Abu Dhabi team clings on to Volvo Ocean Race lead
ALICANTE, Spain (AP) — Boats in the seven-strong Volvo Ocean Race fleet were skirting a group of South Atlantic icebergs on Sunday with at least one crew feeling the cold more than most on the opening leg.
Before the start of the race on Oct. 11, the Chinese crew of Dongfeng Race Team opted not to take their full quota of warm weather gear to save precious weight on their boat on the stage from Alicante, Spain to Cape Town.
Unfortunately for them, the weather patterns have taken the fleet far further south in the Atlantic than anticipated, prompting race organizers to impose an ice-exclusion zone.
The crews cannot cross the line designated by race director Jack Lloyd that is designed to keep them clear of some huge icebergs spotted on the race HQ satellite systems.
It is becoming very cold for the teams as they head towards Cape Town, which they are expected to reach after the 6,847-nautical mile trip on Thursday.
“The Dongfeng crew and their skipper Charles Caudrelier decided against packing all their warm weather kit just before leaving because they didn’t think they would need it,” explained race watch producer, Mark Covell.
“That plan has not paid off and now it’s not far above freezing. They’ll have to work extra hard to stay warm.”
Dongfeng are second, just five nautical miles behind long-term race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing with Team Vestas Wind (Denmark) and Team Brunel (Netherlands) within 50 nautical miles. A team from Spain, MAPFRE, and the all-women crew of Team SCA (Sweden) are bringing up the rear, some 300 and 450 miles adrift, respectively.
In total, the fleet will cover 38,739nm over the nine-month offshore marathon, visiting 11 ports. The 12th edition of the event, which was launched in 1973 as the Whitbread Round the World Race, will conclude in Gothenburg, Sweden on June 27.