’70 per cent rebuild, in half the time’| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

Most of Team Vestas Wind crew members have been reunited in Bergamo, Italy, at the Persico shipyard where the rebuilt process progresses swiftly and on a very tight schedule to make it possible for the boat to be in Lisbon, ready to join in for the last legs of the Volvo Ocean Race (see full story below).

– Vestas Wind shore chief Cox amazed by Persico rebuild

– But schedule is still tight to return Danish boat to race

– Follow the progress of Team Vestas Wind here

ALICANTE, Spain, April 30 – Most of Team Vestas Wind crew members have been reunited in Bergamo, Italy, at the Persico shipyard where the rebuilt process progresses swiftly and on a very tight schedule to make it possible for the boat to be in Lisbon, ready to join in for the last legs of the Volvo Ocean Race

The shed at Persico Marine in Bergamo, Italy, is bustling with activity with dozens of people working on the different parts of the re-born Vestas Wind boat and, with most the team now reunited on site, the final works and preparations have even been pushed forward.

With less than one month to go to the Lisbon stopover, the schedule is tighter than ever – another race against time since the blue boat crashed on a coral reef in the Indian Ocean on November 29 during Leg 2.

“We managed to build 70% of the boat in half of the time that would normally be needed.” explained shore manager Neil Cox.

“The hull is totally new, 60% of the internal structures have been replaced, while we managed to keep some 70% of the original deck. The deck was the only part that hasn’t been produced here, but at Multipast in France.”

The boat was deconstructed piece by piece before the real re-built process could begin, with the help of a highly specialised team of up to 24 people coming from all over the world, working in shifts.

“It’s incredible how much you discover by doing that. It’s a really tough and reliable boat.” said Cox, who explained that possibly the hardest part was to adhere to the Volvo Ocean 65’s strict one-design rule.

Persico Marine’s project manager, Matteo Bisio, confirmed that the one design concept has been key all along the process, with him working in the closest co-operation with class measurer James Dadd and every piece measured, weighed and verified.

Bisio stressed that the rebuilt was “a massive challenge” for the company to accept. “From the very beginning, we believed we could make it or we wouldn’t have agreed. We are very proud to have contributed to get Vestas Wind back in the race,” he said.

Now, with the hull and deck joined together, the paint work ready to start, the focus is on the equipment: electronics, engine, hydraulics, deck hardware, everything new or recovered has to be re-mounted on Vestas Wind with the help of the crew members and staff from the different suppliers.

Skipper Chris Nicholson confirmed that what has been done so far represents a huge achievement. “Everyone has done a fantastic job, showed total dedication to the project. I must also thank Persico. I don’t think many other shipyards would have accepted to face such a huge challenge,” he said.

The team aims to be ready to leave Italy on time to reach their number one objective: being on the Leg 8 starting line in Lisbon on June 7.

Nicholson knows that his team has been racing a completely different kind of race. “Sure, it’s an entirely different spirit, but it’s in the Volvo Ocean Race’s DNA, adversities are part of this event and of offshore sailing and one has to cope with them.” said Nicholson, who confirmed that the plan is to announce the name of the new navigator during the Newport stopover.

The trip from Northern Italy to Lisbon could take as long as seven days and the possibility of having the boat transported by ferry to Spain is being evaluated.

“The new mast and the bulb will be awaiting for us in Portugal, then we’ll have three or four days on the cradle to fit all the remaining parts, do the necessary tests and hopefully be ready for sailing a couple of days before the Lisbon in-port race.” said Cox.

via ’70 per cent rebuild, in half the time’| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.



via Thewaitinggame|VolvoOceanRace2014-2015.

