Volvo Ocean Race: Coming back together

Published on May 23rd, 2018

(May 23, 2018; Day 4) – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet was beginning to converge again today after a split of almost 300 miles had opened up early on the course from Newport, USA, to Cardiff, Wales as the seven teams broke into two groups.

MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team, and Turn the Tide on Plastic elected to head northeast on a more direct route towards Cardiff and the Leg 9 finish.

But the early gains went to the group of Team Brunel, team AkzoNobel, Vestas 11th Hour Racing, and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag which chose to make the most of strong south-westerlies, rocketing southeast at breakneck speeds, building a 40+nm lead.

“I think it’s the first time this race we’ve seen a split in the fleet this big,” MAPFRE skipper Xabi Fernández said.

When the wind shifted for the southerly group, it was their chance to gybe and cash in their chips, but with a high pressure system blocking the path to the east, the two groups are starting to come back together again and it remains to be seen which will emerge in front.

“Hopefully tonight we can tack in easterly winds and then we will have a couple of days of very strong winds,” shared Fernandez. “The fleet in the south sailed very fast but now they have a lot of work to do. We just need to wait and see what the situation is.”

The massive split in the fleet has made for some head scratching for Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Simon Fisher. “How it all pans out in the long term we will have to see. There is plenty of wind forecast in the coming days and not a lot forecast for the finish so we still have a lot of work ahead.”

Having already knocked off a third of the leg in three days, the fleet is currently expected to arrive in Cardiff on May 29.

For crew lists… click here.

COURSE: Starting on May 20, Leg 9 takes the fleet from Newport, USA to Cardiff, Wales. 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 9 is 3300nm whereas the actual distance from the tracker is 2878.4nm. The ETA for the leg is in the eight to nine day range.

Race detailsTrackerScoreboardRace routeFacebookYouTube

Leg 9 – Position Report (19:00 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 1988.2 nm DTF
2. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 3.3 nm DTL
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 9.6 nm DTL
4. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 13.1 nm DTL
5. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 38.3 nm DTL
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 45.1 nm DTL
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 75.5 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead

Overall Results (after 8 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 53 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 50
3. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 42
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 36
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 28
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 27
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 22

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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