• Power Reaching Accelerates The Fleet

    Wet, wild and fast sailing

    Fast sailing towards the finish - what more could a Volvo Ocean Race sailor want?

    Conditions are fast, wet and wild for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Sunday as they charge to the southeast, finally heading in a direction where miles sailed translate into miles towards the finish in New Zealand, still more than 4,000 nautical miles away.

    With the passage of a front, the wind has shifted to the north and the boats are on a tight reach in 18 to 25 knots of wind, making 20 to 25 knots of boatspeed. It’s not comfortable. But it’s fast.

    “Since the front hit it’s been pretty full on,” said Blair Tuke from on board MAPFRE. “To start with it was about as good sailing as you can get, 20 to 25 knots of breeze and flat, flat water. But over the last few hours, things have just got gradually a little bit worse. Sea state and water on deck, it’s probably the most water I’ve ever seen.”

    “This is a great way to gain some miles after some slow upwind sailing that we have been doing,” agreed Dee Caffari from Turn the Tide on Plastic.

    "There is water pouring down the deck, everyone is wet, everything is wet inside and out but no one is complaining as we all know this is short lived and we will cover some serious miles while we are at it. And the water is warm, 19 degrees, matching the air temperature.”

    The fleet is still largely in two groups, with MAPFRE holding the narrowest of leads over Team Brunel and Dongfeng Race Team, and Turn the Tide on Plastic is just 13 miles behind.

    The second group had consisted of team AkzoNobel and Scallywag, but their paths are beginning to diverge, with Scallywag charting a southern route and cutting the corner. It was a strategy that worked on Leg 4… we’ll see over the coming hours if it is successful again.

    Team AzokoNobel:

    The fightback begins

    After a tough 48 hours which saw team AkzoNobel lose considerable ground to the leaders - after a decision to tack to the northeast soon after passing the island of Taiwan turned sour - the team have now made up good miles on the fleet ahead of them.

    From around 1200 UTC yesterday both team AkzoNobel and Sun Hung Kai Scallywag were able to take advantage of more breeze than the boats to the east of them as a new weather front passed through. Over the last 24 hours, team AkzoNobel has almost halved the distance to the leaders – they were 113.3 nautical miles behind at 0700 UTC yesterday (February 10) and have now reduced this deficit to 62.9 nautical miles as of the latest position report this morning.

    The remainder of the fleet gybed over to port and turned for Auckland at around 1900 UTC last night and all teams are now reaching in 24 to 28 knots of breeze having averaged around 21 to 24 knots of speed over the last few hours. Jules Salter, navigator on board team AkzoNobel, expects the current weather system to carry them for around 1,000 miles before the boats slowly turn to the right and head south to link-up with the northeast trade winds.

    Whilst the gains on the leaders have slowed, team AkzoNobel will be looking for further opportunities to take advantage of in the coming days. There is still a long way to go in this race.

    At 0700 UTC (0800 CET) team AkzoNobel was in fifth place in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, sailing west at 22.1 knots with 4,344 nautical miles (8,045 kilometers) to the finish in Auckland.

    Latest from Bouwe Bekking, skipper of Team Brunel:

    Today was one of those days that you realise how fortunate you are to be sailing in this race. This morning when the new northerly breeze reached us, we had the best sailing ever on this boat. 30 knots of breeze and flat water, just smoking, we averaged 26.5 knots for a couple of hours, why can't it always be like that? These boats are made for flat water and not waves :-)

    Pete just came down off watch and complained about the stain there is downstairs, so we better open the leeward hatch again, but then it means bailing water out more, as the water gets sucked in through the leeward hatch.

    Yann and Capey have been fighting all day to get the media station to work, and not winning yet. The media station is important as it is the way that race control can follow the boat all the time and get to the data. But more importantly its the way how we download weather. It is bloody annoying to receive messages from race control with just saying switch it back on, easy to speak when they sit in a office somewhere where it is flat and dry, and they're not knowing what efforts we put in to get it back to work. I am sure when it gets calmer our boys will find a way to get it fixed.

    Time to go on deck for me, into the pitch dark night... It is still raining, this is the less fun part of the job.


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