Volvo Ocean Race: Hard days at work

Published on December 15th, 2017

(December 15, 2017; Leg 3, Day 6) – A gybing battle between the leaders of the third leg of the Volvo Ocean Race ensued today as they tussled for position in the depths of the Southern Ocean. While conditions have moderated slightly from yesterday, winds remain in the high 20s, and with the dense air of the lower latitudes, it feels like much more.

Charles Caudrelier’s Franco-Chinese crew Dongfeng Race Team continued to lead the way east, managing to stay just ahead of a huge depression catapulting the fleet towards Australia. However, they have been under constant attack from Leg 2 winners MAPFRE, which has been matching their moves.

Onboard reporter Martin Keruzore notes that life on the leader is challenging. “Everything becomes muggy and wet with the ambient humidity; the ceiling dripping and our noses too. Indeed, the temperatures have really plummeted over the past few hours and gloves are becoming a necessity up top if you want to stand a chance of quickly regaining the use of your fingers to prepare yourself a good hot meal once your watch is over.

“The wind has punched back in today as it clashes against the southerly swell, making the sea particularly choppy and bone-crunching. Life down below is also pretty lively and somewhat reminiscent of a big carbon shaker that’s in operation 24/7. And yet the resulting cocktail is far from refined. The party rolls on at night too and Charles Caudrelier describes it as like trying to sleep in a car competing in the Paris-Dakar, minus the sand but with extra moisture.”

Along with Vestas 11th Hour Racing and Team Brunel, the frontrunners have opted for a southerly route that has taken them just 120 miles north of the Crozet Islands, a remote sub-antarctic archipelago that’s home to a French research station manned by 30 scientists.

By staying south the four teams are benefitting from sailing a shorter distance to the Leg 3 finish but the trade-off is facing more challenging weather conditions closer to the eye of the storm.

The most direct route to Melbourne would see them dive well into the Furious Fifties but their path has been blocked by the Antarctic Ice Exclusion Zone set by race control to keep the fleet out of iceberg-infested waters.

Instead, to avoid entering the AIEZ while remaining in the strongest wind, the frontrunners have been forced to perform numerous gybes as they zig-zag just north of the line – a hard task at the best of times, but especially when also dealing with winds gusting up to 60 knots and huge waves.

 

To see Leg 3 crew lists… click here.

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Leg 3 – Position Report (15:00 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3824.4 nm DTF
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 23.4 nm DTL
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 82.0 nm DTL
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 168.4 nm DTL
5. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 196.9 nm DTL
6. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 180.3 nm DTL
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 266.2 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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