Volvo Ocean Race: Fast and Frightening First Night at sea

The relentless firehose conditions of the first night at sea for Leg 2 have moderated somewhat as dawn breaks on the Volvo Ocean Race fleet.

Volvo Ocean Race Leg 2: it was an incredible start to witness, but the relentless winds and sea state made for a miserable life on board.

Sam Greenfield, the On Board Reporter on Turn the Tide on Plastic described it well: “Sun is down now and we’re plowing through story high waves at speeds up to 30 knots. For this happy boat that’s redlining. The crew and the boat are holding up great. The OBR is … welll… It’s a game just to stay sat in the media desk chair without being thrown into the bulkhead that separates me and the nav station. Hell of a core workout. So much noise. So wet…”

To be honest it’s really hard. In the 3 legs I sailed last race we never came close to these conditions. Saw some crazy things today. A wave threw Bianca off the stack and into the cockpit while she was clipped in. So much water that her pfd exploded. There she was trapped on her back in the cockpit, stuck by her tether taking hundreds of gallons of water to the face. It was scary to watch. Liz got to her quickly and sorted her out.

Watch the Volvo Ocean Race Leg 2 Start from the best seat in the house – the helicopter!


Fortunately, the fleet appears to have come through the first night well, and conditions are moderating somewhat.

Wind speed is in the 20-25 knot range and boat speeds just over 20 knots.

MAPFRE and Dongfeng Race Team have pride of place on the leaderboard this morning, but the rankings can be somewhat misleading.

The goal for these first days is to choose the right place to cross the upcoming doldrums. Historically, the further west, the quicker the passage. But the leaderboard rewards southerly progress.

So MAPFRE, first to gybe, and furthest south, is our nominal leader this morning. but it’s entirely possible that Vestas 11th Hour Racing, furthest west, is in a tactically stronger position.

It will take a few more days to sort it out, but in the meantime, take the tracker rankings with a grain a salt.

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