Volvo Ocean Race: Approaching the tip

Published on April 28th, 2018

(April 28, 2018; Day 6) – Vestas 11th Hour Racing has had a productive 24 hours on Leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race, reducing its deficit to leader Turn the Tide on Plastic as the fleet approaches the northeastern tip of South America.

“It’s a beautiful morning here on the Atlantic Ocean,” reports Tom Johnson from Vestas. “Sunny skies, not too much cloud action which is nice, and we’re chipping away. We can see Turn the Tide on Plastic which means we’ve come into them quite a bit overnight.

“We’ve been sailing well. Sifi (navigator Simon Fisher) has been doing a great job and really the whole team has been doing well. It’s nice to be up in second place, sailing well and we’re all pretty happy with where we are.”

The leaders are sailing in light to moderate SE trade wind conditions, with 8 to 12 knots of wind just behind the beam – one of the fastest, and most comfortable, sailing angles for the Volvo Ocean 65s.

Turn the Tide on Plastic was fighting to hold on to its lead but recognizes its easterly track may be a disadvantage. “We’ve been able to see Vestas since the early hours of the morning,” said Plastic skipper Dee Caffari. “They are slightly inshore of us in more favourable current and have been slowly reeling us in over the last few position reports.

“The cloud activity was much less last night and everyone got some good rest on board so we are in good spirits.”

The teams are enjoying this respite of more stable conditions after days of constant sail changes due to the cloud activity bringing squalls which cause big movements in wind speed and direction.

“We’re almost thinking of having something like a ‘no sail change Sunday’,” said Brunel’s Peter Burling, when asked about his wish for the weekend. “We’ve been working a lot of overtime recently.”

For previous race leader MAPFRE, it’s been a difficult 48 hours. Bad luck with the cloud activity has pushed them down the rankings and they are now 45 miles behind the leader and trailing rival Dongfeng by 30 miles.

“We know we now have to play catch-up, and we are all taking on the challenge,” says navigator Juan Vila. “Wind conditions now are forecast to be steadier, with smaller showers, if any, today. Right now we sail along in a moderate ESE trade wind, which is forecast to last until the approach of Recife.”

At the back of the fleet, Scallywag has tucked in behind the leaders to wait for another window to attack. Perhaps the doldrums will provide some salvation.

“Finally some decent breeze and no significant cloud dodging to be done,” reports navigator Libby Greenhalgh. “Just 400nm or so until the doldrums and that fun and games begins. Hopefully it will create opportunity for us.

“It has not been the best 48 hours as we are punished for our westerly position. We have now tucked in neatly behind the fleet and will have to wait for our moment later in the race… There is for sure plenty more to be seen from this squad.”

For crew lists… click here.

Race detailsTrackerScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Leg 8 – Position Report (13:00 UTC)
1. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 3649.8 nm DTF
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 6.1 nm DTL
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 14.0 nm DTL
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 22.4 nm DTL
5. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 25.3 nm DTL
6. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 45.8 nm DTL
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 68.9 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead

COURSE: Starting on April 22, Leg 8 takes the teams from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA. 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 organizers say Leg 8 is 5700 nm whereas the actual distance from the tracker is 5027 nm.

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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