Leg starts on:
21 June 2018
This is the last, and the shortest leg of the race at just 1,700 miles. It will start from Gothenburg on Sweden’s west coast on 21 June and race south through the North Sea to The Hague. A mark has also been added off the Danish city of Aarhus, giving sailing fans an opportunity to see the boats in action, and up close and personal, as they complete the final sprint.
What will make the difference?
Weather: It’s Northern Europe and it’s the summer, so this is less about climate and all about weather. The fleet could get anything from a slow crawl south in light winds, to an upwind slog in 35 knots.
Land effects: Once again, the racing will take place close to the shore, and the daily cycle of heating and cooling of the land and its attendant sea breezes and night breezes will be important. As will the impact of headlands and valleys, as they distort the clean wind flow. And of course, no one wants to hit the bottom.
The Tides: The tide flows strongly up the English Channel, flowing in from the west to the east for six hours, then back out again from east to west. While the tide flows into the North Sea from the north – around the top of Scotland – and so it ebbs from the south to the north. The two inbound flooding tides meet in the North Sea, and that will create some complexity that will be important on this leg, as they will have to sail through it. A good tidal chart should reveal all however...
Sea state: The North Sea is notoriously shallow, and that means it cuts up real ugly when it’s windy. If it blows hard then this leg could be as uncomfortable as any of those out in open ocean.
The 'fly-by': A mark has been added off the Danish city of Aarhus where the fleet will complete a 'fly-by' offering a one-off view of the race for the Danish public. Denmark has a long and rich history with the Volvo Ocean Race, twenty-five Danish sailors have competed in the race to date and two teams have raced under the Danish flag – SAS Baia Viking in 1985-86 and Team Vestas Wind in 2014-15.
And then it’s all over bar the shouting?
The Dutch are legendary offshore sailors, right back to Conny van Rietschoten – the original ‘Dutch Flyer’ and the only skipper to win back-to-back Volvo Ocean Race/Whitbread trophies. So you can expect an incredible welcome for the fleet in The Hague, especially if home sailors are winning...