Volvo Ocean Race: One more night to go
Published on June 23rd, 2018
(June 23, 2018; Day 3) – With the Norway turning mark in the rear-view mirror, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet is now racing south to the finish in The Hague and the tactical options are opening up.
A brief split opened up this afternoon as team AkzoNobel and Team Brunel were pushed by an unexpected windshift to pass north and west of a commercial Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) while the race leaders, Dongfeng Race Team and MAPFRE slid down the east side.
The early advantage went to the race leaders, who increased their lead from eight to 12 miles.
“The breeze just shifted so much that we were on the wrong side of the TSS so we opted to reach down alongside of it. But that’s expensive as it means we’re sailing 90-degrees to the finish,” explained Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking.
“It’s just one of those things that happens during the race. We’ll lose Akzo as well as they tacked well before us and are just going to sail around us… Can’t change it.”
But the split hasn’t fully played out yet. The two Dutch boats may be the first to pick up the stronger winds forecast for later this afternoon. But in a covering move, the race leaders quickly pointed their bows west in a protective manoeuvre to minimise their exposure.
“We are waiting to catch the new wind,” said Dongfeng Race Team navigator Pascal Bidégorry. “The wind will come from the northwest, very strong. So it will be a left shift. We are on port tack now, waiting for more left shift to be able to tack and take the strong northwest wind directly south to the finish.”
Following last night that saw the fleet compress through several light wind transitions, Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team emerged to round the Norway turning mark in first place at 0700 UTC this morning.
Xabi Fernández’s MAPFRE crew was less than a mile behind, while Charlie Enright’s Vestas 11th Hour Racing was just three miles back.
“We are pretty tight with Dongfeng and we have to keep pushing,” said Antonio Cuervos-Mons.
“We still want to win this leg,” said Vestas 11th Hour Racing’s Jena Mai-Hansen, who sailed past her home port when the team took the turn at the Aarhus race mark yesterday afternoon. “The guys here are not too far in front of us and everything is full on for the three boats trying to win the race…”
Today is the penultimate day for the final leg of this Volvo Ocean Race. Three teams still have a chance to win the overall race and the finishing order between MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel will determine the podium order for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18.
With just 400 miles left to the finish line in The Hague, the stakes couldn’t be higher. The teams will need to navigate between more TSS exclusion zones before reaching The Hague and choices must be made shortly that will play out over the coming hours. Tension is running high on board. As is the exhaustion level.
“I think we are going to sleep well when we arrive in The Hague,” Bidégorry said wryly. “We have only a bit more than one day to go and then the Volvo Ocean Race is finished. We have to keep on pushing to the maximum.”
There is a battle at the back of the fleet as well where Turn the Tide on Plastic has turned the tables on SHK/Scallywag in the battle for sixth place. David Witt’s Scallywag has a tenuous one-point advantage on the leaderboard, but Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic could draw level by beating them this leg. Then, the In-Port Race on June 30 could determine the tie-break.
The current ETA predicts the leaders will arrive tomorrow afternoon between 1300 and 1600 UTC — mid-afternoon local time in The Hague.
The race course for Leg 11 was revised prior to the start, adjusting the length to 963.4nm to ensure fan-friendly arrival times along the route and finish.
After the start on June 21, the boats were sent west out of the islets dotting the entrance to Gothenburg before turning north to head to a turning mark just off the coast of Norway. Then, it’s a dive south to round a mark near the Danish city of Aarhus, followed by a return north around the top of Denmark before racing south to The Hague to the finish on June 24.
For crew list… click here.
Leg 11 – Position Report (12:00 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 409.2 nm DTF
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 0.2 nm DTL
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 2.6 nm DTL
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 8.2 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 8.8 nm DTL
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 14.5 nm DTL
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 15.1 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead
Overall Results (after 10 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 65 points
2. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 65
3. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 64*
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 53
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 38
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 30
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 29
* One additional point will be awarded to the team with the best elapsed time at the conclusion of the race in The Hague. Currently, Dongfeng would win this point.
NOTE: The In-Port Race Series is a separate event, but should there be a tie on the overall race leaderboard at the end of the offshore legs, the In-Port Race Series standings will be used to break the tie.
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