Volvo Ocean Race: Prepare for impact

Published on February 15th, 2018

(February 15, 2018; Day 9) – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is about to bump up against another transition zone, a patch of very light and unstable winds that will be slow and painful to cross.

This is the first sign of what appears to be a fairly untraditional doldrums crossing. As ever, the transition to the southern hemisphere offers opportunity for some and jeopardy for others.

On the jeopardy side, it is the crew on SHK/Scallywag, still furthest to the west, who have been bleeding miles for the past 24 hours and have slid from second to fifth place.

“It’s all about where we’re positioned on the fleet heading into the doldrums,” said Scallywag skipper David Witt, who is on a path to leeward of the fleet. “It will be interesting to see if anybody puts their bow right up or down to try and change their position.”

“You’re going to win some and lose some,” said AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont. “It’s a big challenge for us (in the lead). We make choices and the guys following can see if they work out or not. The weather models don’t account for local effects, so that’s a vulnerable spot for us.”

The goal, as ever, is to be first into the doldrums and then first out and back into the southern hemisphere trade winds that will take the fleet to New Zealand.

There are some differing opinions on the merits of the sailing conditions over the past 24 hours which have boosted Team Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic up the rankings.

“We currently have awesome conditions, full on sending it, with so much water everywhere,” says Tide skipper Dee Caffari. “It is like having a bath thrown at you every other minute except it is salt water not bubble bath!”

But on Team Brunel, Kyle Langford says the speed comes at a cost – the living conditions are brutal.

“It’s pretty horrible down below. It’s very bouncy and very difficult to sleep. The water temperature is nearly 30-degrees, so it’s quite warm inside,” he says. “It’s hard to stay cool. And on top of that the boat is getting thrown around in 30 knots of wind. It’s very uncomfortable.

“Outside is better, but not by a lot. The worst thing is the salt water, which burns your eyes. We’re all wearing ski goggles. But the good thing is we’re making miles quickly. It’s tough conditions, but fast.

“I can’t wait for the doldrums. All my gear is soaking wet, so I’m looking forward to drying out, getting some good sleep when the boat is nice and calm, and recharging the batteries.”

With the equator and the doldrums fast approaching, he’ll get his wish soon enough.


Beginning on February 7, Leg 6 is listed as a 6,100 nautical mile course from Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand.

For crew lists… click here.

Damage: Only six of the seven teams are competing in Leg 6 as Vestas 11th Hour Racing is repairing their boat following the collision with a fishing boat as they neared the finish line of Leg 4 in Hong Kong. The team shipped their boat to Auckland to complete repairs in time for the March 18 start of Leg 7 to Itajaí, Brazil.

Race detailsTrackerScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Leg 6 – Position Report (19:00 UTC)
1. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 2623.6 nm DTF
2. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 21.1 nm DTL
3. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 30.5 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 34.1 nm DTL
5. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 37.6 nm DTL
6. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 39.7 nm DTL
DNS. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead; DNS – Did Not Start

Overall Results (after 5 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 34 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 30
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23
4. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 20
5. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 18
6. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 15
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 9

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, Dongfeng

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