• 31-OCT-2014

Ice Gate on the pack's route

It's been 20 days and over 4,000 nautical miles (nm) since the Volvo Ocean Race fleet set sail for Cape Town from Alicante, but the two leading boats are still within sight of each other with the third, fourth and fifth chasing them down, just 80nm adrift.

It could hardly be closer. The changing wind patterns, and a new Ice Gate are testing the navigators to the limit every day and keeping each of the seven crews on their toes 24/7. No wonder the race is regarded as offshore sailing's toughest professional test.

The Pack is Back: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing narrowly have their noses in front (Ian Walker/GBR), 8.7nm clear of Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) with Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) just 19.5nm further adrift.

Team Vestas Wind (Chris Nicholson/AUS) are by no means out of it either in fourth place on the tracker, nor even Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) in fifth.

At the back of the fleet, it is not such a happy picture. Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) and MAPFRE (Iker Martinez/ESP) are more than 200nm and 300nm behind respectivelly. But a great opportunities is still available to them, these two teams could still make up the difference as the leaders head down South to catch the low pressure winds before meeting with a St Helena high front on their way back up to Cape Town.

Ice Gate - sailing exclusion zone:
To avoid the risk of running into icebergs or growlers, an exclusion zone has been decided by Race Control and is formed by the line of longitude 20ºW south of 42ºS, the great circle line between positions 42ºS - 20ºW and 42ºS - 10ºW. These lines are the obstruction that the boats shall leave to starboard.

Ahead still lie the Roaring 40s, four or five-metre waves, steady 25-knot winds and the likely drag race towards South Africa next week.

ETA* in Cape Town: November 6 - afternoon


  • Marie Laurens
    Volvo Ocean Race News Distribution Manager