Dongfeng Race Team converted a strong start into an early lead as the Volvo Ocean Race fleet embarked on Leg 2, a 7,000 nautical mile race from Lisbon to Cape Town wich is estimated to take three weeks to sail down the West Coast of Africa and finish in Cape Town around 26 and 27 November 2017,
But, at 01h00 UTC on 6 November, it looked like MAPFRE were going like a rocket with their Speed Over Ground at 21.1 knots – a full 13 knots faster than second placed Donfeng. MAPFRE were then ahead of Dongfeng by 8.9 nautical miles and, discounting that the report was an aberration, one can only conclude that MAPFRE had found themselves some very favourable breeze and were now poised to accelerate away from the fleet who are seperated by 8.8 nautical miles from 2nd to 6th.
Conditions were perfect for the leg start, with bright blue skies, and a 15-20 knot Northerly breeze that allowed the fleet to reach up and down the Tagus River past the city front of Lisbon.
After exiting the river and heading offshore past the protection of Cascais, the wind is forecast to build to over 30-knots, with a heavy ocean swell near 4-metres. It will be a fast and challenging first night at sea as the teams charge to the southwest.
“It’s going to be fast,” said Dongfeng skipper Charles Caudrelier. “We have been preparing for this, training in strong winds for six months, so I hope we are ready. We have some good drivers in these conditions so I hope we will be fast.”
And indeed, within 15-minutes of clearing the mouth of the river, the fleet was already seeing over 30-knots of wind and Dongfeng Race Team recorded a boatspeed of nearly 33-knots.
Charlie Enright, the skipper of race leader Vestas 11th Hour Racing was in a strong position early, but appeared to be caught out with too much sail up for the final stretch down the river, and fell back to fifth place.
“We’re confident, but not cocky,” Enright said before the start. “We want to take what we’ve learned and apply it to leg 2. It’s going to be a much different leg. It will be a lot more boatspeed oriented and we’re looking forward to that.”
“The real race starts now,” said Xabi Fernández, the skipper of MAPFRE. “Today we will sail in a couple of days in heavy winds. Everyone will be competitive so we’ll need to go as fast as we can.”
Leg 2 – Position Report – Sunday 5 November (Day 1) – 15:00 UTC
- Dongfeng Race Team — distance to finish – 5 094.2 nautical miles
- Team Brunel +0.2nm
- MAPFRE + 0.6
- Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +0.9
- Vestas 11th Hour Racing +1.6
- Turn the Tide on Plastic +1.8
- team AkzoNobel +1.8
Leg 2 – Position Report – Monday 6 November (Day 2) – 01:00 UTC
- MAPFRE — distance to finish – 4 934.9 nautical miles
- Team Brunel +8.9
- Dongfeng Race Team +11.2
- Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +14.1
- team AkzoNobel +14.8
- Turn the Tide on Plastic +17.6
- Vestas 11th Hour Racing +17.7
WHY? It is a little known fact that Port Elizabeth has been approached TWICE to bid on becoming a stopover for the Volvo Ocean Race – the first attempt was stopped by our local Port Authorities and we await the outcome of the second. The home of Volvo Cars is Gothenburg – the second-largest city in Sweden which is twinned with Nelson Mandela Bay and which has provided incredible support and promotion for our Metropole. MyPE is running a series of articles about the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race to 1. Acknowledge and thank Gothenburg for their support, 2. Showcase a sport that Alan Straton is passionate about, 3. Demonstrate to citizens of Port Elizabeth just how much exposure a city like Cape Town receives from the VOR and 4. As a gentle reminder to the TNPA and our city of the great value that such an event can bring to our city. The start city of the VOR – Alicante, Spain – estimates the economic value of each leg to be R960 Million.
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