Sunday, May 14, 2006

Ignore the Numbers

According to the current standings Brasil has crept into the lead. But don't believe a word of it, as its another of those cases where the shortest distance is not the quickest route. So the great circle used to calculate distance to finish and hence positions is more misleading than helpful.

For the boats of the Volvo Ocean Race are on port tacking heading east to avoid the low that dominates the north Atlantic, not on the great circle path that is nearly north. So ABN1 still heads the pack even if it is officially fifth.

But when was the right time to tack? Each of the boats has made a slightly different choice and it will be interesting to see who gains and falls behind.

So far it seems to be a case of to the winner the spoils, with ABN1 at the real front enjoying stronger 15 knots wind than Movistar still playing catch up in 10 knots. So its good news again for Mike Sanderson and the crew of Black Betty as they bring their victory ever closer. And good news also for Pirates as they fortify their hold on second.

Graphic from Virtual Spectator

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