The seven-strong fleet of the 12th Volvo Ocean Race raced out of Alicante on Saturday (Oct. 11) for the 6478nm first leg to Cape Town, which is expected to take three weeks. With memories still vivid from the previous race, where an opening night storm in the Med wrought early havoc, the early stage has thus far offered manageable conditions, though far from straightforward.
During the first night, MAPFRE, Abu Dhabi and Team Vestas Wind all took turns in the lead, but it was Team Vestas Wind in front as daylight broke on Sunday. It had been a hopeful beginning for skipper Chris Nicholson, whose Danish flagged team has the least amount of training, and just a day earlier, suffered the embarrassment of being OCS at the start.
It had been a night of rain and wind changes, though no swings so great to cause significant separation. The conditions on Sunday remained light and changeable, giving opportunity for Team Alvimedica to grasp the lead, though only temporarily, at 1730 (UTC).
The wind is expected to strengthen from the west as the boat transit the westernmost portion of the Mediterranean Sea. They should cross the Strait of Gibraltar Sunday night, entering the Atlantic Ocean, with the first team to grasp the trade winds expected to get an early boost down the track.
As of 21:40 (UTC) on Sunday, with the fleet 50nm from the Strait, Team SCA is seen in the tracker splitting from the fleet, heading for the European side while the rest seek advantage to the left. The girls layline course now gives them the lead, though any gains to the south could leave them behind.
Position Report (October 11, 21:53 UTC)
1. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 6220.9 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 2nm Distance to Lead
3. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3nm DTL
4. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 3nm DTL
5. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), 3nm DTL
6. Team Alvimedia, Charlie Enright (USA), 3nm DTL
7. Team Bunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 4nm DTL
Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began Leg 1 on October 11, which takes the 7 teams 6478nm from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town, South Africa. ETA is Oct. 31 – Nov. 9. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition – the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series. Final finish on June 27, 2015 in Gothenburg, Sweden.