(June 13, 2018; Day 4) – Spanish team MAPFRE are dominating the lead of the penultimate Volvo Ocean Race leg as the fleet rocketed round the coast of Scotland today.
The onboard speedos were screaming into the mid-20s as southerly winds built to more than 25 knots around ten miles off the coast of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides.
Although more than 500 miles of the 1,300-mile leg from Cardiff, Wales, to Gothenburg, Sweden, remain, the pressure on the front-runners is relentless.
Overall race leaders Dongfeng Race Team occupies the runner-up spot, and if MAPFRE were to win the leg with Dongfeng in second place, the Spanish team would be tied on points (should Dongfeng, as projected, collect a bonus point for fastest overall elapsed time) with their Chinese rivals, setting up a winner-takes-all final leg from Gothenburg to The Hague.
With so much at stake, the teams are pushing harder than ever before in the knowledge that what happens now will ultimately affect their overall position in the race.
“It’s going to be downwind, quite windy, and now we have to be fast to catch up to MAPFRE,” said Kevin Escoffier while steering Dongfeng Race Team through the waves. Translation: sleeping is for losers.
“We haven’t slept much at all this leg,” said Australian Olympic sailor Nina Curtis, a crewmember of fourth-placed Team Brunel.
“Even when it was super light we were constantly moving the stack around. I think the most sleep I’ve strung together in one go is one hour. I don’t think I’ve ever been this tired before. The guys told me it would be intense but this is a whole new level of intensity.”
In less than 36 hours the teams are expected to arrive in Gothenburg, but from a weather perspective it’s about to get much worse before it gets better.
Leg 10 – Position Report (19:00 UTC)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 471.6 nm DTF
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 4.0 nm DTL
3. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 6.0 nm DTL
4. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 8.6 nm DTL
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 8.7 nm DTL
6. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 13.9 nm DTL
7. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 40.4 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead
Starting June 10, Leg 10 is a 1,300-nautical mile sprint from Cardiff, Wales that takes the teams around the west coast of Ireland up to the northern tip of Scotland before heading east-southeast to Gothenburg, the home of Volvo. The fleet is expected to finish by June 14 or 15.
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