• Plastic Bags On Keel Bulb Slow Down Volvo Teams

    Brunel leads into the Luzon Strait

    Team Brunel has been leading the Volvo Ocean Race fleet into the Luzon Strait between Taiwan and the Philippines.

    The six boats are tucked towards the southern tip of Taiwan, anticipating a turn to the north after leaving Taiwan to port.

    On the 0700 UTC position report on Thursday, Brunel had eked out a narrow lead, but most of the teams will be in sight of one another.

    “We’ve been bouncing upwind. Everyone is still pretty close. Whoever puts their bow down for a little while goes a little bit faster than the other,” said team AkzoNobel skipper Simeon Tienpont. “Brunel is a little bit ahead, we lost a few miles with a sail change.

    “It’s been straight into it. Everyone is quiet and efficient. We were happy with the start and we’re back in fighting mode.”

    The fight is for every mile. Any mistake or misfortune is costly. For Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic, it came in the form of plastic bags stuck to appendages, slowing the boat down.

    “It’s not slowing us down too much,” said Turn the Tide on Plastic sailor Henry Bomby. “It’s a big deal to do a back down to get rid of it, so we’re going to wait.”

    “At the moment, we can’t afford to go backwards, so we’re carrying this plastic on our keel, sadly,” said skipper Dee Caffari.

    For Team Brunel, the performance hit was too much, and they did a double tack to clear the debris from their rudder.

    “We were going very well and soon found ourselves in the lead, but then all of sudden we were super slow,” explained skipper Bouwe Bekking.

    “In no time we lost half a mile, the cause was a huge plastic bag on the rudder. We actually had to do two tacks to get it off, losing more distance, but from then on we’ve been slowly chipping away again.”

    As a result, Brunel has had about a three-mile lead for much of the morning on Thursday as the teams race towards Taiwan.

    After passing to the south of Taiwan, the fleet is expected to head to the north, further away from the direct route to New Zealand, in an effort to avoid a developing area of light wind and to pick up favourable conditions before diving south.

    It means more upwind sailing, so progress towards the finish looks to be slow and hard-earned for the early stages of Leg 6.

    LEG 6: daily report – Thursday February 8
    The first 24 hours of Leg 6 of the has seen the six-boat Volvo Ocean Race fleet slog eastwards in cold powerful headwinds and unpleasantly lumpy seas towards the southern tip of the island of Taiwan.
    Life on board for the team AkzoNobel crew will have been wet and miserable as the sailors try sail fast while trying to stave off seasickness induced by the incessant rocking horse motion of the boat pounding over the waves kicked up by winds up to 35 knots.
    Having led out of Hong Kong team AkzoNobel lost ground overnight when a sail change from the large J1 headsail to the smaller J2 sail did not go as smoothly as planned.
    At 0700 UTC (0800 CET) the crew was in fifth place, nine kilometers behind leg-leader Team Brunel (NED) with Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) in second, Mapfre (ESP) in third, and Sun Hung Kai Scallywag (HKG) in fourth.
    Turn the Tide on Plastic in sixth lay a further seven kilometers astern.
    In the next few hours the fleet is expected to pass close to the southern tip of Taiwan where winds are expected to ramp up from 15 to over 30 knots.

    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2017 - 2018 Volvo Ocean Race started by Photoboy View original post