An almost total lack of breeze was the landscape for the Volvo Ocean Race start of Leg 6, which will take the fleet 5,010nm from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA.
Just as Saturday’s In-Port Race was won almost in slow motion by Team Brunel, so the departure to Newport, Rhode Island, was conducted as if the fleet were sailing through treacle.
Overall Race leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, found themselves OCS at the start, forced to do an about-turn, very slowly because of the complete absence of wind, before finally getting their journey to North America underway. There was some consolation for the Briton and his crew, though – the rest of the fleet was virtually parked up stationary.
After approaching almost an hour of drifting, the Race Committee decided to shorten the inshore buoy course, allowing the fleet to sail out into the open seas from the first mark.
Team Alvimedica, so determined to win this leg into their home port, were first away with MAPFRE on their heels followed by Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Team SCA, Dongfeng Race Team and Team Brunel in that order.
Once they escape the immediate shortage of breeze in almost Doldrums conditions, the fleet should find appreciably more wind up the Brazilian coast through the Atlantic. The boats are expected to take around 17-20 days to reach Newport, the seventh port to host the race.
Leg 6 (5,010 nm) Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 5000.4 nm Distance to Finish
2. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 0.2 nm Distance to Lead
3. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 0.2 nm DTL
4. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 0.7 nm DTL
5. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 1.3 nm DTL
6. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 1.8 nm DTL
7. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), Did not start