Volvo Ocean Race


It's farewell icebergs, welcome to the tropics for leg five
Volvo Ocean Race Overall standings after four legs Place Boat Points 1 illbruck Challenge 29 2 Amer Sports One 22 3 ASSA ABLOY 20 4 Team News Corp 19 5 Team Tyco 18 6 djuice 17 7 Team SEB 12 8 Amer Sports Too 7 Once again the boats have been repaired and refitted, the crews rested and the vital new sails put aboard. Though the Volvo Ocean Race passed mid-distance some time ago, only when the boats reach Miami at the end of leg five will more than half the points have been awarded. Tactically, leg five is unique in that it passes through the tropics and across the western edge of the Doldrums at a time of year when the light winds that plague the race on leg one are at their least fickle. Weather predictions for this leg currently show solid breeze of between five and seven knots all the way through the inter tropical convergence zone but things could change before the fleet arrives. Even if the predictions prove correct, the hot sea surface leads to violent thermal activity with localised squalls. Patches of strong wind are mixed with stretches of light or even windless ocean. Picking a way through this land of snakes and ladders will be vital to success. Indeed mark Rudiger, navigator on Assa Abloy sums up leg five as "all about getting through the Doldrums". News Corp co-skipper Ross field agrees. "We're in the tropics which meansthe wind will come and go and swing around. Each six hourly schedule will be like a mini-race as we track our position against the rest of the fleet." Weather predictions for Sunday's start show the fleet setting off into a north easterly. At least they must be getting used to starting every leg with a good beat by now. Just to add to the fun, the current will also be against them. The big question is how far offshore to sail.

VISITORS