Volvo Ocean Race: For all the marbles
Published on November 15th, 2017
(November 15, 2017; Leg 2, Day 11) – The charge south continues at speed today as the second leg of the Volvo Ocean Race reached its approximate halfway mark to the finish in Cape Town, South Africa.
The south-easterly tradewinds that blow south of the Equator remained kind to the fleet, allowing rapid reaching conditions that have resulted in speeds of up to 20 knots. But due to the prevailing wind conditions, the fastest route to Cape Town is not the shortest route.
“We’re in the North East of Brazil and we’re in the trade winds belt here so [we’ve] just got to push as fast as we can and get south where the breeze moves aft, and make a play later on,” explained Brunel navigator Andrew Cape.
This is the stage of the race where the rankings may be totally skewed, as a team committed to the south track falls back while any team hedging to the east to cut the corner instantly jumps up. The rankings will likely be in state of flux until the very end.
“Imagine if you had to drive in a car from Holland to England, the direct line is maybe 150 kilometres but unfortunately you need to go south first, take a ferry, and once you’ve taken a ferry you’ve got to drive up North,” described Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking. “That’ll be the same with what we have here as well. So there’s a big high pressure in between us and Cape Town, so if somebody were going to sail through that it’s like hitting a brick wall.”
Taking that risk is Team Akzonobel, now atop the ranking, but navigator Jules Salter explained that their easterly track was not as much a navigational decision as simply about finding the extra boost of speed they’ve been lacking over the past few days.
“We’ve been struggling with performance for a few days so we thought we’d get out of the line and work on trying to make the boat go a bit quicker,” Salter said. “The leading boats are having a bit of a speed battle, so they’re keeping themselves fast. It’s a bit harder when you’re on your own. We’re trying to get a little bit of leverage without losing touch. That’s what the next few days will be about.”
The second half of the leg is now for all the marbles…
Leg 2 – Position Report (19:00 UTC)
1. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED) 3043.4 nm DTF
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP) 7.4 nm DTL
3. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED) 9.5 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA) 12.7 nm DTL
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR) 21.2 nm DTL
6. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23.8 nm DTL
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS) 31.3 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Leader
To see the crew lists… click here.
The second leg of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race started November 5 and is expected to take three weeks for the seven teams to complete the 7000 nm course from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa.
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