Volvo Ocean Race: Making the next move

Published on May 5th, 2018

(May 5, 2018; Day 13) – Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team, the overall leader of the Volvo Ocean Race, has spent the past 24 hours grinding down leg leader Team Brunel and as of this afternoon, is nearly in position to make a pass.

Yesterday at noon UTC, Brunel had a 12-mile lead over Dongfeng, but 24 hours later the advantage is less than three miles, with the red boat in sight and sailing directly behind Bouwe Bekking, making up distance slowly but surely.

Broad reaching in ESE winds at 20+ knots, the leaders now have less than 1,000 miles to sail to the finish line in Newport, Rhode Island, and the gains couldn’t come at a better time for Caudrelier’s Chinese-flagged Dongfeng.

“We would prefer to be ahead… but it’s not too bad. We’ve come back very close now. It’s nothing. We’re happy about the position, it could be much worse,” Caudrelier said.

“For the moment we are faster but we think they are getting slightly less wind ahead. There is plenty to do coming up. A decision on a gybe, so it will not be only about speed. I also think Vestas might come out very close to us.”

As Caudrelier says, the two leaders aren’t having it all their own way. Nearly 30 miles directly to the east, Vestas 11th Hour Racing is making a move as well. The team has leverage for the upcoming wind shift and gybe and is hoping to sneak around the front of the two leading boats to lead into skipper Charlie Enright’s home port of Newport, Rhode Island.

“All of the action in this leg is going to happen quite quickly at the end,” said Simon Fisher, the navigator on Vestas 11th hour Racing. “We’ve got a big high pressure coming up and as we approach it we’re going lifted and lifted and lifted and the wind is going to get lighter and then we’ll have to pick our moment to gybe and head out the high pressure.

“Right now we’re trying to weigh up being the first boat to the shift, bow forward versus trying to stay in more wind by getting to the west. Our main competition is further west, so they’ll be in better pressure but we might get the shift first. So we have to do some good work to get in that position to gybe and come out ahead.

“After that there will be another front to negotiate and a high pressure coming off New England so it’s all happening the last couple of days. It’s going to be full of action.”

For crew lists… click here.

Race detailsTrackerScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Leg 8 – Position Report (13:00 UTC)
1. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 940.8 nm DTF
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 2.8 nm DTL
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 7.2 nm DTL
4. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 28.3 nm DTL
5. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 46.2 nm DTL
6. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 48.8 nm DTL
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 164.9 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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