• 16-FEB-2015

Weekly highlights N°14

The fleet faced 5,400 miles to Auckland after a spectacular farewell from Sanya. The Guan Yin statue was the beginning of the toughest 48 hours of the race so far. The boats were sailing through the South China Sea towards the Pacific Ocean with huge waves and 25 knots of upwind. Not easy conditions to start leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race.Just before crossing the Strait of Luzon, the fleet started to plan how to face the next week at sea.

The fleet has taken two different tactical options, 130 miles apart, to avoid first the Kuroshio Current and then the no wind area located to the East of the Philippines. The entire fleet will sail at some point in the opposite direction to Auckland.

Two completely different situations for the two groups. In the southern pack, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, MAPFRE, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Alvimedica battled with each other to maintain position. Team Brunel and Team SCA decided to sail more miles but with more wind by taking a northerly route.

After 5 days of tough conditions with 20 knots of upwind from the North East, some of the boats had to carry out repairs. A hard job for SCA sewing sails, and also on board MAPFRE as they repaired a hole on deck after an incident with the outrigger. After 5 hours of hard job everything was solved.

After 7 days sailing the results of the 2 tactical options became clearer, and it seems Team Brunel made a good decision.

The competition is on, but life on board is similar in some ways to what's happening on land. On board, today is also Valentine's Day.The fleet is 3,500 miles far from Auckland and there are still a lot of tactical decisions to be made. For the moment Team Brunel is leading, followed by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and MAPFRE.