Warning: Randomness ahead

Published on January 19th, 2015

The Malacca Strait is the treacherous gateway to south-east Asia, and the route the Volvo Ocean Race must transit to reach the Leg 3 finish line in Sanya, China. Currents, fickle winds, shipping traffic, and an assortment of debris and fishing obstacles plague the 600 nm path.

“You can’t underestimate how light and weird the next couple days will be,” explained Anderson Reggio, who provides shoreside navigation support for Alvimedica. “Getting stuck under a cloud will remain a hazard – there are lots of clouds, shifts, and randomness ahead. In the short term it is all about banking miles towards the goal when you can, and trying to stay between your opponent and the hoop. Simple strategy to employ in the most challenging strait in the world!”

Alvimedica Navigator Will Oxley has used the slow crossing of the Bay of Bengal to do extra preparation for the Malacca Strait. “I have been poring over electronic and paper charts, sailing directions, historical notes and current information in preparation for the Strait of Malacca. It’s a tricky place to sail at the best of times and it pays to be prepared, even accepting there is always an element of randomness about success in the Straits.”

Oxley has the memory of the 2011-12 race to also rely on. “I did not have a good time in the Strait in the last Volvo Ocean Race on board Camper. At one stage we had strong currents against us and no wind, and we were forced to anchor wind waiting for a sea breeze. At the same time the leaders sailed away further offshore! I really hope my preparation will help us do better this time. Fingers crossed!”

Ocean racing at its finest!

Background: The fleet is now on Leg 3 from Abu Dhabi, UAE to Sanya, China (4,642 nm), which started Jan. 3 with an ETA on or after Jan. 25. 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.

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