Volvo Ocean Race 2014 – 15 – New opportunities for the chasing pack may open up for the next 24 hours as the fleet approaches the first of a high-pressure ridge ahead.
The leader, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel are all showing lighter conditions of around 10 knots of wind. Crossovers and crucial sail changes are coming into play as the leaders change up onto their A3 big kites.
Just 75 nautical miles back, Team SCA is enjoying winds in the mid teens sailing at 14 knots – they do have a good chance to catch up.
Seaweed continues to be an issue, dogging the fleet and even causing boats to involuntary broach, as huge clumps of Sargasso Weed collects on the rudder and forces it to jam. Ragging sails and broaching out is the last thing that the teams expected during this idyllic section of the leg. It’s been a very frustrating situation.
Team SCA’s watch leader Carolijn Brouwer is so frustrated she says she can only laugh now as there is just way too much of it to keep getting upset each time they catch another clump.
The fleet is passing 150nm to the east of Antigua and Barbuda, a favourite place for sailors all round the world. This is about as close to the Caribbean the fleet will get.
The wind is still slowly backing southeast and dropping, allowing the fleet to make some direct miles north before gybing sometime tomorrow. The exact moment when they gybe will of course be closely monitored on the boats on AIS.