Thursday, February 23, 2012

Volvo Fleet Go In Search Of Breeze - Volvo Ocean Race Update

There was short-lived euphoria last night when, for the first time in weeks, some fast downwind sailing was enjoyed and the six Volvo Open 70s were able to show what they are made of shortly after rounding the southern tip of Taiwan.
Photo: Yann Roui/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
As the fleet shot north in the fresh breeze, the order changed constantly as the fleet headed away from the waypoint used to calculate distance to the finish in Auckland.

At 1000 UTC today, the fleet was back on the wind in unstable conditions edging north in a breeze that is expected to veer very fast from northwest to northeast in the next 12 hours.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
“We’re hoping we only need to go north for another 60 miles,” said Will Oxley, navigator on board CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand (Chris Nicholson/AUS). Oxley said light winds to the south of the fleet blocked their path towards Auckland and instead they were forced to sail away from their goal in search of favourable northerly breeze.
Photo: Hamish Hooper/Camper ETNZ/Volvo Ocean Race
“We are currently heading north towards Japan,” Oxley added. “This doesn’t seem quite right, but apparently this is the quickest way to get to New Zealand. It is somewhat comforting that the entire fleet has followed suit.
Photo: Yann Roui/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
“It’s a bit like sailing the north Atlantic on Leg 1 where everyone with the exception of Groupama 4 (Franck Cammas/FRA) ended up going west, waiting for an opportunity for the trades to establish. On this leg we know being east is generally better in the Pacific and there are no trades right now, so we’re using the opportunity to stay in the breeze.”
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
Unfortunately, that means more upwind sailing, heading away from Auckland, which does not produce a clear picture of the leaderboard at this stage. At the 1000 UTC position report Mike Sanderson’s Team Sanya topped the leaderboard due to their position furthest to the south, closest to the finish.
Photo: Yann Roui/Groupama Sailing Team/Volvo Ocean Race
The earlier respite from the upwind sailing allowed the crews to briefly dry out their gear and air the boat. Appetites returned as the sea state reduced, although there is some chance of a confused sea in the north where conditions are still influenced by the Kuroshio Current running against the wind.
Photo: Diego Fructuoso/Team Telefonica/Volvo Ocean Race
Wind conditions for the fleet remain variable this morning. Speeds vary hugely from PUMA’s Mar Mostro (Ken Read/USA) averaging 11.2 knots in the far north, to Team Telefónica (Iker Martínez/ESP) further south averaging less than seven. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing (Ian Walker/GBR) were the fastest boat in the fleet averaging 13 knots.
Leg 4
23/02/2012 10:03:20 UTC
Volvo Ocean Race Media

1 comment:

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