Ocean Drag Race

Boat speed contest as Volvo Ocean Race boats head for Barbuda

Wednesday March 20th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: Transoceanic
Positions at 1000
PS Yacht Latitude Longitude DTF DTL DTL-C SMG CMG
1 Illbruck 11 22.24N 053 21.68W 1775 0 0 14.2 310
2 Assa Abloy 11 17.52N 053 09.76W 1787 12 1 14 313
3 Tyco 11 07.68N 053 12.44W 1791 16 2 13.9 305
4 SEB 10 08.28N 051 49.40W 1892 117 3 13.7 311
5 Amer One 09 51.36N 051 14.12W 1930 155 3 13.8 305
6 News Corp 09 32.68N 050 52.04W 1959 184 3 13.8 305
7 Amer Too 09 22.80N 050 51.56W 1965 190 5 13.3 313
8 djuice 08 37.44N 050 24.24W 2015 240 5 13.6 306

Forecast for 22 March

The drag race up to Barbuda on the corner of the Caribbean chain continues. Crossing the Doldrums there was a 200 mile split between News Corp to the north east and SEB to the south west, but now the boats are out of the Doldrums the fleet have gone back more or less into a single lane as they file north west at speed.

All the teams are now out of the Doldrums and powering along in the stable Trade Winds which are blowing at around 20 knots from the east to north east. As a result all are power reaching - regularly clocking up 14-15 knot average speeds, their boats fully cranked up under genniker, full main and will full water ballast pumped up to weather. Anything that is not nailed down - but mainly sails, spares and crew - is stacked up on the starboard side of their boats to order to get the maximum stability and therefore speed out of their craft.

Compared to the Doldrums or the Southern Ocean this stage of the race is relatively relaxing for the crews. Aside from the occasional sail change to respond to changing wind strengths, there are few manoeuvres to be done and few tactical options in these conditions - it all quite simply about sailing as fast as possible.

Yesterday Amer Sports Too lost a place to News Corp which they will be keen to regain. On board their watermaker has packed up and they are having to operate the hand pump, which tends to lose the pumper more in sweat than it gains in water.

One for the girls...'gorgeous' Gordon Macguire at the helm of News Corp

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