SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
It's a Doldrums lottery! Team Brunel, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Vestas Wind racing out the ITCZ*
- Western vs. Eastern Route and the pack in the middle
ALICANTE, Spain, October 22 – Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Team Brunel emerged as the clear winners from the great Doldrums lottery to take a firm grip on Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race on Wednesday.
While the rest of the seven-strong fleet were left some 90 miles plus in their wake, searching for the gusts which would finally propel them back into contention, skippers Ian Walker (GBR-Abu Dhabi) and Bouwe Bekking (NED-Team Brunel) were powering clear towards the island of Fernando.
Over on the other side of the fleet, Team Vestas Wind has also broken through the worst of the Intertropical Convergence Zone* (the Doldrums), and interestingly find themselves in almost identical conditions to two leading teams 170nm the other side of the pack, although skipper Chris Nicholson would admit that they've had a far more difficult time of it.
The Volvo Ocean Race fleet still have just over half the 3,947 nautical miles to complete the opening leg between Alicante and Cape Town but the experienced pair already look to have made this a two-boat sprint to the finish come the first week of November.
On the other hand, as all the boats have already discovered, fortunes can swiftly change in the Volvo Ocean Race.
Around 1300 (UTC) on Wednesday, Abu Dhabi held a thin, 7.6 nautical mile lead over the Dutch boat with Team Vestas Wind leading the chasing pack 86.4 miles behind with Dongfeng Race Team just behind them.
Team Alvimedica, MAPFRE and Team SCA were some 25 miles further adrift, tussling for the minor positions.
For Team SCA's British navigator Libby Greenhalgh, it was a particularly frustrating night after the women closed a large gap on the rest of the fleet of around 75 miles by Tuesday only to fall back again once they too hit the Doldrums.
ETA to the Equator: October 23rd, 2014 - between 3-8pm (CEST)