Volvo Ocean Race: Into the northeasterlies

Puma doubles her lead through superior tactics

Monday April 30th 2012, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Volvo Ocean Race charts courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and GRIB (European model) from PredictWind

Positions at 0655 UTC:

Pos Boat Skipper Lat Lon Spd Crs DTF DTL
1 Puma Ken Read 00 19.030s 042 02.970w 17.8 307 2726.4 0
2 Telefonica Iker Martinez 00 16.050s 041 27.280w 17 294 2751.7 25.4
3 Camper Chris Nicholson 00 17.130s 041 21.870w 16.8 292 2756.6 30.2
4 Abu Dhabi Ian Walker 00 49.050s 041 00.200w 15.4 302 2793.7 67.3
5 Groupama Franck Cammas 01 23.500s 040 28.320w 17.6 313 2840.3 113.9

By the time you read this leg six leader Puma will be back into the northern hemisphere.

With the VO70s gybing up the northeast coast of South America, so the last 24 hours have been tactical and Ken Read's team has done a good job of keeping ahead of the immediate competition. Puma has taken the most extreme tactics and of the boats was the one which sailed closest into the Brazilian coast, gybing away within 10 miles of the coast early yesterday evening (UTC).

Around this time Telefonica came within a whisker of pulling into the lead by virtue of having gybed north earlier. However by being further west, Puma first managed to see a little more breeze than Camper and Telefonica to her east and subsequently a 10° left hand shift and these combined have allowed them to pull out a lead of 25.4 miles, more than double what it was yesterday morning.

This close to the Brazilian coast there doesn't appear to be much in the way of Doldrums so the race has been on to be first to get into the northeasterlies marking the arrival into the northern hemisphere. For the lead trio this has just happened, while bringing up the rear 113 miles astern, Groupama is still in easterlies.

Camper and Telefonica remain locked in their own private match race. Telefónica skipper Iker Martínez explained their present strategy. “To make the most of some strong east to west current, which helps us a lot, almost all of us have gybed to a westerly course”,

Neal McDonald added: “There's the current, as well as other reasons inviting us to gain west while we can and I imagine that we've all got the same plan in mind. I suppose that we'll all move closer into the coast in search of stronger breeze before going back to a starboard tack.”

Navigator Andrew Cape looked ahead: “Long term there looks like there'll be a lot of variation in the weather situation, with the models pointing to a cold front crossing our path in six days or so. All of the teams will be weighing up their chances of victory according to the limited information we've got available, so I'm eagerly awaiting the arrival of every bit of data."



Latest Comments

  • 381394 30/04/2012 - 10:20

    James, we are indebted to you for a decent technical update of events over night. I would recommend the official Volvo site entice you with some folded wedge and get you signed up!

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