Skip to main content

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

fa70b13c-8eec-4c35-b30f-f89e497b469a

Crowdsourcing Age-of-Sail Weather Data

Although big, multi-million-dollar projects like the Large Hadron Collider and the human genome project with their legions of PHD’s tend to grab headlines, there’s still a part of play for the “citizen scientists” of the world. Amateur birders have long contributed to an ...read more

01-LEAD-Ultime-race-Yvan-Zedda,-OC-Sport-Pen-Duick

Ultims to Race Solo Around the World

For years now, maxi-trimarans, both solo-sailed and fully crewed, have been racing the clock on their own around the world in an effort to set ever faster records for the world’s fastest circumnavigation under sail. Back in 2000-01 there was also a no-holds-barred ...read more

P1-01-LEAD-018_CARYNBDAVIS_AMISTAD

Juneteenth on the Water

Discovering Amistad and Mystic Seaport Museum have partnered to organize their third annual Juneteenth festival, featuring concerts, speakers and a reflection on the lasting legacy of racial injustice in America. Declared a National Holiday in 2021, Juneteenth celebrates the end ...read more

Lead-2021-01-17-vue-03-34-av-tb-01

New Multihulls for 2022

Lagoon 51 In keeping with many of the more recently launched models created by French multihull builder Lagoon, the Lagoon 51 is all about comfort, “en plein air,” in particular, as the French might say. Topside, a whopping 80 percent of the boat’s flybridge is given over to ...read more

bermuda

How to Spectate on the Newport Bermuda

The biannual Newport Bermuda Race starts on Friday with the first warning signal at 1 pm. Whether you’re tracking a loved one’s progress or just spectating an event that draws pros and weekend warriors alike, there are plenty of ways to stay up to watch. The starting line will ...read more

03-Hyeres-220429_SOF2022_SAILINGENERGY_1933_3184-copy

US Sailing Strikes Gold in Hyères

After being skunked or nearly skunked at multiple Olympiads, could the US Sailing Team (USST) now under the direction of Olympic veteran Paul Cayard, be finally turning it around? If its performance at the 53rd French Olympic Week regatta in Hyères, France, where the team posted ...read more

P1480042

New York City’s Newest Fleet

120 children enrolled in Brooklyn Boatworks’ STEM and life skills-focused program launched their hand-built optimist prams on June 14 from Pier 2 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. The launch is the culmination of years of student work, with boats in process before the pandemic caused the ...read more

AdobeStock_197518370

Charter: Off the Beaten Path

So, you like to charter in the Caribbean with its warm waters, swaying palm trees, steady trade winds and strong rum drinks. What’s not to love? It can be easy, though, to get stuck in a rut when chartering year after year in the same place. Sure, the British Virgin Islands are ...read more