• 02-DEC-2014

Weekly highlights N°8

More than 10 days after leaving Cape Town the fleet is already in the Indian Ocean heading for Abu Dhabi. But it hasn't been smooth sailing for the 7 VO65 boats. The Indian Ocean is one of the most unknown areas to the fleet.

After the first days in the Southern Ocean the fleet gybe north. Abu Dhabi headed west alone while the rest chose the more easterly route and remained tightly packed with only 10 miles separating Team Brunel, Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE and Team Alvimedica.

Deep in the Indian Ocean, a situation more akin to a match race began to unfold as Dongfeng and MAPFRE jostled for position in close quarters.

With a tropical storm developing to the north bringing winds of more than 40 knots, the fleet had to prepare the boats and the decision on how to approach the situation was crucial.

Eventually the tropical storm was classed as a depression with up to 30 knots of wind.

Late into the night bad news came through to Race Control.

Team Alvimedica were sailing nearby and waited to provide assistance should it be needed. Charlie Enright and Will Oxley were in permanent contact with Team Vestas Wind and the local coastguard. With the boat grounded next to the Cargados Carajos Shoals island the crew, safely in the life rafts, waited to be evacuated by the local coastguard.

Up ahead, Ian Walker, aware of the situation, sympathised with Vestas´ problems.

Meanwhile the rest of the fleet continue towards the Equator with another 2000 miles to go before they reach Abu Dhabi. The forecast shows not much wind ahead for the majority, while MAPFRE breakaway in search of stronger gusts to the East