(January 10, 2018; Leg 4; Day 9) – When the Volvo Ocean Race fleet first encountered the notorious Doldrums as they raced through the Atlantic between Lisbon and Cape Town on Leg 2, they breezed through with minimal disruption. But now for Leg 4, the Doldrums appear to be making up for that earlier missed opportunity.
“It’s hot and slow,” said Jens Dolmer, boat captain on Team Brunel. “It saps your energy completely.” Dolmer’s crewmate Sally Barkow needed just one word: “Torture.”
For three days now the crews have been solely focused on getting north as quickly as possible so they can lock into the consistent trade winds that will fire them towards Hong Kong. And with the finish line to the west, any team that steps that way looks good in the results but could prove to be a short-lived reward.
A northerly lane to the trades may have arrived as the tracker (at 19:00 UTC) shows all the teams making 10+ knots over the ground, but there remains another 200 nm to the north before they reach the stronger northeasterly winds that will allow them to turn left onto the highway to Hong Kong.
1. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 3188.7 nm DTF
2. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 2.5 nm DTL
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Mark Towill (USA), 6.0 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 7.5 nm DTL
5. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 21.2 nm DTL
6. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 28.7 nm DTL
7. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 29.2 nm DTL
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Leader
Beginning on January 2, Leg 4 is a 5,600 nautical mile race up the east coast of Australia from Melbourne, into the Coral Sea and up north to Hong Kong. The ETA for Hong Kong will be more certain after the boats clear the Doldrums but is penciled in for January 20 to 21.
Overall Results (after 3 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 29 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 23
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23
4. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 14
5. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 11
6. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 9
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 6
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