‘A cone of possibilities’ | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

The Volvo Ocean Race finally headed for the ‘homeward’ stretch after crossing the Equator for the fourth and final time on Tuesday – but there was no room to celebrate with a major decision facing all the boats in the next 24 hours (full story below).- Fleet crosses the Equator for final time- Big routing decision facing navigators – Follow what they opt to do on our great AppALICANTE, Spain, April 28 – The Volvo Ocean Race finally headed for the ‘homeward’ stretch after crossing the Equator for the fourth and final time on Tuesday – but there was no room to celebrate with a major decision facing all the boats in the next 24 hours.The fleet still has a long way to go before the race reaches its climax in the final week of June in Gothenburg, Sweden, having set out on the 38,739-nautical mile (nm), nine-month marathon back in Alicante, Spain, on October 11.But it has made its farewells to the Southern Hemisphere for the final time in this edition, with all six boats tightly bunched as they entered the north Atlantic with just under 3,000nm still to race in Leg 6 before arriving in Newport, Rhode Island, USA, around May 7.Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) held a narrow lead of 4.1nm from Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) with overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) and Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) still very much in contention (see panel above).The fleet is heading for an area of light winds before entering what official race meteorologist, Gonzalo Infante (ESP), described as a ‘cone of possibilities and decisions’.Each skipper and his navigator will need to decide whether east or west – or something in between – is the best direction and stick to that course. “It’s like arriving at a junction and having a variety of decisions about which road to take,” Infante explained.“After they take an option, that route will not intersect with the others until they reach Newport. Mind you, it could be that they all take the same route.”Meanwhile, several sailors were taking stock of passing the Equator and, effectively, completing a navigation of the globe – although this round-the-world race still has to take in its only North American stop in Newport before re-crossing the Atlantic and taking on its European ‘tour’ of Portugal (Lisbon), France (Lorient), The Netherlands (The Hague) and, finally, Sweden (Gothenburg).“This is not a race to the Equator, but crossing the Equator for the last time is a part of our trip around the world,” said Team SCA skipper, Sam Davies, who is enjoying probably her best leg to date.“My objective is to do really well in this race and particularly this leg. Having crossed the Atlantic more times than I remember, when we crossed last night I couldn’t help but feel a bit more at ease. I’m back in my territory, the north Atlantic.“For the race, it’s not a big milestone, but for me personally, I’m happy to be back here.”Abu Dhabi Ocean Race skipper, Ian Walker, felt similarly.“To circumnavigate the world by ocean puts you in an exclusive group of seafarers and one which the whole crew is proud to be a part of,” the twice-Olympic silver medallist from Britain said.“Returning to the north marks a change of pace for the race. From now on the legs become rapid-fire; they get shorter and quicker and there’s a lot at stake before the race ends in Sweden. Forty five per cent of the points are ahead of us.”MAPFRE, however, were still cursing their luck after running under clouds over the past 24 hours, which sucked away wind pressure and slowed the boat.“There’s some separation in the fleet and it depends on if you have luck or not with the cloud you catch, whether you gain or lose ground,” said navigator, Jean-Luc Nélias (FRA), on Tuesday.“From yesterday, for us it’s been more loss than gain, but we will see further down the line whether the others also catch the wrong kind of cloud.”

via ‘A cone of possibilities’ | Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.

No room for complacency| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), fully recovered from the trauma of breaking their mast on the last leg, narrowly led the chase to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Monday (full story below).

– Skipper Caudrelier feels the stress at head of fleet

– MAPFRE and Team Brunel keep up the pressure

– Follow all the ups and down of the race on our App

ALICANTE, Spain, April 27 – Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), fully recovered from the trauma of breaking their mast on the last leg, narrowly led the chase to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Monday.

There was no room for the slightest complacency on the Chinese boat, with MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) hot on their heels just 4.6 nautical miles (nm) astern, and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) a further two nautical miles behind.

Even Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), so determined to win the 5,010nm stage from Itajaí, Brazil, to their home port of Newport, were far from out of contention.

Although in last place of the six boats, they were only 23.3 miles adrift of the leaders (see panel above). Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) and overall race leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), were also handily positioned, 19.5nm and 19.7nm respectively behind Dongfeng Race Team.

For Caudrelier the tension only continues to grow. After surprising most by sharing the points lead with the Emirati boat after four legs, they were forced to limp to Argentina and safety after fracturing the top of their mast 200nm from Cape Horn during Leg 5.

There was no option, but to replace their rig with only a couple of days to spare before the Team Vestas Wind Itajaí In-Port Race and the Chinese team’s skipper was concerned that the rig had not been fully tuned before starting Leg 6 on April 19.

If he were worried that Dongfeng would have lost the boat speed that posed such a threat to their competitors earlier in the race, then so far those fears have proved groundless.

Francisco Vignale, Onboard Reporter for MAPFRE, was trying to work out at the weekend how Caudrelier’s crew were extracting such pace from their identical, one-design Volvo Ocean 65.

