Welcome to Sail-World.com's Volvo Ocean Race Newsletter for 8 June 2012
Leg 7 of the Volvo Ocean Race ended unusually.
Unusual in that for the last few days of the race, the prognosis from Predictwind had the boats finishing within an hour or two of each other. So unusual was this prediction that we didn't publish it, on the basis that surely something must be wrong – probably operator error.
But as the boats lined up across the Atlantic on that last day – it looked like the finish of a beer-can race, rather than a 3,600nm haul across the Atlantic.
Predictwind was right.
Unusual in that the finish of the race on the River Tagus, at night, and in no wind, is probably not how many imagined such a leg would finish.
The final outcome of the 39,000nm race could well have swung on the roll of the dice in those last few windless, current filled, metres.
When the Volvo Ocean Race started, few were prepared to pick a winner. Now after seven legs are complete that situation hasn't really changed, and the scene is now set for the closest race in the 11 cycle history of the event.
Four boats remain in contention. Maybe some have a little more of an uphill battle than others. But the delicacy of the outcome of the 2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race is probably best explained by the results of Camper, currently sitting in fourth place overall and 22pts off the lead.
Camper has been on the losing end of three very close finishes. Total combined margin on all three is about five minutes. Had the result gone the other way on all three, Camper would be 15pts the richer and would be in second place at this juncture.
The point is that in a fleet that is this closely matched, anything can happen, and the consequences will have a significant impact on the points table, and overall places. From here on, every metre counts.
Generally by now, the Volvo Ocean Race has sorted itself out, and the tactic for the overall leader is very much steady as she goes. But that tactic won't work in June 2012. There are no safe options, and the last two legs will have to be sailed just as hard as the opening stanzas.
If you wish to see Sail-World's complete Volvo OR coverage, go to www.sail-world.com - and click on the Volvo Ocean Race button in the top header bar, you'll see all stories for all regions from this exciting race - all updated as the race unfolds.
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