Saturday, May 13, 2006

Volvo's Coming Home

Out in the Atlantic the boats of the Volvo Ocean Race are racing towards old blighty and the port where the race began, back when it was known as the Whitbread.

Much has changed since the days when yachts would disappear into the wide ocean with contact lost for weeks on end - not least the civilised glass of wine with the evening meal.

Now the crew are racing in high powered super yachts that can fly at 40 knots, notching up 500 miles in every 24 hours, making this 3,000 mile leg 7 potentially a seven day sprint.

The direct great circle course above can be seen to arc high past Newfoundland, and the VOR organisers had the option of putting in an ice gate. However they have not (yet) done so, as the weather routing suggest the boats will break to the east at a much lower latitude.

The figure below shows the forecast for 24 hours out. A big low sits square across the fleet's path, and all of those who don't want another upwind battle after the Leg 6 pounding (i.e. all) will be ducking below.

After that is the well trod path up the Channel when navigation becomes as much about tides as wind, till finally Portsmouth, original home of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Figure from

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