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Southern Spars - North Technology

Torture for Team Brunel in Doldrums in Volvo Ocean Race Leg 4

by Team Brunel 10 Jan 14:14 PST
Team Brunel with Dolmer – Volvo Ocean Race Leg 4 © Yann Riou / Volvo Ocean Race

Despite the fact that Team Brunel is currently in a second place on the west side of the fleet. The Doldrums are a torture for the sailors.

With just over 3.000 nautical miles to the finish in Hong Kong the fleet is preparing for a restart in Leg 4.

Torture
“It’s hot and slow.” according to Jens Dolmer. “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.” Dolmers new crewmate on board Team Brunel, Sally Barkow just needed one word to describe the whole situation: “Torture.”

It’s not always what it looks
The nature of the Doldrums has led the teams behind made gains to the rest of the fleet. The tracker is now placing the more westerly boats to the top of the ranking, due to their technically shorter route to Hong Kong. But the experts expect the trade winds lying 250 miles north to be the highway into Hong Kong.

Opportunities
Bouwe Bekking: “We’re actually very close to the leaders. They are about ten miles away but the opportunities are there. Hopefully, we could somehow sneak around them but they are in a strong position. The northeast trades are coming from ahead but hopefully, we can catch up with them before that and sailing with them in the same waters. Because if they catch the breeze earlier than us nine or ten miles can become easily 100 or 150 miles.”

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