Blasting south

The trades have filled in and the Doldrums crossing is expected tomorrow for the Volvo Ocean Race leaders

Monday November 14th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and PredictWind.

The drag race south to the Doldrums in the Volvo Ocean Race continues with Puma leading the charge among the westerly boats. Second placed Telefonica has regained a little ground, back up to 7 miles astern from 19 24 hours ago, while Camper has lost nine miles and is now 139 back from the leader.

It looks like the boats have made the call on where they wish to cross the Doldrums and if this is the case then Puma will pass through at around 29°W, where at present the Doldrums have dropped a little further south than when we last looked - from 5°N to 2.5°N - or around 420 miles away still. Given that Puma has covered around 409 miles in the last 24 hours, this means that Ken Read's team will be making the crossing tomorrow afternoon. Further west the Doldrums appear to be further north, between 5-8 °N, which is probably why both Telefonica and Puma have put a bit more left hand down into their courses.

To the north Groupama is licking her wounds. At around 0430 this morning she finally cleared the northwestern side of the Cape Verdes and gybed south. But what a price she has paid. From leading, she is now trailing Puma by 317 miles (compared to 124 miles 24 hours ago).

With the northeasterly trades now filled in across the race course all the boats are on their fastest point of sail, making 18-20 knots. The next roll of the dice will come tomorrow afternoon and into Wednesday with the Doldrums crossing.




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