Team AkzoNobel has made a strong start to the final offshore leg of the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18 – a 1000-nautical mile (1852-kilometer) sprint from Gothenburg, Sweden to The Hague in the Netherlands via turning markers off Norway and Denmark.
Windy conditions prevailed at 1400 CEST (1200 UTC) this afternoon when the seven boat Volvo Ocean Race fleet jockeyed for position on the start line at the mouth of Gothenburg’s Göta älv river.
Team AkzoNobel’s starting helmsman Nicolai Sehested (NED) timed his approach to the start line close to perfection to win the start and go on to lead the seven-boat fleet around the 40-minute opening inshore section of the course.
Team AkzoNobel currently sits in fourth position in the overall Volvo Ocean Race standings with 10 of the 11 legs completed.
On Leg 9 across the Atlantic from Newport, RI to Cardiff, Wales the crew became the fastest ever in the Volvo Ocean Race’s 45-year history after setting a new world record 24-hour distance of 602.51 nautical miles (1115.8 kilometers).
Although an overall podium place is beyond their grasp at this stage, the team’s Dutch skipper Simeon Tienpont says the sailors are keen to finish the round the world race on a positive note, particularly in the team’s home port at The Hague.
“I feel privileged as a Dutchman to be having the finale of this amazing round the world race taking place in the Netherlands,” he said. “It’s a year ago exactly that we christened our new boat in The Hague and we all want to make sure we finish this campaign strongly there.
“It’s going to be a classic northern Europe offshore leg and we will have a little bit of everything when it comes to the weather. We will be going all out to be first into The Hague and this is the leg I really want to win – every bit as much as the Kiwi’s on board wanted to win our leg into New Zealand,” he concluded.
Team AkzoNobel helmsman and sail trimmer Martin Grael (BRA) says that after finishing both the last two ocean legs in podium positions – second on Leg 9 from Newport to Cardiff and third on Leg 10 from Cardiff to Gothenburg – the crew will be going all out for another top three result on this final leg to The Hague.
“This promises to be a very cold and unpleasant leg, with very little sleep,” Grael said. “It’s going to be short and very intense, but it’s the last one and we are all ready for a big final push.
“The course has quite a few zigzags and that means lots of maneuvers and sail changes, so there will be plenty of stacking. We will be running our standby watch system so that means we could all be awake for the majority of the three days of this leg.”
“Of course, we want a good result in The Hague – the home port of team AkzoNobel – and we are all looking forward to trying to closing out our round the world adventure with a good finish on Leg 11,” Grael summed up.
After leaving Gothenburg the next turn will be a marker buoy off the southern coast of Norway which the boats are expected to round close to midnight tonight before taking off downwind towards the Danish city of Aarhus on the east coast of the Jutland peninsula.
From there the course takes the boats north again and around the northern coastline of Denmark before the fleet turns south and heads down the North Sea towards the finish in The Hague.
Based on the latest weather data the fleet should complete the course in around three days with the earliest current estimated time of arrival in The Hague being the morning of Sunday June 24.