Volvo Ocean Race: The struggle to finish

Published on April 6th, 2018

Itajaí, Brazil (April 6, 2018; Day 20) – While three of the Volvo Ocean Race teams – Brunel, Dongfeng, and AkzoNobel – relax and retool following an exhausting Leg 7 from New Zealand, there remain four others that are struggling to complete their journey.

For the two that are still competing, Turn the Tide on Plastic and MAPFRE are stuck in a high-pressure ridge over the south Atlantic where the wind is very light and shifty which has made for extremely slow progress.

Both teams fell off the weather train after suffering problems with their mast or rigging on this leg, while MAPFRE had the added setback of their mainsail tearing in two on the approach to Cape Horn.

“It is unbelievable how slow we are going and how difficult this high pressure is to cross,” reports skipper Xabi Fernández.

As the routing anticipated all teams to have finished by today, the topic of food is on the minds of those still at sea.

“We have another day of food left as we packed 20 days of food for this leg, luckily and then there are all the meals that have not been eaten still available,” notes Plastic skipper Dee Caffari. “Put it this way we are far from starving out here but that does not stop us talking about food and what we crave most right now, this varies from Pizza to fresh fruit.”

The light winds make predicting an ETA difficult. It doesn’t take much wind for the Volvo Ocean 65s to pick up the pace significantly. But the latest ETA for Turn the Tide on Plastic is late tonight UTC. MAPFRE will be nearly 24 hours behind.

The boats that have retired from Leg 7, Team SHK/Scallywag and Vestas 11th Hour Racing, remain focused on rejoining the race. Scallywag had retired from the race following the loss of crew member John Fisher and Vestas broke its mast.

Scallywag has replaced its race crew in Puerto Montt, Chile with a delivery crew to bring the boat through the Strait of Magellan and north to Itajaí. Vestas is still in the Falkland Islands where they landed after the dismasting, and tried once to leave before returning to address mechanical issues.

Vestas boat captain Nick Dana has been collaborating with locals to get the boat ready to motor up the South American coast. A team of experts is arriving on site to make some final checks before the boat sets off within the next day or two.

The upcoming schedule includes an In-Port Race in Itajaí on April 20 and the start of Leg 8 on April 22 to Newport, USA.


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 (16:00 UTC)
1. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), Finished on Apr 3 at 14:45:18 UTC
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), Finished on Apr 3 at 15:00:08 UTC
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), Finished on Apr 5 at 04:38:24 UTC
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 103.3 nm DTF
5. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 402.7 nm DTF
RET. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
RET. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS)
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead; RET – Retired

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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