“Dongfeng is sailing so fast that the team have been taking around half mile on each watch (every four hours),” he wrote. “All of this is a bit desperate and frustrating since we do not know why and how they always have that extra speed. Is it the mast? Do they have a new mainsail?”

Caudrelier sounded like a man who would love to know the secret himself. In a recent blog from his boat he wrote: “The wind is very light and unstable and each of the boats has good and bad phases. It’s hard on the nerves, no gain is ever for keeps.

“This Volvo Ocean Race is really something else. The move to a one-design boat has changed the race and made it even tougher. The permanent contact with our competitors is tiring and stressful.”

The fleet is expected to reach Newport from May 6-8 after around 17-19 days of sailing from Brazil through the Atlantic.

Over the next few days, they are likely to be pushed along by a two-knot current behind them, giving the entire fleet an ‘escalator’ effect.

After this leg, they have three more stages to negotiate, finally completing the 38,739nm, nine-month offshore marathon in the last week of June in Gothenburg, Sweden.

via No room for complacency| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.

Heading the race for home| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

American Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), who are dreaming of winning the Volvo Ocean Race’s sixth leg to their home port of Newport, Rhode Island, USA, snatched a narrow lead on Friday (full story below).

– Team Alvimedica snatch narrow Leg 6 lead

– Women fix winch breakage on Team SCA

– Follow all the latest news on our App

ALICANTE, Spain, April 24 – American Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), who are dreaming of winning the Volvo Ocean Race’s sixth leg to their home port of Newport, Rhode Island, USA, snatched a narrow lead on Friday.

The 5,010-nautical mile (nm) stage from Itajaí, Brazil, to Newport could not be more finely balanced as, once again, the six boats are incredibly closely matched in the Atlantic as they headed from South to North America.

After leaving a windless Itajaí on Sunday, overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), have had their noses narrowly in front for a large part, but the rest of the fleet have been no more than 10nm adrift for much of that time.

With some squally conditions and shifting winds as the boats progressed away from the Brazilian coast, the fleet finally showed some sign of separation – but it is still anyone’s leg to win, with more than 4,000nm to sail.

Enright’s crew overtook the Emirati boat early on Friday (0940 UTC) and claimed a slim lead of 8nm with Chinese challengers Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) some 3.5nm further behind (see panel above).

Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), who had concerns about their key fractional code zero (FRO) sail before the leg and then broke a winch, threatened briefly to take the lead themselves on Thursday before falling back.

Onboard reporter Corinna Halloran (USA) explained that there was plenty of work to be done after the team discovered their portside runner winch housing had cracked.

“We are currently fixing the cracked winch. However, the repair will not be ideal and still might cause trouble,” she wrote in a daily blog from the boat.

“The odds of that happening are pretty much a billion to one,” added British crew member Abby Ehler.

That particular winch takes up to 10 tonnes of load as the runner helps to hold up the rig.

The women’s boat, however, was still very well placed in fourth with Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) to their their stern, and MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) currently bringing up the rear, 14.5nm behind the leaders.

The latest projections are that the fleet will arrive in Newport between May 6-8 after 17-19 days of sailing.

Abu Dhabi Ocean moved seven points clear at the top after winning Leg 5, but there are still just under half of the overall points up for grabs with four stages, including the current one, to race before the climax in Gothenburg in the last week of June.

via Heading the race for home| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.

Seasonal maintenance: Standing rigging | Yachting News Report | The Business of Boat Ownership and Marina Berths

It’s easy to assume that carefully tuning a yacht’s standing rigging is solely the preserve of racers that are trying to extract every inch of performance from their vessels. However, proper rig tune is also an important factor in ensuring the strength and reliability of the mast of cruising yachts.

A frequent misunderstanding between owners and boatyards means that on restepping the mast the yard often only tightens up the rig enough to support it at the dock, assuming a rigger will be engaged to complete the job. If, however, the owner has assumed the yard has tuned the rig, the likelihood is that the rigging will be both slack and ill adjusted.

When sailing to windward in a moderate wind there needs to be a little residual tension in the leeward shrouds.

This may partially explain why a huge number of cruising boats have the lee shrouds slack when sailing to windward. The problem with this are two fold: firstly, the movement of the rigging can cause fatigue, increasing the possibility of failure of a key component.

