(November 8, 2017; Leg 2, Day 4) – Just when the leaders of the Volvo Ocean Race thought they had locked in to their final gybe to port and were looking forward to some straight southbound sailing toward Cape Verde and beyond, life happened.
Amid softening and shifty winds, the temptation to step west proved too much with teams choosing the moment when they saw the wind direction giving them a good slant on starboard to minimize the losses to the fleet for the projected gain down the road.
While it has been amusement park conditions to date, the game is ahead as the fleet looks toward the transition from the northeast trade winds they’ve been enjoying and the Doldrums that are famous for thunderstorms, light winds, rain and sudden unexpected gusts.
As this leg is often settled by the first boat to exit the Doldrums and get into the southeast tradewinds found in the southern hemisphere, the winning move will be made soon as teams seek that lane to cross the Doldrums at the thinnest point to ensure a fast transition into the trade winds on the other side.
Normally the further west you go, the thinner the Doldrums get. The lore goes way back on this one – back to the days of clipper ships – and it says that the sweet spot is around 27-28W, but anything between 25W and 30W can work. Thus the reason teams are continuing to step to the west.
Expect teams to make their decision within 24 hours and the verdict to come the following day. Stand by for fate…
Leg 2 – Position Report (22:18 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA) 4512.3 nm DTF
2. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 2.6 nm DTL
3. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED) 4.3 nm DTL
4. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP) 13.4 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED) 25.6 nm DTL
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS) 79.1 nm DTL
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR) 82.1 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Leader
To see the crew lists… click here.
The second leg of the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race started November 5 and is expected to take three weeks for the seven teams to complete the 7000 nm course from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa.
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: Scuttlebutt, Volvo Ocean Race