Volvo Race: Bound for Newport

Author:
Updated:
Original:
It’s been mostly smooth sailing, but pressure-cooker conditions for the VOR fleet on Leg 8   

It’s been mostly smooth sailing, but pressure-cooker conditions for the VOR fleet on Leg 8   

It’s a very different kind of sailing from what the fleet experienced in the course of a windy Leg 7, as the Volvo Ocean Race wends its way north from Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island.

As expected, the St. Helena High, which dominates the weather in the South Atlantic, has made for tough going as the seven teams often find themselves sailing hard on the wind in light-air conditions, searching for clouds and their accompanying puffs (and calms!). Although it represents a respite of sorts for a fleet that still bears both the emotional and physical scars of a tough Southern Ocean leg, it also makes for incredibly challenging racing, with the competitors once again often within sight of one another.

At press time, the entire fleet was essentially neck-and-neck, stretched out across 40 miles off the coast of Brazil, each boat hoping to get into the strong tradewinds first.

“Yesterday was all about making short-term losses to make long-term gains,” said Turn the Tide on Plastic skipper Dee Caffari. “That is what I was telling the team as we pushed out to the east while it was easy to gain miles in that direction. Today we are dealing with a sequence of rain clouds as best we can. Some have a shift in them, and some carry just an increase in pressure. We hope the latter are only for us, so we can accelerate on our competitors.”

The racing on the leg from Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island, has once again been incredibly close   

The racing on the leg from Brazil to Newport, Rhode Island, has once again been incredibly close   

“The big difference is how you manage the clouds,” agreed AkzoNobel's Chris Nicholson. “We made a huge gain on Vestas and Mapfre then lost it all in a cloud. In a straight line and with the same breeze there’s not much difference between the teams. The deciding factor is getting through the clouds.”

Once it escapes the light airs of the high, the fleet should have nice trade wind sailing up until the doldrums, when as always, pretty much anything can happen. After that, the easterly trades in the North Atlantic will carry the teams past the Caribbean to where they will have to skirt the Azores High and figure out the best way to deal with the Gulf Stream: all the while keeping an eye out for any weather systems spinning toward them off North America.

The leg from Brazil to Newport has been a pivotal one in that past, and with the overall standings as close as they are thanks to recent breakages aboard Mapfre and a surging AkzoNobel and Team Brunel, this time around looks to be no different. Pity the navigators having to make sense of it all! The absence of Southern Ocean graybeard will make Leg 8 no less exhausting.

With any luck, the fleet is expected to begin finishing in Newport around May 11. For the latest position reports from the fleet, click here

April 2018

Related

01-LEAD-Vento-Solare-action-(1mb)_Stephen-Cloutier

Ida Lewis Distance Race 2021

This year’s annual Ida Lewis Distance Race on Narragansett Bay will offer something for everyone. In addition to ORC and PHRF, there will be sections for doublehanded, youth and collegiate racing. Racers will also have a choice between the event’s traditional offshore distance ...read more

01-LEAD-Lag01-oon-620---Raiatea---French-Polynesia-(12)

Internships: Run Away to Sea

Not the office type? College isn’t an option, or your degree in philosophy isn’t panning out? If a job in the marine trades sounds like your dream career but you don’t know where to start, here are three places to both get some good training and a foot in the door. Dream Yacht ...read more

Screen Shot 2021-05-12 at 9.58.55 AM

Summer Sailstice Turns 21

Summer Sailstice’s will celebrate its 21st birthday this year. This annual worldwide celebration of sailing occurs on the weekend closest to the solstice, landing on June 19th this year. Over the past two decades, the event has grown to include nearly 5,000 boats and 19,000 ...read more

e60aa842-1c3c-41da-b0ba-dfd7678479e4

The New York Yacht Club Submits a Protocol Alteration with its America’s Cup Challenge

The New York Yacht Club (NYYC) has submitted a challenge for the 37th America’s Cup to the current Defender, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron (RNZYS) in Auckland, New Zealand. The challenge was accompanied by a draft protocol for the regatta, which would see the Cup take ...read more

01-LEAD-CCA-Antarctica2-01

Cruising: Honoring Remarkable Ocean Voyages and Seamanship

The Cruising Club of America, an organization of about 1,300 offshore sailors, has been honoring remarkable ocean voyages and seamanship with an array of prestigious awards for nearly 100 years. The club’s highest honor, the Blue Water Medal, has recognized renowned and ...read more

2.4mR's racing at the 2018 Clagett Regatta-US Para Sailing Championships credit Clagett Regatta-Andes Visual

Host for 2021 U.S. Para Sailing Championships Announced

The 2021 U.S. Para Sailing Championships will be hosted by The Clagett Regatta at Sail Newport, in Newport, R.I. on August, 24-29, 2021, according to a joint announcement from the host and US Sailing. "We have had a very long working relationship with US Sailing and look forward ...read more

Reflections-photo-CMerwarth

Cruising: Reflections of an Old Salt

I am 90 years old, dwindling in mind and body and fear living too long. Twenty years have passed since I last weighed anchor. Still, when a Carolina blue sky is polka-dotted with billowing cumulus clouds and the wind blows fair, I sorely miss raising sail and setting forth. I ...read more

DSC_0145

Waterlines: Solo Sailing

In spite of the fact I came to the sport of sailing alone and untutored, in a boat I acquired on my own, I never really aspired to become a solo sailor. It just sort of happened. All these years later, I still never explicitly plan to sail anywhere alone. I’m always happy to ...read more