CARDIFF (#1033) – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet is on its way toward mainland Europe, although it wasn’t in any hurry to get out of Cardiff due to light wind and an adverse current at the start of the penultimate Leg 10. Once the seven boats were under way, overall race leader Dongfeng Race Team (CHN) had a slight lead over MAPFRE (ESP) and Team Brunel (NED). Coincidentally, MAPFRE and Team Brunel are right behind Dongfeng Race Team on the tightly bunched leaderboard.
However, late Monday evening (UTC) the VOR Tracker continues to show a see-saw battle between the top five teams who are within two miles of the leader-of-the-moment, AkzoNobel.
The yachts had a slow start to Leg 10 because a high-pressure system brought breeze to Cardiff on Sunday afternoon. With nearly no wind at the scheduled 1500 UTC start time, the Race Committee pushed a short postponement to allow the tide to turn, so the strong tidal flow would assist in pushing the fleet out to sea.
The inshore portion of the race start was also cancelled in an effort to get the fleet out of the Bristol Channel before the tide turned again on Sunday evening and the boats would have to fight the current to clear the channel.
MAPFRE led across the starting line, with Team Brunel, Vestas 11th Hour Racing (USA-DEN), team AkzoNobel (NED) and Dongfeng Race Team alongside them.
Both SHK/Scallywag (HK) and Turn the Tide on Plastic (UN) found themselves too close to the start line with the current pushing them over early. As they maneuvered to get room to start on time, Scallywag was penalized for not keeping clear of Turn the Tide on Plastic and needed to offload a penalty turn, putting them at the back of the fleet.
Once the winds kick in, Leg 10 is a 1,300 nautical mile sprint around Ireland and Scotland and down into the North Sea to Gothenburg, Sweden.
The results of this leg could be critical in determining the overall winner. Skipper Charles Caudrelier’s Dongfeng Race Team leads Xabi Fernandez’s MAPFRE by just one point, with Bouwe Bekking’s Team Brunel a further two points back.
“We are happy with our position and excited about the next leg,” Caudrelier said before leaving the dock.
Said Fernandez: “The team is confident and we just have to sail the best we can. We trust the crew and the boat is fast… Hopefully we start well and enjoy a good coastal race.”
The pace is expected to pick up and the ETA into Gothenburg is Thursday night and into Friday.
The start in Cardiffof Leg 10 of the Volvo Ocean Race. Photo: Jesus Renedo/Volvo Ocean Race.