Volvo Ocean Race: Lighter day ahead
Volvo Ocean Race charts courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems
Positions at 0716 UTC:
|1||Telefonica||Iker Martinez||42 32.570s||172 16.570w||14.2||159||6180.6||0|
|2||Groupama||Franck Cammas||42 03.420s||172 12.720w||14.8||154||6187.1||6.5|
|3||Puma||Ken Read||42 00.520s||172 16.720w||15||153||6190.9||10.3|
|4||Camper||Chris Nicholson||42 30.400s||172 36.570w||14.8||159||6195.6||15|
|5||Sanya||Mike Sanderson||41 37.770s||172 59.080w||13.5||147||6228.3||47.7|
|6||Abu Dhabi||Ian Walker||37 37.280s||179 50.330w||16.5||224||6616.3||435.7|
The VO70s have been arcing slowly south over the last 24 hours. While most were on a 120-130° heading yesterday morning, so they have gradually eased on to a course of around 150-160° and in turn their speeds have dropped from blast reaching along at more than 20 knots to the mid-teens at the latest sched. With the leaders sailing into lighter conditions so there has also been some compression in the fleet with just 15 miles separating first to fourth compared to 29 yesterday.
In fact the order of the leaderboard is slight misleading with Camper in reality still holding second place but having dropped down the leaderboard due to her shift to the west side of the course.
Although they are now into the Roaring Forties the boats are going to be in for a tricky day with two areas of high pressure merging over the course right ahead of them. The centre of this high is set to move northeast overnight and so the tactics for the boats will be to slip around the southwest side of this in favourable following winds. However the crews are faced with the choice of heading further west (as Camper are doing) and take a wider route around the high in stronger winds but sailing more miles or staying further east sailing less miles but in less breeze. Thankfully the navigators have powerful routing software to help them make this call.
This scenario will be one that allows Abu Dhabi to regain some miles. Today as the leaders have a light day so she will still be in the breeze and even now she is the fastest in the fleet. With the leaders have to make a detour south to get around the high, it looks likely that Abu Dhabi will be able to sail a shorter course.