• October 29 & 30 Volvo Updates





    OCTOBER 30, 2014

    The front-runners and ourselves all patiently or not so patiently wait for this shift in the breeze to the left. A lifting breeze will allow us gybe to get south once again and finally make a rendezvous with a substantial frontal system that pushes us east to our next port.


    We have options; right now Chris and Wouter discuss and discuss in detail every option. I’m finding it tough to wait this out, they too must be… It’s exciting though, we have the potential to pop out in the lead if not completely close the gauge on Abu Dhabi and Brunel.

    ... It’s funny I usually start these blogs mid morning and finish them that evening so that I miss nothing during the course of the day, well something funny just happened. It’s now 18:42 and a boat we have not seen since the Canary Islands has crossed our bow by 3 miles, it’s Abu Dhabi!

    Wow, that’s good news and bad, good we are in the right place on the race course bad so now too are the rest of the leading group, we suspect Brunel is not far away either. This is a true testament to the new one-design fleet, three miles apart after 19 days of racing! Now the following days are going to get very exciting…

    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind





    With sunlight fading over the South Atlantic, from the helm of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing a bright white sail grew larger by the minute on the horizon. After more than five days without seeing any other boats, Team Vestas Wind was crossing behind us by a mere three miles.


    One might think that after 19 days of racing and being thousands of miles from land we’re surprised to see another boat so close. To be honest, we’re not. The shock of how close this one-design racing is has worn off. After the earlier battle down the African coast, it’s not surprising to see one or even two sails keeping pace with you for a very, very long time.

    Matt Knighton, OBR

    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing






    The sun shines and we are sailing in 15 knots of wind. The good news: the sched this morning showed that we were the fastest boat, we’ve been catching up with the pack. It’s very important that by the time we head to South Africa, we are all together and at the front. As Iker puts it “we can’t miss this train.” Arriving late would be too bad for us.

    Today we had a look at the forecast for the upcoming days, and tomorrow we’ll be sailing in 25 knots of wind, and 3 to 4 meter waves. It’s going to get wet. I’ve been preparing everything for that, when the life onboard gets difficult.
    The French guys also surprised us by taking a “pate” out of the bags. It was really good, so thanks so much for that guys. Eating something different really puts you in better spirits!

    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE





    Just like any Wednesday at the office, the general topic of conversation around the water cooler was plans for the weekend. We will all be in the Southern Ocean, so it should be a pretty epic weekend to say the least. Sara said she already has her wardrobe ready and organised; this will be Sara’s first time going to the Southern Ocean.

    Today’s average day at the office also included some last minute checks before the big weekend. Sophie went up the rig to make sure everything was 100%, and Abby and Liz continued a detailed inspection of the boat. I’m not lying when I say it’s going to be one big weekend.

    So yeah today was just an average day out here—no surprises and no excitement, just a quiet, average Wednesday.

    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA






    The most obvious changes have been in the weather, and it’s a matter of some significance given where we’re soon headed. Life is getting cold in a hurry and because the water’s still warm we’re seeing a lot of fog; fog is damp, and for the first time in a long time things are wet. At this point its just condensation, but it’s an early reminder that we’re going south, somewhere much colder and much wetter: to the notorious latitudes of the roaring forties.

    While the sailing is still easy—and it is by comparison to what it will soon be—everyone has been prepping their respective areas--building worklists, checking the rig, the winches, digging out boots, waterproofing etc… We want to be sure that when the winds begin to build we’re as ready as possible, and more ready than the rest. We could see sustained winds of 35 knots so preparation is going to be crucial.


    Amory Ross, OBR
    Team Alvimedica





    Numbers
    Open food bags: 19
    Food bags left: 6
    Days of sailing left: 7
    We won’t die of hunger because we do have leftovers from the 19 open bags. But it won’t contain our favourite meals. Let’s just say we’ll have to wait for Cape Town to enjoy a great dinner.
    More numbers
    Percentage of meals unfinished last week: 100
    Percentage of meals unfinished this week: 0
    Average life span of a Nutella pot the first week: 3-4 days
    Average life span of a Nutella pot this week: less than 24 hours
    Confirmation: we do have food, but we’re not against a food feast in South Africa.


