Getting ready for the Roaring Forties

Published on October 30th, 2014

(October 30, 2014; Day 20) – The Volvo Ocean Race attracts sailors eager for the challenges of offshore racing, and perhaps seeking an alternative to boat-on-boat buoy racing. But for the crews in this edition, they better appreciate both sides of the coin.

“The shock of how close this one-design racing is has worn off,” admitted Matt Knighton onboard Abu Dhabi. “After the earlier battle down the African coast, it’s not surprising to see one or even two sails keeping pace with you for a very, very long time.”

The leaders today have halted their eastern progress, with the St. Helena High still blocking their path to Cape Town. Their southerly direction in north to northwest winds now has them at 36 degree latitude, which should have them hitting the Roaring Forties by early Friday morning.

“While the sailing is still easy, everyone has been prepping their respective areas: building worklists, checking the rig, the winches, digging out boots, waterproofing, etc,” notes Amory Ross on Team Alvimedica. “We want to be sure that when the winds begin to build we’re as ready as possible, and more ready than the rest. We could see sustained winds of 35 knots so preparation is going to be crucial.”

With the generally slow pace of this leg, another variable on the radar is food. Dongfeng began the leg with 25 bags of food… one bag for each day. They now predict to have 7 days of sailing left, but only 6 bags of food.

“We won’t die of hunger because we do have leftovers from the 19 open bags,” admitted Yann Riou on Dongfeng. “But it won’t contain our favourite meals. Let’s just say we’ll have to wait for Cape Town to enjoy a great dinner.”

Leg 1 Position Report (as of 21:40 UTC)
1. Dongfeng Race Team, Charles Caudrelier (FRA), 2168.6 nm Distance to Finish
2. Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Ian Walker (GBR), 1.2 nm Distance to Lead
3. Team Brunel, Bouwe Bekking (NED), 2.3 nm DTL
4. Team Vestas Wind, Chris Nicholson (AUS), 16.8 nm DTL
5. Team Alvimedica, Charlie Enright (USA), 82.8 nm DTL
6. Mapfre, Iker Martinez (ESP), 243.6 nm DTL
7. Team SCA, Sam Davies (GBR), 279.4 DTL

Race websiteTrackingWatch logVideos

Weather forecast courtesy of PredictWind: While the teams have been forced to skirt along the western edge of the St Helena High in the South Atlantic, they are expected to begin heading East across the top of the Southern Ocean by Friday morning (Oct. 31). With the imposition of the Ice Gate at 42 degrees south, the eastern teams (Donfeng, Brunel, Vestas Wind and Abu Dhabi) are likely to head South East towards the top of the ‘Ice Gate’ and follow its boundary before heading North toward Cape Town. The teams closest to the West (MAPFRE, SCA and Alvimedica) are expected to route above the ‘Ice Gate’ with little change to course. PredictWind has provided forecast graphs through the weekend. Click here to view.

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