Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Leaders VolvoOceanRace passed Cape Horn

Cape Horn is an isolated, empty rock far away from the where people live a comfortable live. Still this Cape indicates for most sailors a kind of releave from the normally harsh sailing conditions in the Southern Ocean, not that the Atlantic cannot be threatening , but still....

Yesterday in a period of 1.5 hrs, the 4 leading Boats , Alvimedica, AbuDhabi, Maphre and Brunel passed Cape Horn and now sailing in the Atlantic.
Dongfeng broke the top of their mast the night before and has to seek shelter via the Beagle channel in Ushuiai, and has to consider what to do next.
SCA has lost thier Fractional Code 0, FR0, the most important sail in the conditions they "enjoy" in the approach to Cape Horn and are loosing pace with the front runners, on top of that a storm front is approaching them that will bring heavy winds and large waves.

Still , this VOR 2014-15 shows far less damages to the Boats as the former VOR, where 5 out of 6 boats had heavy structural damage and needed some repairs before sailing on to Itajai. The VO65 Boat looks a lot better seaworthy than the fragile VO70 boats.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Dancing on the right side of the Ice-Gate

As expected, the real Sailing conditions for a VolvoOceanRace have come. In the Southern Pacific, strong winds from fast moving Easterly depressions with the accompanying state of waves are the elements that the VolvoOceanRace new VO65 Boats are sailing in.
Departing from Auckland some days delayed because of the strong Cyclone PAM, the Boats lost contact with Pam, but other depressions (weaker and without a name ) came and helped the Boats sail fast to the East. Some days back there were the Northerly and Southerly options open. All boats choose the southerly one, while me in my virtual boat in LiveSkipper, choose the northerly one. Over the last 3 days, I sailed the same easterly distance as the VOR boats in the last 4 days; only my problem will come if I can not find the winds that help me go South to round Cape Horn. See the daily progress in the TAB Progress Map above.

VOR route in Leg 5 forced by Ice-Gate
The Ice-Gate, a very long one this leg and in a very much Northerly latitude, is there to prevent collisions with Ice-bergs; it is no fun to collide with a Boatspeed of 20+ kts against a big Ice-berg. This has prevented the Boats to sail a most of the time favorite southerly route; west of the Ice-gate the Boats sailed also a higher altitude though.

image of fleet: 1 Brunel,2AbuDhabi,3Maphre,4Alvimedica,5Dongfeng,6SCA, just North of the Ice-Gate

Brunel had (again) build a nice lead, but with some gybes in between the depressions, lost that and now 3 Boats are  compressed within a distance of just 1.1 Nm.[26 March, 07:00 gmt]. Dongfeng has lost contact with the front 4 boats and SCA had some damage after their Chinese gybe, which might have contributed to their 100+ Nm backdrop.

Ahead is a tricky wind situation, and with the leaders that close several boats can be first to round Cape Horn. After Cape Horn, there again will wait a challenging route to Itajai, as the winds East of Argentina can be variable, strong or weak and depending on the St.Helena High come from the North or South.
So by no means, will be first boat to pass Cape Horn, be the boat to take the Leg 5 Victory!

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Skippers in the VolvoOceanRace grow one day younger.

The Boats in the VolvoOceanRace have left the New Zealand waters and are now sailing in the Open Waters of the  Pacific. Not hindered by landmasses, apart from a tiny island here and there, they now can choose their own strategically fastest route to Cape Horn, the next target. 

Today all VOR Skippers will grow 1 day younger, as they pass the date-line on longitude 180, where the East coordinates switch to the West coordinates and the date is decreased by one. Read on this phenomena in the book: Around the World in Eighty Days (Jules Verne), and the adventures of Phileas Fogg.

Normally the best is to sail as far South as possible, as the distance to the Cape Horn will be less; check it out by the orthodromic circle: the shortest distance between 2 points on our globe.

However, it will depend also on the ice-gate, put by the VOR organisation to prevent accidents with growlers and ice-bergs and of course some depressions. Normally depressions with high winds move from West to East and if you can hook one  a fast tow will bring you some advantage.

Do follow the progress of the fleet in my daily updates progress chart, see also TAB above.

For some insight in the strategics do read the blog from Mark Chisnell. 

Monday, 16 March 2015

Ladies take the Victory in Auckland, NZ.

SCA, the all Ladies Sailing Team, have won the In-Port Sailing Race in Auckland. CONGRATULATIONS!
This was already their 2nd win in an In-Port Race, the most of all Teams.

SCA wins Auckland In-Port Race
SCA has a good start, but Maphre as well, only SCA choose a better route in the 1st leg, such they were leading the fleet at the first turning mark. From there it was a run race for SCA as none of the competition came close enough for a passage. Only Team Brunel, came close to them under the bridge, but were never a real threat for the 2nd Victory of SCA in an In-Port race.

Lets  hope this will give some boost to the ladies that helps to improve on the results in the next Legs as well.

Big Q. now is: When will Leg 5, from Auckland to Itajai, actually start?

The original start date, 15th March, is postponed because of the cat. 5 Cylone PAM that has devastated the Vanuatu islands and now on its way to close east of Auckland. The present thoughts are that a start could be possible between earliest Tuesday evening till Wednesday midday , local time.

Keep an eye on my blog, as I will try to stay alert to warn you, or check out the VOR website.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

VolvoOceanRace to Start Auckland In-Port Race on Saturday

After some days of rest for the crew and no doubt some maintenance for the Sailing Boats, this Saturday 14th March at 01:00 UTC (14:00 local) the Auckland In-Port race will start.

Parcours for Auckland In-Port Race
As before, You can watch the I-P race live on the internet, via the VOR website or Youtube, VOR channel.

If the timing is not convenient for you, than later you can watch it as well, see the link in my Video page (TAB above)

A day later, [due to a cyclone developing the start of Leg 5 is postponed, possible to Monday 1th 01:00 UTC or even later] the VOR fleet will start the Leg 5 from Auckland to Itajai, Brazil. A new post will give you some more information on that one.

Please be aware that you can apart from following the VO65 Boats, also actively participate in the VOR race in several Virtual Sailing site, e.g. LiveSkipper, VR