Volvo Ocean Race: Next stop, Doldrums

(February 13, 2018; Day 7) – Every boat in the fleet in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race is back up to speed and enjoying trade wind sailing conditions as they push on a southeasterly course towards the doldrums some 1000 miles away. The boats are on a tight reach, with wind and boat speeds in the mid to high teens.

Team AkzoNobel heads the leaderboard, positioned south and slightly west of the bulk of the fleet, while Scallywag is 70 nm to leeward, holding the most westerly flank.

“We’re neck and neck with AkzoNobel, leading the fleet, heading to the doldrums which is where I think the race is going to be won or lost,” said Scallywag skipper David Witt. “The doldrums is going to be very interesting and we’ve made sure to set ourselves up where we want to be for that so we’re pretty happy where we are at the moment.”

Scallywag and team AkzoNobel enjoyed the smoothest transition into the trade winds, speeding past the group to the northeast who were wallowing in light and unstable conditions for the better part of six hours last night.

At one point overnight (local time), MAPFRE, Dongfeng, Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic were within about two miles of each other. In fact, Brunel and MAPFRE were much closer than that.

“We had a good bit of fun last night,” explained Brunel’s Peter Burling. “We kind of got stuck about a boatlength behind MAPFRE and we had a good little battle there for about half an hour. Eventually we managed to get over the top of them, so it was good.”

But that wasn’t the end of the story.

MAPFRE and Dongfeng made a decisive turn to the west, trying to minimise their time in the unstable conditions. Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic weren’t able to follow them and a split developed.

“They both speared off doing 12 knots to the west and we just couldn’t get over there and that was bloody annoying,” said Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking. “And then Turn the Tide on Plastic came up underneath us. We slowly but surely got the breeze but MAPFRE and Dongfeng found it first and they’ve made a massive jump on us.”

As the top boats on the overall leaderboard, MAPFRE and Dongfeng remain in sight of each other, neither willing at this stage of the leg to engage in any aggressive separation that may have more risk than reward.

The next obstacle is the doldrums, whose passage proved decisive on Leg 4. The teams will need to choose their entry point over the coming 48 hours or so.


Beginning on February 7, Leg 6 is listed as a 6,100 nautical mile course from Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand.

For crew lists… click here.

Damage: Only six of the seven teams are competing in Leg 6 as Vestas 11th Hour Racing is repairing their boat following the collision with a fishing boat as they neared the finish line of Leg 4 in Hong Kong. The team shipped their boat to Auckland to complete repairs in time for the March 18 start of Leg 7 to Itajaí, Brazil.

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Leg 6 – Position Report (19:00 UTC)
1. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 3402.3 nm DTF
2: Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 11.8 nm DTL
3. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 50.4 nm DTL
4. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 51.2 nm DTL
5. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 51.8 nm DTL
6. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 73.1 nm DTL
DNS. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA)
DTF – Distance to Finish; DTL – Distance to Lead; DNS – Did Not Start

Overall Results (after 5 of 11 legs)
1. MAPFRE (ESP), Xabi Fernández (ESP), 34 points
2. Dongfeng Race Team (CHN), Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 30
3. Vestas 11th Hour Racing (DEN/USA), Charlie Enright (USA), 23
4. Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag (HKG), David Witt (AUS), 20
5. Team Brunel (NED), Bouwe Bekking (NED), 18
6. Team AkzoNobel (NED), Simeon Tienpont (NED), 15
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic (POR), Dee Caffari (GBR), 9

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: Volvo Ocean Race

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