After four days into Leg 2, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet is finally making progress towards Abu Dhabi. After committing early to an easterly route to get offshore from the African continent, with offwind angles and a rough sea making onboard life difficult, the fleet is now on port in a dying westerly.
“When we look at what is happening in the Southern hemisphere part of the Indian Ocean in terms of the weather, it’s far from simple,” explained reporter Yann Riou on Dongfeng. “Looking at the northern part right now, it’s one big empty hole!”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing were the first to head north, and now have rare leverage on the fleet. In their own lane, nearly 40 nm to windward, they are posting good speeds too, gaining 4 nm on the leader since the last position report. All six other teams lost mileage.
Reporter Matt Knighton shares insight from onboard Abu Dhabi:
“The rest of the fleet who have opted to sail further east did not match our gybe to the north in the middle of the night. We’re all trying to sail to the northeast and place our bets for the best crossing of a developing high pressure.”
With a strong eddy in the Agulhas Current pushing Abu Dhabi northeast at 3 knots, skipper Ian Walker likes their lane. “I think that what’s happened is the currents are playing a major factor in what type of wind everyone’s got. We’re getting this massive header and practically pointing at Abu Dhabi.”
The seven boats are now south of Madagascar, but still at approximately the same latitude as their start line in Cape Town. It’s time now to make some progress north to the finish in Abu Dhabi.
Leg 2 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 4110.7 nm Distance to Finish
2. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 3.7 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Iker Martinez (ESP), 4.2 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 4.7 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 10.4 nm DTL
6. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 20.1 nm DTL
7. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 32.2 DTL