MAPFRE faced challenges at the beginning of Leg 3 of the Volvo Ocean race this January 2015.
The team first met harsh conditions in Abu Dhabi characterized by intense fog and little wind.
Then came a major challenge while in the coast of Pakistan. The Spaniards noticed how their boat speed decreased and entertained the possibility of having something caught in the keel. “We had to go in reverse twice because we caught something on the keel and the boat was slowing down,” wrote FranVignale. But even after these reverse efforts, they were not yet compliant with the speed of the Spanish VO 65, so they decided that Ñeti Cuervas-Mons, swimmer of the watch, was to jump into the water to confirm that everything was in perfect condition. According to Vignale, “This move entailed much risk at that time as we were going to have a man in the water. There were some waves and over 17 knots of wind. From the moment he entered the water until he came out it felt like an eternity. He said ‘OK’, we were clean. He got onboard the boat safely and we continued sailing.”
MAPFRE was back at one hundred percent by the time the team reached the Arabian Sea but yet again faced another challenge, unstable and light wind, followed by the possibility of wind shadows in the passage of Sri Lanka. MAPFRE focused into winning South and gradually began to recover positions. After a week of sailing the Spaniards were fourth. The wind began to rise and MAPFRE took advantage of this situation to get closer to the leader “Dongfeng”.
MAPFRE now heads towards a feared strait on the passage of Sri Lanka, where there is an area without any wind, 250 nm ahead of them, and they do it in second place.