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Wet, Wild & Fast Sailing As Volvo Ocean Race Fleet Charges Southeast

11th February 2018
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Francesca Clapcich at the helm of Turn the Tide on Plastic Francesca Clapcich at the helm of Turn the Tide on Plastic Photo: James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

#VOR - Conditions are fast, wet and wild for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet on Sunday(11 February) as they charge to the southeast, finally heading in a direction where miles sailed translate into miles towards the finish in New Zealand, still more than 4,000 nautical miles away.

With the passage of a front, the wind has shifted to the north and the boats are on a tight reach in 18 to 25 knots of wind, making 20 to 25 knots of boat speed. It’s not comfortable. But it’s fast.

“Since the front hit it’s been pretty full on,” said Blair Tuke from on board MAPFRE, which maintains the lead by a hair from Team Brunel. “To start with it was about as good sailing as you can get, 20 to 25 knots of breeze and flat, flat water.

“But over the last few hours, things have just got gradually a little bit worse. Sea state and water on deck, it’s probably the most water I’ve ever seen.”

“This is a great way to gain some miles after some slow upwind sailing that we have been doing,” agreed Dee Caffari from Turn the Tide on Plastic, still in fourth position within 14 nautical miles of the lead boat.

“There is water pouring down the deck, everyone is wet, everything is wet inside and out but no one is complaining as we all know this is short lived and we will cover some serious miles while we are at it. And the water is warm, 19 degrees, matching the air temperature.”

The fleet is still largely in two groups, with MAPFRE and Team Brunel chased by Dongfeng Race Team and Turn the Tide on Plastic.

The second group of Team AkzoNobel and Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag had been much further behind, but have closed the gap by some 50 miles over the last 24 hours, with Scallywag charting a southern route and cutting the corner. It was a strategy that worked on Leg 4; we’ll see over the coming hours if it is successful again.

Leg 6 Position Report, Sunday 11 February (Day 5) at 1pm Irish time/UTC:

  1. MAPFRE - DTF 4179.54 nautical miles
  2. Team Brunel +0.37 nautical miles
  3. Dongfeng Race Team +3.88
  4. Turn the Tide on Plastic +13.90
  5. Team AkzoNobel +51.06
  6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +57.97

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