(June 9, 2015; Day 3) – If there is one place on earth where the Volvo Ocean Race can capture the imagery to cement their “Life at the Extreme” brand, it is along the Costa da Morte, translated as the ‘Coast of Death’.
The region, which extends from the Spanish villages of Muros and Malpica, received its name because of the many shipwrecks along its treacherous rocky shore, courtesy of the Atlantic Ocean for which it is fully exposed.
And per the Hollywood script, once the fleet got around the lighthouse at Cape Finisterre, it was game on.
“It quickly rose to over 30 knots,” described SCA crew Sophie Ciszek. “It was actually pretty gnarly. The sea state is really bad, the waves are out of control. We are trying to keep the boat moving at about 11 knots, but primarily just trying to keep it under control and in one piece. It’s just not nice out there.”
With the wind from the northeast, SCA, Vestas Wind, Alvimedica, and Dongfeng extended north on starboard tack, while MAPRE, Abu Dhabi, and Donfeng tacked to port toward the shore. The split grew to 50 nm before the coastal teams finally left the shoreline on starboard to join the others into the famous mosh pit known as the Bay of Biscay.
At the latest report, all teams were now on port tack, with the next big question to be if the wind follows the forecast, which is expecting for it to clock to the right. With MAPRE to leeward and nose out, this could be their play.
As for overall leader Abu Dhabi, they are positioned between their closest rivals, Brunel and Dongfeng, who are tied and just six points off the lead.
“The overall standings are all everyone is thinking about onboard,” admitted Matt Knighton on Abu Dhabi. “How close are we to possibly winning the race? Though no one is talking about it, the truth is gleaned in a passing whisper.”
What Abu Dhabi doesn’t know is how Brunel damaged their J2 headsail, their weapon of choice if the wind gets lighter. When you are choosing who to cover, radio silence is a bitch.
Leg 8 (647 nm) Position Report (as of 21:39 UTC)
1. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 305.2 nm Distance to Finish
2. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS) 10.0 nm Distance to Lead
3. MAPFRE, Iker Martínez (ESP), 15.2 nm DTL
4. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 15.6 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 16.3 nm DTL
6. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 18.6 nm DTL
7. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 18.8 nm DTL