VOR Update: Heading into a Tropical Depression

Published on November 27th, 2014

The weather forecast experts at PredictWind provide this Volvo Ocean Race update on the conditions facing the fleet.

(November 27, 2014; Day 9) – At present, all teams are relatively close together and are heading north, with the weather routing showing the fastest course to the east coast of Mauritius. There is a tropical depression 500nm to the North East of Mauritus, with squally weather 250 NM from the centre. The weather models are showing winds averaging 28 knots with gusts of 40 knots.

The teams will need to navigate themselves through the tropical depression, avoiding the centre where there is a lack of wind. Tropical cyclones are always difficult to predict the exact intensity and movement, and the squally weather around the depression makes this even tougher. Picking the best route will be challenging for all teams with big gains and losses.

As they head further north the teams will face the Doldrums of the Indian Ocean. They will arrive in the Doldrum this Tuesday (Dec. 2). These Doldrums differ quite a lot from the Doldrums found in the Atlantic Ocean, as they are created by the convergence between the southeasterly trade winds and the northwest monsoons, coming together from opposite directions. The challenge in the Doldrums is to get through areas of large cumulus clouds, producing rain and fickle breezes.

Once the teams pass the Doldrums, they will have a long sail up to the Gulf in northeasterly monsoon winds. The monsoon will then start to lose strength and the teams will then face a transition area in light and often-changing winds. More on this next week!

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Background: The 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race began in Alicante, Spain on Oct. 11 with the final finish on June 27 in Gothenburg, Sweden. Racing the new one design Volvo Ocean 65, seven teams will be scoring points in 9 offshore legs to determine the overall Volvo Ocean Race winner. Additionally, the teams will compete in 10 In-Port races at each stopover for a separate competition – the Volvo Ocean Race In-Port Series. The second offshore leg from Cape Town, SA to Abu Dhabi, UAE is 6,125 nm, started Nov. 19 with an ETA of Dec. 9-16.

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