Team AkzoNobel returns to the front of the fleet
At 0200 UTC this morning team AkzoNobel retook the lead in Leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race and are currently leading the fleet in a southeasterly direction through the northeast trade winds as they make their way down to the doldrums.
It has been an extraordinary few days of racing that has seen team AkzoNobel go from first position - as they led the fleet out of Hong Kong - to last position – after they tacked to the north soon after the island of Taiwan. Over the last 48 hours, the team - who had been positioned to the southeast of the leaders - have been able to take advantage of a moving front of northerly winds and along with Sun Hung Kai Scallywag – positioned even further to the southeast – made significant gains.
Team AkzoNobel is now well positioned ahead and to the south of the main fleet – consisting of Dongfeng Race Team, Mapfre, Team Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic – and to the east of Sun Hung Kai Scallywag allowing them to take good advantage of the northeast trade winds whilst covering their position on the chasing pack to the north.
Whilst some have indicated that team AkzoNobel and Sun Hung Kai Scallywag have been dealt a lucky hand, Rosco Monson - onshore navigator for team AkzoNobel - is keen to point out that a huge amount of work went into this leg before it even started.
“We are finally starting to see the preparation paying off, a large amount of time was dedicated to understanding the weather front that the boats have been negotiating for the last four days. Every scenario was discussed, modelled and played out before the start of the race almost 10 days ago to determine and understand the effects on the fleet and possible strategies. The weather team get an A+ for their homework this time.”
“It’s nice when it plays out in your favour but this leg is far from over, there are plenty more moves to be made. Stay tuned as it unfolds; the red boats of Dongfeng and Mapfre are hard to keep behind you!”
After two days of fast and furious racing the teams are now catching the northeast trade winds and making their way down to the equator and the next big challenge of this leg – the doldrums. Conditions onboard have gone from extremely wet to hot and humid. Chris Nicholson, watch captain, gives this insight to life onboard…
“Things are getting hot and quite smelly. With any luck we might catch a rain shower in the doldrums!”
For now, team AkzoNobel are focused on protecting their lead in their race.
At 0700 UTC (0800 CET) team AkzoNobel were in first position in the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, sailing south-southeast at 13.3 knots with 3,580 nautical miles (6,630 kilometers) to the finish in Auckland, New Zealand.
[© Richard Edwards / Volvo Ocean Race]