Volvo Ocean Race. The Parking Lot is Behind Them

MAPFRE at sunset without wind.
Photo by Ugo Fonolla/Volvo Ocean Race

by Richard Crockett

The past 3 days of flappy sails and glassy seas have been torture for the fleet as the light conditions frustrated progress and the intense heat sapped all energy from the crews bodies. Used to sailing hundreds of nautical miles per day, they were reduced to about 100nm in a 24 hour period.

But overnight things have changed and the fleet is once again on the move, moving at 10+ knots.

For these three days the crews have been solely focussed on getting north as quickly as possible to enable them to lock into the consistent trade winds that will fire them towards Hong Kong.

“It’s hot and slow,” said Jens Dolmer, boat captain on second-placed Team Brunel. “It’s been frustrating – we’ve done under 100 miles in 24 hours. During the day it’s very, very hot with no breeze at all. It saps your energy completely.”

Asked to describe the current situation, Dolmer’s crewmate Sally Barkow needed just one word. “Torture,” she replied.