Volvo Ocean Race: Describing the path to Newport

Published on April 16th, 2015

On Sunday April 19, the Volvo Ocean Race will depart from Itajaí, Brazil bound for Newport, Rhode Island. This will be the first time that the Volvo Ocean Race fleet has visited this picturesque port on the east coast of the United States. As the sixth of nine offshore legs, this 5,010-mile route is expected to provide a mix of variables…

“This leg is a bit less extreme than the leg to Itajaí,” says Team Brunel’s navigator Andrew Cape. “The winds won’t be as strong and the temperature will be a bit higher. It’s not the first time that we’ve sailed from Brazil to America, so we more or less know what to expect.”

The first half of the race will be along the Brazilian coast, a section of the South Atlantic the teams sailed through during the first leg from Spain to South Africa.

“After the start, it’s a wise idea to catch the south-east trade wind as quickly as possible,” explains Cape. “As it looks at the moment, we’ll be sailing on a beam reach along the coast of Brazil towards the Equator. Along the way you meet the South Atlantic High, a permanent area of high pressure in the South Atlantic. Around the Equator, we’ll be sailing into the doldrums for the fourth time in this race.”

The doldrums, or Intertropical Convergence Zone, is known for its high temperatures, heavy rainstorms and calms. However, the band is relatively thin to the west, which will be where the fleet will intersect the region.

“After passing the doldrums, we’ll be sailing in the northern hemisphere again for the first time in six months and catching the stable north-east trade wind,” continues Cape. “The risk of unstable weather will increase after the island of Bermuda and we’ll have to cope with strong ocean currents, low-pressure areas and the westerly winds.”

The arrival time in Newport is estimated to be on May 6.

Source: Team Brunel

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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 sixth leg, from Itajaí, Brazil to Newport, USA (5,010 nm), begins April 19 with an ETA of May 6.

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