It’s Day 24 of the Volvo Ocean Race and Team SCA are nearing the end of the race’s first stage! They will soon be arriving in South Africa’s Cape Town before setting off a week later for Abu Dhabi. At the end of the article is a short video about the team’s skills.
Whilst it has been a tough leg for all teams, the team has really faced some difficult obstacles. On entering the doldrums zone, which is located around the equator, instead of picking up wind as they’d hoped, they were stuck with virtually no wind, making sailing incredibly difficult for a couple of days.
One would think that the journey south would be an easy one, with the expansive Atlantic Ocean lying ahead, with seemingly no land obstacles. Not so, as weather conditions differ greatly depending on the wind currents and areas of high and low pressure. The team headed west towards the coast of Brazil, in order to attempt to ride a low pressure current, but were ultimately unsuccessful, being caught in another low wind area.
In addition, only four of the crew had crossed the equator before, making this a steep learning curve for many of the crew, with many not being used to such difficult and rough weather conditions. The Volvo Ocean Race’s extended nature and extreme competitiveness between teams has also been a challenge for some team members.
However despite these setbacks, they have still managed to keep morale up and come out fighting, with the more experienced members of the team playing a key part in this. Skipper Sam Davies said of the less experienced team members “I can’t help but laugh. The girls who haven’t sailed in the Southern Ocean keep asking me all these questions and I can’t help but remember that’s exactly what I did. I was lucky enough to have a very patient navigator—so I’ve been open to answering the questions.”
Many of the younger team members have compared the conditions of the Southern Sea to those of the North Sea during the Round Britain and Ireland Race, which Team SCA took part in and were subject to high winds, and choppy waves. Carolijn Brouwer, who sailed in the 2002-03 Volvo Ocean Race, said of the Southern Ocean conditions, “I’ve always said that if it was warmer, say 20*C, then everyone would go there. It’s the best sailing conditions I’ve ever experienced.”
By Day 22 of the race, Team SCA had managed to pick up wind again, and were flying along at an average speed of around 20 knots, outpacing many of the other teams. Although as of today they are now cruising at a slower speed of 12 knots, we’re sure the ladies will continue to pick up speed, if not through their perseverance in summoning the wind gods, then through their unfaltering determinedness and incredible sense of positivity.
We’re sure that given the ladies’ already proven ability to persevere no matter what nature throws at them, and their current steady and positive progress, that they’ll be able to close some ground on other teams and finish this leg in two days time with their heads held high.