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|
|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!