There's about a thousand miles to go for front runner ABN1 until the end of leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race. The reaching in steady trade winds which Black Betty so likes has gone, replaced by fluky winds that give the chasing boats a chance. But still Mike Sanderson is hanging on to about a 30 - 40 mile lead over Movistar.
Behind a big gap has opened up, with another 90 miles to Pirates, which has finally broken free of Brazil which is now battling it out with Ericsson. And then at the back is ABN2, nearly 300 miles behind her sister ship.
There might be only a few days to go but the weather is so variable that it is hard to predict routes and strategy, other than using the short term tactic of maximising VMG. The figure above (from here) shows the forecast 30 hours out and along the line to Baltimore there is wind from pretty much every direction. Looks like another nail biting finish.
But I shall miss it as off to the Solent to ease into the season with a gentle cruise between Portsmouth and Poole. Easterlies to get us there, westerlies to bring us back, and a big fat book to read on the way.
See you all Monday.
Graphic from stormsurf