In addition, rigs with swept-back spreaders rely on a degree of tension in the lee shrouds to prevent the rig from rotating around the end of the windward spreader. This explains why boats with in-line spreaders are less sensitive to poor rig adjustment.

How much tension is enough? With the boat fully powered up going to windward in a moderate breeze the lee shrouds should retain a small amount of tension. If not, start by increasing the tension in the cap shrouds on the lee side by a couple of turns of the bottlescrew, then tack and do the same with the opposite side.

Once the cap shrouds are the correct tension, sight up the mainsail track on the aft face of the mast, with one eye as close to the spar as possible – you should see the mast is perfectly straight athwartships. If the centre of the spar sags away to leeward, then the windward lower shrouds or intermediate shrouds (D1s and D2s) are too slack, and vice versa. If in doubt it’s safer to err towards lower and intermediate shrouds being marginally slack than too tight.

Adjust the tension in the lee shrouds, then tack and do the same on the opposite side of the rig.

Having achieved good tune with full sail, check the rig is also okay when reefed in stronger winds.

While the rig should ideally be in column athwartships, it’s important to have some fore and aft bend and the mast must never be allowed to develop a ‘negative’ bend, where the centre of the spar is abaft of the masthead.

If you have any doubt about achieving the correct tuning and tension of the rig on your boat, don’t delay in employing a professional rigger to check that the rig is properly and safely set up.



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Seasonal maintenance: Standing rigging

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via Seasonal maintenance: Standing rigging | Yachting News Report | The Business of Boat Ownership and Marina Berths.

2018 Golden Globe Race – Yachts and Yachting Online

Stepping back to the golden age of solo sailing

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first solo non-stop circumnavigation under sail achieved by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston during the 1968/9 Sunday Times Golden Globe Yacht Race, a new Golden Globe Race is set to start from Falmouth UK on June 14, 2018 – the same day that Knox-Johnston set out on his epic voyage 50 years before.

The announcement today is significant, marking the 46th anniversary of Robin’s victorious return to Falmouth in 1969, as the sole finisher in the original Sunday Times event.

The 2018 Golden Globe Race is very simple. Depart Falmouth, England, sail solo, non-stop around the world via the five Great Capes and return to Falmouth. Entrants are restricted to using the same type of yachts and equipment that were available to Sir Robin in that first race. That means sailing without modern technology or benefit of satellite based navigation aids. Competitors must sail in production boats between 32ft and 36ft overall (9.75 – 10.97m) designed prior to 1988 with a full-length keel with rudder attached to their trailing edge, similar in concept to Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili.

Australian adventurer Don McIntyre, founder of this 2018 Race says: “The overriding aim is for a race where adventure takes precedence over winning at all costs; one where sailing skill and traditional seamanship, rather than modern technology and outside support, gets you round, and where the achievement truly belongs to the skipper.”

McIntyre who completed his first solo circumnavigation in 1991 and more recently retraced Capt. Bligh’s Bounty Boat voyage from Tonga to Kupang, West Timor in a similar open boat with minimal rations. He intends to compete in the Race with his Tradewind 35 Betty, one of 13 traditional production yacht types approved for this race.

Another entrant is British yachtsman and adventurer Chris Jacks from Liverpool. Last Autumn, he climbed the summits of 92 Wainwright mountains within 40 days – equivalent to climbing Mount Everest twice.

Two more sailors, one from Australia, the other from Germany, have so far expressed keen interest to compete and are currently finalising their plans. The 2018 Race is limited to a maximum of 20 entrants.

The challenge is pure and very raw for those who ‘dare’, just as it was for Sir Robin, navigating with sextant on paper charts, without electronic instruments or autopilots.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston says: “I’m a great believer in the freedom of the individual. I think this race is a great idea, giving an opportunity for those who want to do something special with their lives. You can enter this race in an ordinary seaworthy boat and know that success will be down to personal drive and determination, and not to the biggest budget. I intend to be at the start with Suhaili to celebrate this anniversary and expect to be joined by two other yachts that competed in the original Sunday Times Race.”

Robin Knox-Johnston aboard Suhaili at the finish of the 1968 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race – photo © Bill Rowntree / PPL

A prize purse of £75,000 has been budgeted for the 2018 Golden Globe Race, and all who finish before 15:25hrs on 22nd April 2019 (the anniversary of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s finish) will receive a Suhaili trophy and a refund of their entry fee.

