Volvo Ocean Race: Risk and reward

Published on December 12th, 2017

(December 12, 2017; Leg 3, Day 3) – A trade-off between speed and safety was playing out among the Volvo Ocean Race fleet today as the teams gear up for their first real taste of Southern Ocean brutality.

A huge depression is forming west of the fleet with winds of up to 60 knots at its centre – and it is moving so fast that the seven Volvo Ocean 65s will not be able to outrun it. Rather the teams will have to make tough decisions about where to position themselves in relation to the storm, which is set to strike on Thursday (Dec. 14).

The toss-up is between risk and reward. A more southerly route will see faster sailing over the next day or so but with it comes the danger of being closer to the centre of the depression. What’s more, a virtual exclusion zone to keep the fleet north of Antarctica’s ice fields will prevent teams diving below the low to escape its strongest conditions.

The fleet is of divided opinion, with current leg leader Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, team Akzonobel and Team Brunel choosing to go south, while Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Turn the Tide on Plastic are opting to stay more to the north.

“There’s a certain amount of risk being further south and straight in front of [the depression],” explained Simon Fisher, Vestas’ navigator. “If we can be further north and making good progress that would certainly be a more seamanlike way to go about it.”

Knowing when to put the hammer down and when to choose the more conservative option is vital to glory in the Volvo Ocean Race, and Fisher is an expert at these kind of decisions – after all, he guided Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing to victory in the 2014-15 edition.

“It’s going to be an interesting couple of days,” he added. “It’s going to be a fine line between sailing as fast as you can on optimal course versus sailing in a safe place, looking after the boat and not putting yourself somewhere that you can get run over by the low.”

To hear more from Fisher and Vestas skipper Charlie Enright… click here.

To see Leg 3 crew lists… click here.

Race detailsLive contentScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Leg 3 – Position Report (21:00 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 4968.5 nm DTF
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 4.7 nm DTL
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 4.9 nm DTL
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 6.1 nm DTL
5. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 10.7 nm DTL
6. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 10.8 nm DTL
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 17.0 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Leader

Overall Results (after 2 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 14 points
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 13
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 11
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 7
5. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 6
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 5
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 2

The third leg started December 10 for the course from Cape Town, South Africa to Melbourne, Australia. The ETA is between the December 24 and 26.

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

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