Volvo Ocean Race, Southern Ocean delivers on promise
Thursday, December 14, 2017 8:46 AM
The first Southern Ocean storm brought steady 30-35 knot winds with Dongfeng Race Team recording a gust as high as 53 knots last night.
The associated sea state made life extremely difficult on board.
But for all that, the fleet has crossed the worst of the storm in relatively good shape.
"Big grins all round," tweeted Dee Caffari on the Crew Communicator at 5:15 am UTC this morning. "Warm, dry and safe down South! Now let's go faster."
To be clear, the fleet is not out of the pressure yet. Wind is still in the 25 to 35 knot range, but sailing in daylight makes it easier.
"Now it is daylight and we still have gusts and big waves but there is something about the light making it feel not as bad," Caffari noted.
On the race course, Vestas 11th Hour Racing was hoping to convert its northerly option into a lead by sailing a faster angle and slipping in front of the leaders. But the geometry didn't work, although the team has consolidated a thrid place position.
Ahead, MAPRFE in second place and Dongfeng, positioned furthest to the south, continue to set the standard.
Thursday will be a long grind - strong winds and for the leaders, plenty of gybes along the southern boundary of the race course, the Ice Exclusion Zone. The work is only just beginning.