Ice limit imposed

Skippers briefed on the Portimão Global Ocean Race's fifth and final leg back across the Atlantic

Wednesday June 3rd 2009, Author: Ollie Dewar, Location: United Kingdom
With the start of the Portimão Global Ocean Race fifth and final leg from Charleston, South Carolina, to Portimão, Portugal, scheduled for 1030 local (1430 UTC) this Thursday, so the skippers were briefed this morning in the Charleston Yacht Club by Race Director, Josh Hall, and Bob Bowden, Race Officer of the Charleston Ocean Racing Association.

On Thursday morning, the boats will be blessed by a local priest at the MegaDock within City Marina at around 0800 local and will leave the dock at 0830 (see full schedule below) and will make their way towards the start line in Charleston Harbour off the Maritime Centre. The start line will be from a flag pole onshore flying an orange flag and a large orange buoy approximately 150 metres east of the flag pole.

One of the major features of the 3,500 mile North Atlantic Leg 5 is the ice limit and scoring gate. With the western end of the ice gate located 360 miles SSE of Newfoundland and 120 due south of the Tail of the Bank – the southern limit of the notoriously tricky Grand Banks area - the limit will greatly reduce the risk of encountering icebergs and berg fragments identified southeast of Newfoundland by the US Coastguard International Ice Patrol.

Running for 520 miles along latitude 41°00N between longitude 50°00W and 40°00W, the ice limit will keep the fleet away from the large number of radar-located bergs at 46°N, although less dense ice has also been identified between 44°N and 46°N (click here for the latest US Coastguard International Ice Patrol alert for the area SE of Newfoundland).

The scoring gate is located halfway along the ice limit at 45°00W, dropping south from the limit for 120 miles to 39°00N. In essence, the ice limit and scoring gate are the reverse of the system implemented by the Race Organisation in Leg 3 from New Zealand to Brazil when the ice limit was employed to keep the fleet from straying south into the strong low pressure systems rolling around the bottom of the planet in the high latitudes of the Southern Ocean and preventing the yachts from straying in to iceberg territory. The Leg 5 ice limit and scoring gate combination will effectively prevent the yachts from straying too far north into the iceberg zone.

Race Day Schedule and start sequence:
0800 Blessing of the boats and skippers by local priest at the MegaDock
0830 Boats begin to leave the dock
1020 Ten minute warning
1025 Five minute warning
1029 One minute warning
1030 Race Start (1430 UTC)

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