Harken Derm

Volvo Ocean Race: It’s about to get real

Published on March 22nd, 2018

(March 22, 2018; Day 5) – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet continues its relentless charge east towards Cape Horn, taking a course skirting the ice exclusion boundary in the South Pacific while racing in strong but manageable winds of the 20-25 knots.

But that’s all about to change.

Sailing south of a high-pressure system, the fleet has enjoyed bright sunshine and relatively warm temperatures from the northerly wind direction. However, the forecast is for a cold front to back the wind into the west-southwest, dropping the temperature significantly while creating extreme sailing conditions.

“So far it’s been rough, but fast,” notes Rob Greenhalgh from MAPFRE. “We’ve had 20-25 knots which is perfect. But in about 24 hours, we’re expecting an increase from the west to about 35 knots…”

“It is going to be heavy conditions for three or four days, 35-45 knots, perhaps more,” said Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier. “Also a huge sea, maybe 10 metres.”

The sailors will be weighing their options: they can either continue to bounce along the course boundary to the south or come further north, which would take them out of the strongest conditions. It’s a delicate balance of speed versus security given the heavy forecast.

“Just coming in to all that breeze, all that grief ahead… Our aim here on AkzoNobel is to get across safely and with the boat in one piece,” said Team AkzoNobel watch captain Chris Nicholson. “It’s a big ask.”


COURSE: Starting on March 18, Leg 7 takes the teams from Auckland, New Zealand to Itajaí, Brazil. Race organizers choose to estimate the tactical distance for each leg rather than list the actual distance, an unusual decision that’s revealed once the race starts and the tracker lists the actual distance to finish. The VOR says Leg 7 is 7600 nm whereas the truth is more like 6623 nm with an ETA in Itajaí between April 4 and 6.

For crew lists … click here.

Race detailsTrackerScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Leg 7 – Position Report (21:00 UTC)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 4885.7 nm DTF
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 11.6 nm DTL
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 11.6 nm DTL
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 13.8 nm DTL
5. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 16.8 nm DTL
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 26.4 nm DTL
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 77.7 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead

Overall Results (after 6 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 39 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 34
3. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 26
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 23
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23
6. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 20
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 12

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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