SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Weekly Highlights N°4
Leg 1 of Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015 is coming to a close. After more than 20 days of tough sailing, the fleet is less than 1500 miles to Cape Town and will arrive before the end of the week.
The fleet rounded Fernando de Noronha, the last compulsory waypoint before heading into the South Atlantic.
The half-way stage reached, it was time to hook south avoiding the graveyard conditions of the St Helena High and hunt down the legendary low-pressure weather systems that will power the fleet east into Cape Town.
This first leg has been longer than expected, for some food supplies were starting to run low. With only 24 days worth of food on board the need to ration meant portions were getting smaller.
So big decisions faced the fleet - how long must they continue their southerly trek avoiding the high pressure before safely turning their bows east, and making their dash towards the Cape Town finish.
As the fleet ploughed south, Volvo Race Control reported a deadly hazard ahead, a 200-metre iceberg sitting directly in their path. Without hesitation an exclusion zone was put in place, for the fleet an unexpected course correction.
After 20 days on the ocean the fleet were still racing as a pack as they encountered the legendary roaring 40s. With the boats recording speeds of up to 24 knots, the battle for first position was on with Dongfeng Race Team, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Team Vestas Wind and Team Brunel all exchanging positions, less than 20 miles between them.
Fast but uncomfortable, the roaring 40s are a hard place to be. Cold weather, big waves and wind speeds of up to 30 knots, a huge contrast to the situation only one week before.
So with the fleet due over the next few days anticipation is building in Cape Town. The Race Village is alive, and ready to give what will be a warm South African reception to the 7 boats and 66 sailors of the Volvo Ocean Race.