    Yann Riou, OBR
    Dongfeng Race Team
    Go to team website


    ************************************************** *******



    OCTOBER 29, 2014






    Forrest Gump once wisely said: "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." That could never be more true than today. Except our chocolate got squished as well; it's still good, we still love it, but it's just been a bit sticky and messy the last 24 hours.

    Last night, as we happily made our way southwest, we got caught under our own personal rain cloud that sucked every ounce of wind. Our "parade" was both literally and figuratively rained on. By morning, we were 90 miles behind MAPFRE, and by 1pm, we were another 49 miles behind. Unsure if "gutted" gives the best description of the mood of all of us on board - but it felt like we had all been stabbed in the stomach.

    Yes, today was not easy, but we did not allow ourselves to slow us down - we sailed with the conditions given and sailed at 100% performance.
    So, as I've said before: don't rule us out. Don't expect anything but the best from us.

    Don't stop believin'. There is still thousands of miles left, and with a newly added "Ice Gate" in the Southern Ocean, the next couple of days racing may get even closer. We are fighting and that's the most important part. After all, who knows what chocolates we'll have tomorrow...

    Corinna Halloran, OBR
    Team SCA




    Someone flicked the switch last night. We cruised in considerable comfort for the majority of yesterday evening until a shady grey cloud line crept up from the west. It had all the signs of significant breeze, enough to get the full compliment of crew on deck for a speedy sail change.

    We waited, we looked and we were patient! Zero materialised, nothing in the cloud line. Two further attempts of front line clouds move in towards us. Zero, then wallop! It came at 24-26 knots of fun, pure surfing enjoyment. The darkness rolled in before I had any opportunity to capture the excitement. The night didn’t disappoint either, many gybes, stacks and then re-stacks later we sailed our way into the best pressure. It did however finally drop out light.

    This is where the leaders gained distance and the pack behind compressed.
    Wouter doesn’t seem fazed by any of this, his concern now is setting up for the sling-shot east, believing we are in the right placed area when the low-pressure systems develops to the west of us.

    Brian Carlin, OBR
    Team Vestas Wind







    Might have been one of the nicest days out we’ve seen although not from a sailing perspective… I guess this is what you’d expect on the edge of a high-pressure system. Bright skies, warm on deck but light-ish breeze. Fortunately the winds never really dipped below 10 knots allowing us to keep good pace. Almost no sea state makes sailing at 15 knots feel like you’re standing still if you’re down below deck.
    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing is searching for pockets of better breeze anticipating small mileage gains that will accelerate our route to the westerly winds that will hopefully shorten our trip to Cape Town.
    Matt Knighton, OBR

    Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing




    Early in the morning an alarm goes off showing that we only have 30% battery power left, and that we need to charge. The engine starts but the batteries won’t charge. We switched everything off, satellite, computers, lights, GPS. We then got in touch with land and let them know.

    Michel and Iker got on to it and couldn’t find the origin of the problem, and we thought we might have to head to land. We then found out we could charge them when isolated, but not at the same time. Could have something to do with the water issue from the other day, or maybe there’s something not functioning properly we don’t know of.
    Now everything is working again but we know that if this happens in the days to come, which are going to be hard, that could get very, very serious. We are getting ready for tough sailing conditions, we checked the mast and the winches. As Iker says, in the south, anything can happen, and the best prepared will get a better result.

    Francisco Vignale, OBR
    MAPFRE
    Go to team website




    We’re using two different kinds of weather files: the European and the American models. They aren’t always on the same page. You've got to pick your side. That’s why we’ve seen the boats take different routes for the past couple of days. Verdict in a few days.
    As far as everything else goes, life goes on onboard Dongfeng. These strategic questions keep us awake. We’re also discussing the arrival date in Cape Town. This date sets the number of days off we’ll have before the Leg 2. Sensitive topic…

    Yann Riou, OBR
    Dongfeng Race Team
    This article was originally published in forum thread: 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race started by PD Staff View original post