View historic pictures from the 1968/9 Sunday Times Golden Globe Race here

View examples of production yachts type-approved for the Golden Globe Race here

For preliminary information and details of how to enter, visit www.goldengloberace.com

via 2018 Golden Globe Race – Yachts and Yachting Online.

Thirsty work for Dongfeng crew| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) face more bad luck as their electric water-maker stops working after less than 48 hours of Leg 6 (full story below).

– Dongfeng Race Team resort to emergency water-maker

– After nearly 48 hours, the fleet is less than 4nm apart

– Follow their progress all the way on our App

ALICANTE, Spain, April 21 – They’ve been back on the water for less than 48 hours since leaving Itajaí, Brazil – but the 5,010-nautical mile (nm) Leg 6 race to Newport, Rhode Island is already taking its toll on Dongfeng Race Team.

The Chinese boat, skippered by Charles Caudrelier (FRA), was forced to suspend racing in Leg 5 due to a damaged mast.

And, before its crew has even had a chance to adjust back into offshore life, bad luck is threatening to derail their race once again.

“Today, the casing on our electric water-maker sprung a fatal leak,” explains Onboard Reporter Sam Greenfield (USA).

Skipper Caudrelier, holding the membrane tube, believes that he has identified the problem. “We opened it, and on the high pressure side there is no seal,” he says.

“But there’s a seal on the low pressure side. We can see that there is a crack – that’s why the water is coming outside of the seal.”

It means that the sailors have been forced to resort to an emergency, hand-powered back up – a manual water-maker, which requires constant pumping to produce drinkable water.

But it’s far from an ideal solution for the team, which finds itself around 160nm southeast of Cabo Frio, and still has almost three weeks of sailing to do before it reaches the North American destination.

“It requires some 35 litres of water and it takes 15 minutes to produce a single litre,” adds Greenfield.

“By the time I cap a bottle, my arms are burning and my mouth is dry.”

With their onboard menu consisting almost solely of freeze-dried food, which must be rehydrated in order to be edible, the potential seriousness of this latest set back should not be underestimated.

“Let’s do some maths,” Greenfield continues. “Three to four bottles are required alone to make a freeze-dried meal. The guys eat three meals a day. There are nine of us onboard.

“Each of us can ‘survive’ on a single bottle of water a day. That’s 18 bottles, so 4.5 hours of pumping per day just to get by.”

And that’s a conservative estimate, according to Dongfeng Race Team Shore Manager, Graham Tourell. “No water-maker is a major problem,” he explains.

He skippered the boat as it motored under jury rig from Ushuaia, Argentina to Itajaí, Brazil to be fitted with a new mast at the end of Leg 5.

He estimates that, in reality, the sailors ‘may need to pump for eight to nine hours per day to make enough water.’

After all, they are under almost constant physical stress, and subjected to the elements, they require much higher levels of hydration than a regular person.

And the frustration brought on by the setback is already playing mind games with the thirsty sailors.

“It’s funny how, once you lose access to something as simple as drinkable water in the Atlantic Ocean, you start to notice all the water you can’t drink,” adds Greenfield.

Neil Graham, Technical Director of Dongfeng Race Team, remains optimistic. “They know what the problem is,” he says.

“We’re waiting for confirmation from the boat but Kevin (Escoffier/FRA) should have attempted a repair on the membrane pressure vessel.

“The plan was to apply some glue and then wrap the end of the vessel, where the leak is, in carbon fibre laminate, to seal it.”

In the meantime, despite its onboard issues, the Chinese boat is still managing to keep pace with the rest of the fleet.

At the 0940 UTC position report on Day 2, Caudrelier’s crew is in fifth place, but just 1.3nm separates it from leading boat, MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP).

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) make up the boats in between – and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) are in sixth place, 3.7nm behind the leaders.

The boats are forecast to arrive in Newport for North America’s only stopover between May 6-9, after 17-20 days of sailing.

via Thirsty work for Dongfeng crew| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.

Spanish eyes are smiling| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) put a difficult week behind them to snatch the early lead on the 5,010-nautical mile (nm) Leg 6 from Itajaí, Brazil, to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Monday (full story below).

– MAPFRE head fleet out of Brazil

– Once again, six boats are bunched up

– Follow their progress all the way on our App

ITAJAÍ, Brazil, April 20 – MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) put a difficult week behind them to snatch the early lead on the 5,010-nautical mile (nm) Leg 6 from Itajaí to Newport, Rhode Island on Monday.

