The VOR fleet is currently struggling to make head way in the light winds off Rio
The fifth leg of the VOR race has started from Rio de Janiero. In the light conditions, the fleet was taken on a course straight out of the Bay with the first turning mark set approximately four miles from the starting line.
Ten to 12 knots of breeze on the nose meant an upwind start for the fleet, and the huge raft of spectator boats was kept back from the start area by a fleet of Brazilian Navy patrol boats.
At the start signal, the fleet split with Amer Sports One leading the fleet off the line to a clean start. Amer Sports One, Amer Sports Too, djuice and Assa Abloy split to the left, while the rest of the fleet went right, avoiding spectator craft by inches.
Djuice led the fleet through the forts in a breeze now shifting left. Amer Sports One and Too were conducting a tight battle for second place, the ladies on Amer Sports Too having their best start yet. In the middle, in a tight group, were Assa Abloy, illbruck, News Corp and Tyco. SEB was showing a less than sparkling performance in these conditions, bringing up the rear.
Djuice led illbruck past the Sugar Loaf Mountain, where she hoisted her code zero sail, followed swiftly by rest of the fleet. News Corp’s move to the right did not pay off, and she dropped back through the fleet, along with Assa Abloy, and there was chaos as the huge armada of spectator boats got in the way of the fleet.
Djuice continued to lead the fleet round the turning mark, followed by illbruck, Amer Sports One, Amer Sports Too, Tyco, SEB and Assa Abloy just a boat length apart, followed by News Corp.
The wind then dropped completely leaving the fleet wallowing in the wake of the biggest spectator fleet the Volvo Ocean Race has seen so far in this nine-stage event.
Amer Sports Too continued to stay with the leading pack, as they tacked up the shore to avoid the worst of the current with Amer Sports One in the lead, followed by djuice, Tyco, illbruck and Amer Sports Too in a very close fight, the rest of the fleet struggling in the light conditions, hauling their huge code zero sails in on every tack.
The teams now face a frustrating sail towards Cape Frio, further up the coast. This 4,450 leg to Miami, USA, is expected to finish on 27 March.