It’s officially Day 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, and teams are around one fifth (18%) of the way through the first leg of the around the world race. Although this may not sound like much, teams have actually travelled over 1100 nautical miles already! There are 7 teams in the race, and we detail the current top 3 in this article.
1st: Dongfeng Race Team
The Dongfeng Race Team is led by Frenchman Charles Caudrelier, who works as a merchant navy officer by day and raced in the previous Volvo Ocean Race’s winning team, and also in other competitive sailing events such as the the ORMA 60 multihull World Championship.
Despite many of the teams members not previously having taken part in the Volvo Ocean Race, the team is so far proving to run a tight ship (pardon the terrible pun) and despite their disappointing in-port race result, looks to be a serious contender for this year’s winning team.
2nd: Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing
Led by Cambridge graduate and Southampton native, Ian Walker, who also has two Olympic silver medals, and has completed two America’s Cup races and two Volvo Ocean Races, the Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing team is a force to be reckoned with.
The team made its debut in the last edition of the Volvo Ocean Race in 2011 and managed to bag wins in three of the nine Volvo Ocean Race in-port races, and in Leg 7, in a treacherous transatlantic crossing from Miami to Lisbon.
They have already bagged second place in the first in-port race, putting them in good stead for the current open sea leg.
Íker Martínez, Spanish native and Olympic sailing veteran, who together with teammate Xabi Fernandez has gained 2 Olympic medals in the 49er World Championships, captains the race’s home Spanish team.
The team is new to this year’s race, although a number of its participants have taken part in previous editions of the race, with Martínez having raced in the 2009 edition’s 3rd placed team.
They also came 3rd in the inaugural in-port race in Alicante, equipping them well for what lies ahead in this current treacherous ocean leg.
An explanation of the new points system
In previous editions of the race, a so called ‘high points system’ was used, whereby teams were awarded a higher number of points, the better their final position in each leg and in-port race.
For example if a team finished first out of seven teams in an in-port race they would receive 7 points, with the second team being awarded 6 points and so on.
This was further complicated by the rule that ocean legs were worth 5 times as much as an in port race, all in all making points scoring rather confusing.
This year however, a new low points system has been introduced, whereby in contrast to previous editions of the race, the objective is to achieve as few points as possible, with the first team to finish achieving one point, the second two points etc.
The race’s organisers have also done away with this dichotomy of weighting, with ocean legs and in-port races now being worth the same number of points, although these are now counted separately to the former, and not included in the total number of points for each team.
This new system coupled with the new one-design Volvo Ocean 65, has made the race far more egalitarian and easy to understand.