Volvo Ocean Race: Passing Recife
Positions at 0655 UTC:
|1||Puma||Ken Read||08 14.800s||034 39.120w||11.3||17||3392.1||0|
|2||Camper||Chris Nicholson||08 25.770s||034 36.030w||11.2||17||3403.3||11.2|
|3||Telefonica||Iker Martinez||08 27.150s||034 40.450w||10.8||22||3404.4||12.3|
|4||Abu Dhabi||Ian Walker||08 42.170s||034 44.450w||10.6||22||3418.5||26.4|
|5||Groupama||Franck Cammas||10 02.550s||034 55.500w||13.3||19||3496.4||104.3|
The Volvo Ocean Race boats have done a nice job in taking the lift to get them around the easternmost outcrop of Brazil. At present the fleet are passing Recife, shaving the coast with race leader Puma just 15 miles off the coast.
The last 24 hours has seen a considerable amount of compressioin among the front four. Yesterday morning, the Ian Walker-skippered Abu Dhabi Ocean Race was 42 miles off the pace with second-placed Camper having dropped back to being 20 miles astern of Puma. Early yesterday evening (UTC) Puma fell into a hole allowing the trailing trio to catch up. Late yesterday evening Abu Dhabi had closed to just 17 miles of Puma with Telefonica and Camper neck and neck just 8 miles astern. In the early hours of this morning, Telefonica has moved up to second taking a course between Camper and the shore, but at the latest sched Camper is back into second.
The wind has filled in with around 12 knots from the ESE. The satellite wind radar image for the area shows that the wind should go right even more the further north the boats sail.
Navigators at this stage will be looking ahead at the Doldrums. At present these appear to be minimal with the shift from the southeasteries to the northeasterlies coming at around 1°N, with the northern hemisphere trades filling in properly at around 4-5°N. However a feature of leg 6 finishing in Miami is that once past Recife the course is 318 which would take the boats diagonally across the Doldrums, so it may be that the boats have a little more north in their heading in order to get into the Trades faster as the expense of extra miles.
Further up the course the great circle to the next turning mark at the Bahamas takes the boats to leeward of Guadeloupe and then between the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. However it is likely that the boats will stay to weather of the Caribbean chain to avoid the wind shadows of the various islands.