SOURCE: Volvo Ocean Race
Weekly Highlights N°12
Dongfeng Race Team overtook Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing after 14 hours of racing and the Chinese boat is still leading the fleet.
The first milestone after leaving Abu Dhabi was to pass once more through the Gulf, with tricky conditions and some islands to negotiate.Only 5 miles separated the head of the fleet with the last boat after sailing through the Gulf. The Iranian coast was the first of three exclusion zones in this leg. The fleet were zigzagging along, gybing every 15 minutes at times. Exhausting and very demanding moments for the crews.
Later, the fleet passed along the edge of the exclusion zone and the Pakistan coast before heading southeast. 4 days after the start, Dongfeng was in front and extending its lead. A good start for the Chinese boat on the journey to Sanya.
Sailing in the Arabian Sea is not easy, and sometimes the ocean is not as clean as we think. Anything caught on the rudder or keel hampers the speed of the boat and has to be removed immediately. The fleet was closely bunched together, and the time was fast approaching to take some important strategic decisions ahead of the next week of racing.
There were two options, head offshore or sail close to the Indian coast.None of the fleet was prepared to take a risk, and they all sailed offshore. Dongfeng Race Team was still leading, followed very closely by Team Brunel and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
After passing the Maldives the fleet will have to deal with an area of no wind, and the boats could easily compress. A good opportunity, perhaps, for the chasing pack to catch the leaders and restart the race with 3,000 miles still to go before arriving in Sanya