Nagel and Team AkzoNobel on course for first-leg victory
Emily Nagel and her Team AkzoNobel team-mates remained on course for their first-leg win in the Volvo Ocean Race yesterday.
The Dutch syndicate protected their lead of the six-boat fleet on leg six of the race around the world from Hong Kong to Auckland, New Zealand, over nearest rivals Scallywag and Mapfre, the overall leaders.
“Hopefully we can maintain the little lead we have,” Simeon Tienpont, the Team AkzoNobel skipper, told Volvooceanrace.com.
“In the last leg we had, at one stage, over 100 miles on Brunel and in the doldrums they came up to 2.5 miles on our stern, so it will be hard-focused sailing. But we're good at it and as long as we do what we did last leg, I'm confident.”
Nagel is making her debut in the Volvo Ocean Race and is the first Bermudian to compete in the event.
The naval architect has not competed with her team-mates aboard their 65-foot one-design racing yacht since bruising her back during a mishap on the third leg of the race from Cape Town, South Africa, to Melbourne, Australia.
Team AkzoNobel led the fleet at the start of leg six in Hong Kong harbour. But they were pegged back after experiencing difficulty changing their headsail in strong winds and tacking into a hole off of the East Coast of Taiwan.
However, they overcame these setbacks and regained pole position with their strategy to turn south east towards Auckland earlier than the main group of boats to their east.
“We knew there were plenty of opportunities to get back in touch with the leaders because this leg is packed with transitions from one weather system to the next,” said Justin Ferris, the Team AkzoNobel helmsman and sail trimmer.
“Finally, the weather came right for us and we've managed to pop out in front of the others again.”
Team AkzoNobel are sixth in the Volvo Ocean Race standings and fourth in the In-Port series.
They earned their first podium display after finishing third in leg four of the race from Melbourne, Australia, to Hong Kong that was marred by a collision involving rivals Vestas 11th Hour Racing and a fishing boat that left one crewman on the non-racing vessel dead.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing have missed the last two legs while their boat is being repaired.
The racing fleet is expected to arrive at the finish line in Auckland between February 25 and 27.