The Spanish team had two points added to their score (low scoring event) by the independent ISAF jury on Thursday for a rules infringement (read here), and then the crew had concerns about their mast, which they feared was damaged during the treacherous previous leg.

However, their shore team worked alongside the race’s Boatyard staff all night on Friday so that a 100 per cent checked rig was ready for Saturday’s Team Vestas Wind Itajaí In-Port Race won by Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED).

MAPFRE, under skipper Fernández, finished fifth in near windless conditions and were forced to battle similar challenges the following day as the fleet left Itajaí after a hugely successful stopover.

By 1240 UTC on Monday, the boats had progressed no more than 135nm up the eastern coast of Brazil through a choppy Atlantic seaway, with no more than 5.2nm separating first from sixth (see panel).

Nevertheless, Fernández will be happy to be back at the front of the fleet, having followed their Leg 4 win with a second place in the next stage from Auckland to Itajaí.

Onboard reporter, Francisco Vignale (ARG), explained that the light wind conditions had given the crew an unusually easy start to the leg in many ways, despite the challenge of finding gusts to propel the boat along.

“Sometimes at the start of a leg, the whole crew remains active until late in the night, but yesterday two hours into the leg we realised we were ready and started to stick to the watch systems,” he wrote in his daily blog.

“The wind was very shifty and it helped us position ourselves perfectly against Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA), which was on our bow, so we could lead on the way out of Brazil.”

The Turkish/American boat was ideally placed, just 1.5nm to MAPFRE’s stern with overall race leaders, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), 0.2nm further adrift, and Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR) and Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA), tucked in just behind.

The boats are forecast to arrive in Newport for North America’s only stopover between May 6-9, after 17-20 days of sailing.

Although Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing boast a seven-point lead at the top of the standings, there is still 45 per cent of the points to sail for after five out of nine legs.

via Spanish eyes are smiling| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.

No hurry to leave!| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015

The Volvo Ocean Race fleet bid a lingering farewell after a successful stopover in Itajaí with an almost total lack of wind ensuring a go-slow departure for Leg 6 to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Sunday (full story here).

– Team Alvimedica head the long haul to Newport

– Start line setback for race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing

– Follow all the Leg 6 action as it happens on our App

ITAJAÍ, Brazil, April 19 – The Volvo Ocean Race fleet bid a lingering farewell after a successful stopover in Itajaí with an almost total lack of wind ensuring a go-slow departure for Leg 6 to Newport, Rhode Island, USA, on Sunday.

After watching the six boats drift in frustratingly super-light conditions in the south-east Brazilian port for nearly an hour, the Race Committee cut its losses and ruled that the fleet could sail into the open seas by drastically shortening the opening in-port lap.

Some 270,000 spectators have visited the Itajaí race village since the Leg 5 winners, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR), arrived here on April 5.

There were approaching 50,000 more for the departure of Leg 6, a 5,010-nautical mile stage, and the sailors appeared to be in no hurry to leave an electric atmosphere.

Team Alvimedica (Charlie Enright/USA) are the team with arguably the biggest desire to win the leg into their home port and they duly had the honour of leading the fleet out of Itajaí with barely three to five knots of boat speed.

MAPFRE (Xabi Fernández/ESP) were their closest pursuers followed by overall race leaders Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Team SCA (Sam Davies/GBR), Dongfeng Race Team (Charles Caudrelier/FRA) and Team Brunel (Bouwe Bekking/NED) in that order.

Walker and his crew, who head the leaderboard by seven points after Dongfeng failed to complete Leg 5 because of a broken mast, had a miserable start as they found themselves on the wrong side of the starting line and had to turn around in slow motion before setting off.

Once the fleet escapes the immediate shortage of breeze in almost Doldrums conditions, the fleet should find appreciably more wind up the Brazilian coast through the Atlantic.

The leg is unlikely to match the previous stage’s treacherous conditions through the Southern Ocean and south Atlantic, but there are still plenty of challenges to test the fleet to the full.

Light winds, however, could still hamper them along the way.

The boats are expected to take around 17-20 days to reach Newport, the seventh port to host the race.

via No hurry to leave!| Volvo Ocean Race 2014-2015.