Options abound after Madeira


© Konrad Frost/Volvo Ocean Race

It was another fast night at sea for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet overnight Monday as all teams stayed north and west of the Madeira.

Abby Ehler on Team Brunel says the past 24 hours has been a gybe-athon, with the teams taking it by turns to make progress south and then west.

And this is how her skipper, Bouwe Bekking described it:

“Good routines now with the jibing, moving all the stack downstairs followed by the sails on deck. And now and then seeing another competitor is always good for the moral. Currently 27 knots of breeze and leaving the island of Madeira quickly behind. Will be interesting to see how the next position report is going to be, as we placed ourselves closely to the northwest part of the island, to use the extra wind compression. the next 24 hour we will have to make a call on how far west we go, before we finally make our turn south, one very critical point on this leg.”

There are a couple of different options according to the weather models, so it could be an interesting day to see whether someone makes a break away from the rest of the fleet.

“Now the goal is to go west and find the good jibing point and choose where we would like to cross the doldrums,” writes Charles Caudrelier on Dongfeng. “Not easy now that the game is completely open in the south atlantic.”

Dee Caffari, skipper on Turn the Tide on Plastic is looking to the forecast for easing winds as an opportunity to come back into the fleet. 

“It seems we can have another 24 hours of this fun sailing before we get some slightly lighter winds. Those in front will get them first allowing us to sail into the back of them, I hope, as we are all too aware that we cannot afford to get left too far behind before the doldrums. He who exits first will gain huge and we will have another case of the rich getting richer.”

© James Blake/Volvo Ocean Race

With fatigue setting in, decision making and pushing the boat to 100 percent is becoming more and more challenging. 

“I’m pretty broken,” said Brunel’s Kyle Langford, on his first Volvo Ocean Race. “I haven’t had a lot of sleep… And this is just the beginning. It’s only going to get worse.”

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