VOR 2014-15 Leg 9: Lorient to Gothenburg Underway
Team Brunel leads out fleet in race to Gothenburg via The Hague
LORIENT, France, June 16, 2015 – On Tuesday, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet set off for Gothenburg, 960 nautical miles away from Lorient, via The Hague, in perfect sailing conditions today with Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) leading the chase to reach the Dutch pit stop first.
© Ricardo Pinto / Volvo Ocean Race
There was drama from the very first seconds with Leg 8 winners, Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), and Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) both finding themselves on the wrong side of the line at the start and were forced back to cross for a second time.
Team Brunel stormed away to the perfect start and led the fleet out of Lorient after five laps around the port.
While watching the Leg 9 Start, a woman's leg was seriously injured in an accident on the water involving a trimaran and a marshal rib. We are awaiting news on her condition.
Team Brunel, like three other boats, have podium positions to sail for in this final leg to Sweden after more than eight months at sea, despite Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) already having the overall title virtually sewn up with an unassailable eight-point lead.
Team Brunel is currently in second place on 27 points after eight legs, two clear of Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier), and four ahead of MAPFRE (Iker Martínez/ESP). All have the chance of finishing in second if the last leg results go their way and even fifth-placed Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) on 33 points could sneak in to grab the runners-up spot if they end up as leg winners and their rivals finish down the field.
As Ian Walker put it, meanwhile, his tactics on board Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing are pretty simple on a stage which is full of exclusion zones, avoiding a busy shipping route skirted by rocks: “Don’t hit any rocks and avoid breaking any rules.”
June 17 Leg Update - Slow going for fleet
It was slow going for the Volvo Ocean Race fleet after leaving Lorient, France yesterday, as the teams fought strong tides on this sprint leg to the pit-stop in The Hague, Netherlands. Light northerly winds and strong currents early today held boat speeds in check – as low as three to four knots during one stretch mid-morning.
Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), who made a bold move to split from the pack and keep close inshore, was caught in a strong adverse current and no wind at all as they rounded the Pointe du Raz.
The rest of the seven-boat fleet initially headed further west in search of stronger breeze, but later converged on the coast of France.
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing’s Matt Knighton/USA noted that the currents were taking on a life of their own. “We’ve been slammed, spun, knocked over and pushed backwards, but never before has it felt like there’s a monster beneath the waves tugging the hull whichever way it wants.”
Positions as of 6/17 UTC. Click here for updated positions.
The teams should be able to shift gears into overdrive later this afternoon, as they head east towards the Western Approaches. The northwesterly winds will become westerlies early tonight, increasing to 15-22 knots.
The estimated time of arrival remains between 1400 UTC on Thursday and 0500 UTC on Friday morning.
The boats will be precisely timed as they pass the interim line in Scheveningen, near The Hague, on Friday. No points will be awarded for how they finish there.
From 1200 local time onwards the following day, they will depart for Gothenburg with whatever advantage or deficit they took into the pit stop on their rivals.
They are expected to arrive in Gothenburg on Monday (June 22), or, possibly the following day.
The nine-month, 38,739nm, marathon event will finally come to a halt in the famous maritime Swedish city on Saturday, June 27, with the Inmarsat In-Port Race Gothenburg.