Spanish coast as night fell yesterday, where they benefited from favourable conditions and emerged in front of the fleet.
“We took the inshore route with good angle and we know we crossed ahead of the fleet when we converged with them again,” explained Enright. “For now the only boat in sight is AkzoNobel. But we like our sail set up. We feel like we’re going through the water well.”
That’s an understatement. This afternoon, the team, along with second placed AkzoNobel picked up a nice shift as well as increased pressure and the leading pair has extended their lead through the Strait.
For team AkzoNobel, it’s been a whirlwind 24-hours. After three of the team’s most experienced crew elected not to sail Leg 1, reinstated skipper Simeon Tienpont submitted his final crew list just an hour before leaving the dock. But the new configuration has been on fire since leaving Alicante and now sits in a solid second place.
In contrast, Dongfeng Race Team, one of the pre-race favourites, has fallen back since leading the fleet out of the host city of the event, Alicante, Spain.
“Last night we lost a lot which is hard for us,” said Chen JinHao (Horace) on Dongfeng. “Pascal and Charles were working all night so we can be faster. It was a bad night, but sailing is sailing. We can come back!”
Of course it is very early: one day into what is projected to be a six or seven day, 1,450 nautical mile leg from Alicante to Lisbon, Portugal.
With all seven teams now in the Atlantic, the wind is forecast to ease overnight, and the concertina effect may bring the backmarkers back into the leaders. In a very real way, the race has just started.
Leg 1 – Position Report (20:00 UTC)
1. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 997.4 nm DTF
2. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED) 18.9 nm DTL
3. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP) 22.6 nm DTL
4. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS) 28.5 nm DTL
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR) 30.8 nm DTL
6. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA) 39.1 nm DTL
7. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED) 40.4 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Leader
To see the crew lists… click here.
The first leg of the Volvo Ocean Race started on October 22 and extends 1450 nm from Alicante, Spain to Lisbon, Portugal via Porto Santo.
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