Volvo Race: Blasting Toward Newport

Author:
Publish date:
A-W1772_Musto_BANNERS_02

.

Turn the Tide on Plastics barrels north under picture-perfect trade wind conditions

Turn the Tide on Plastics barrels north under picture-perfect trade wind conditions

Despite the usual tactical and strategic challenges that are part and parcel of sailing up the coast of Brazil in the South Atlantic, a mercifully swift doldrums passage and strong northeast trade winds have the Volvo Ocean Race rocketing toward a finish in Newport as soon as the middle of next week: well ahead of schedule. That said, there’s still a lot of racing to go, not to mention plenty of additional tactical and strategic challenges in the form of the North Atlantic High, the Gulf Stream and whatever weather systems may stand ready to sweep out over the fleet from where they’re now being spawned somewhere over North America.

“We are pushing to the max we can do,” said Team Brunel skipper Bouwe Bekking, whose team was in the lead at press time with about 1,500 miles to go to the finish. “We know we are sailing into less pressure, so the boats behind us will keep gaining: annoying but a fact we have to live with…. Andrew “Capey” Cape, our navigator, is relaxed in his own way, but you can see and feel that it is game-on. He is making I don't know how many simulations for all the routes possible from here to Newport.”

With respect to the Gulf Stream, Bekking added: “The current can run up to 5 to 6 knots. Unfortunately, it is not one straight stream, it has big eddies, so if you do it wrong you can have 5 knots against you while another boat has 5 knots with them. But we are confident!”

Meanwhile, 25 miles south east of Brunel, Dee Caffari’s Turn the Tide on Plastic was having to deal with the fact of having dropped down from a podium spot to fourth as a result of falling into an area of lighter and more contrary winds.

Team Brunel crewmember Nina Curtis cleans more of the dreaded Sargassum weed off the bow

Team Brunel crewmember Nina Curtis cleans more of the dreaded Sargassum weed off the bow

“Three disappointing position reports in a row is frustrating and could get you down,” she admitted. “During the early hours of this morning, the rain clouds carried some squally action and huge shifts. One minute we were in 28 knots of wind heading toward the Caribbean, and then the next moment we were lifted, toward the center of the high pressure, in 14 knots of

wind. We can only sail in the conditions that we have, and we are working hard. But it seems everyone else’s clouds are more user-friendly allowing them to keep gaining on us and we are slipping back.”

Then, of course, there is the continuing problem of weeds catching on the seven boats’ underwater appendages, which has been an issue since the doldrums.

“If it is not the up and down and shifts of the wind then it is this Sargassum weed. Rudders no longer having smooth water flow lose grip and the boat spinning out is not fast,” Caffari said, echoing the complaints voiced by the entire fleet over the past few days, which on a number of occasions has seen the sailors leaning far out over the boats’ topsides to clean things off—one of the lesser-known aspects of a VOR crew’s job description.

For the latest on the race as well as real-time position reports, click here.  

May 2018

A-W1772_Musto_02

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comGuaranteed result What you see on the end of this halyard isn’t a beautiful Flemish Eye worked by a rigger, but it will make a big difference when you have to “mouse” a line through the mast. If the ...read more

dometicadler-700x

How to: Upgrading Your Icebox

The time has come when the prospect of cold drinks and long-term food storage has you thinking about upgrading your icebox to DC-powered refrigeration. Duncan Kent has been there and done that, and has some adviceFresh food must be kept at a refrigerated temperature of 40 degrees ...read more

Jet-in-Belize

Cruising: Evolution of a Dream

There’s a time to go cruising and a time to stop. As Chris DiCroce found, you don’t always get to choose those timesAlbert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, ...read more

01a-rosemary-anchored-at-Qooqqut,-inland-from-Nuuk

Cruising: A Passage to Greenland

When a former winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race invites you to sail the Northwest Passage, there is only one sensible answer. No.More adventurous types might disagree, but they weren’t the ones facing frostbite of the lungs or the possibility of having the yacht’s hull ...read more

Allures-459-2018

Boat Review: Allures 45.9

Allures is not a name on the tip of many American sailors’ tongues, but it should be. After the debut of its 39-footer last year, the French company has made another significant entry into the U.S. midrange market with the Allures 45.9, an aluminum-hulled cruiser-voyager with ...read more

ZP-Sail-Away-pic-No

Jury-Rigging on Charter

A little know-how goes a long way on vacationThey say cruising is just fixing your boat in exotic places. Maybe that’s why so many people prefer to charter. After a week of sailing you pack your bags and step off your charter boat without another care in the world, leaving the ...read more