Crew "on the back foot" after northerly gambit turns sour
The team AkzoNobel sailors are having to dig deep today after sustaining major losses against the bulk of the fleet over the last 24 hours when a decision to head north a few hours earlier than the other teams turned sour.
The northerly gambit yesterday left team AkzoNobel and the Hong Kong crew on Sun Hung Kai Scallywag in consistently less wind than the other five teams and the pair have been haemorrhaging miles against the rest of fleet at every position report since.
At 0700 UTC (0800 CET) this morning team AkzoNobel was in fifth place, 201 kilometers off the lead currently held by overall race leaders Mapfre (ESP). Worse news still is that the leading pack is sailing at 13 knots while lighter winds mean team AkzoNobel can only manage eight knots.
Despite having to endure such a gut-wrenching setback so early in the leg, team AkzoNobel watch captain Chris Nicholson says the crew are now focused on finding a way back into contention at the front of the fleet as quickly as possible.
"After about three days of some most unpleasant upwind sailing we find ourselves on the back foot," Nicholson wrote in an email to the team AkzoNobel communications team today.
"Along with Scallywag we tacked early on a shift off the Taiwan coast and obviously, in hindsight, we should have stayed with the fleet. Whichever way you look at it, we are not in a great situation, but there will be lots of opportunities for us to make gains in the next days or maybe weeks.
"The important thing is to stay fully motivated and ready to capitalise on these chances to get back to the leaders. We have had plenty of squall activity over the last few hours as a front passed over us and hopefully this could mark the start of a recovery.
"I'm glad to say that attitudes are good on board, but we do need to show some real resilience as we shrug off this setback and get back in the saddle."