Please select your home edition
Edition
Jeanneau AUS Sunfast 728x90

Volvo Ocean Race- Puma heads for New Zealand at 20kts plus

by Richard Gladwell on 25 Feb 2012
Team Telefonica during leg 4 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12, from Sanya, China to Auckland, New Zealand. Diego Fructuoso /Team Telefónica/Volvo Ocean Race http://www.volvooceanrace.com

Puma Ocean Racing, the US flagged entry in the Volvo Ocean Race, is blitzing the fleet, sailing at speeds of around 20kts, while her competitors are sailing at 10-12kts.

Worst affected is the leg leader, Camper crewed by Emirates Team NZ, who has been forced to sail the most northerly course of the group, reducing her lead under the on the water snap shot of the boat positions - calculated to a radius from Auckland, New Zealand the destination stopover.

Camper has been sailing on a course of 030, which is a long way from the required course of 160degrees to head for Auckland when she reaches the tradewinds. Her northerly course was the least favourable of the six strong fleet, and will reduce her lead under VOR snapshot. At a later sked she dropped down to a heading of 088 - which is halfway to where she needs to be. Her speed has also increased to over 12kts and she is no longer the slowest boat in the fleet.



The routing feature of Predictwind.com, used by Sail-World to determine the boat positions and leg lead, is similar to that used by the onboard navigators, and sails the boat for the next nine days of available weather towards a selected waypoint.

On that basis Camper holds the narrowest of leads - just 2 minutes after 1870nm of racing using one of the two wind direction and speed feeds used by Predictwind, and 13 minutes using a second wind data feed. She is being chased hard by Groupama, and would seem to be set to lose her lead in the next few hours, unless she can sail a lower course than the French entry.

Groupama is sailing at a course of 070, which is still heading north, but is less severe than she has been sailing over the last couple of hours.


Astern the fleet have closed up on the leaders. Using the Predictwind system in third place is Abu Dhabi less than an hour astern at the waypoint, and another hour covers the other two boats, Sanya and overall leader, Telefonica.

In the next few hours, Predictwind shows that Camper can drop back to a course more favourable for her destination in Auckland, but she may still be plagued by light winds of less than 10knots average. She won't really hit tradewinds of more than 15knots for another three days.



Puma Racing is both sailing the fastest of the six yachts, averaging 19kts on the lowest course, or most favourable direction for New Zealand. However she is only on a heading of 090 and needs to sail a lot lower than that to reach New Zealand.

Puma is not yet in the tradewinds, but is skirting an area of light winds which has bedevilled the fleet for the past few days. By taking the most northerly course of the fleet - heading for Japan rather than New Zealand, she cracked into the stronger breeze a few hours ago, and at a second sked is sailing at speeds of over 21kts. According to the predictions and course options, will hold a very solid breezeline in to the tradewinds.

Whether that strength of breeze and the huge boatspeed edge that Puma has is sufficient to wipe out the lead of the other boats, remains to be seen.


Predictwind's routing function says that Puma will still be four hours off the leaders at the waypoint 1870nm down the track, however given her substantial speed edge, and the fact that she is in a different part of the ocean from her competitors, it is they who will be asked the question over the next few days.

Their task is really to make a decisive escape from the light airs and collapsing winds, or risk being caught by Puma whose current speed edge is worth about 160nm per day. She has pulled 65mn out of the leg leader in the past two skeds.

RS Sailing 660x82Insun - AC ProgramCooper Teamwear 660x82 1

Related Articles

Black Jack Yachting. Bigger boat. Bigger team. Even bigger performance
Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus Throughout the iterations of maxis called Black Jack, a strong, consistent and talented team has been their focus. Some were sail makers, like Skipper Mark Bradford and also Vaughan Prentice from North Sails’ Brisbane loft. Others were riggers, such as Bruce Clarke, and there are even boat builders, like Gary van Lunteren, as well as Ash Deeks.
Posted on 20 Jul
Gladwell's Line - America's Cup returns to its new home and thinking
Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness Emirates Team New Zealand's win in the 35th America's Cup ends 17-years of wandering in the AC wilderness and will open a new era of America's Cup, New Zealand and World Sailing. A rookie crew won the most prestigious trophy in sailing, and one of the most difficult to win in any sport.
Posted on 29 Jun
SuperFoilers Are Go!
SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets SuperFoilers represent many things. Whilst those components are disparate and virtually from different planets in the great scheme of things, they come together in the one form as harmoniously as a Rolls Royce, and also deliver intense energy way past the sum of their parts, just like some amazing band.
Posted on 28 Jun
Poppy takes Australia to her dad who’s afflicted with Parkinson’s
It’s a very sad way to begin such a great voyage. Not that you would know from the ultra-effervescent Poppy Moore... It’s a very sad way to begin such a great voyage. Not that you would know from the ultra-effervescent Poppy Moore, mind you. So the chance to talk with her and learn her tale was fantastic, and she is also the best one to recount it. “I decided to sail around Australia to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s, because my father’s got Parkinson’s
Posted on 5 Jun
Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 - It just works
Every now and then a boat just clicks. It has all the right bits, of the correct dimensions, in the appropriate places Every now and then a boat just clicks. It has all the right bits, of the correct dimensions, in the appropriate places, and out of it all you get something that simply sings. The Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600 is one of these craft. It was designed and built in parallel to the other, more well known versions of the brand’s vessels, and benefits from being more geared towards performance, without going tot
Posted on 23 May
The return to Coffs!
The word is out that the new race to Coffs Harbour is on. The phoenix would run once again in the Christmas timeslot The word is out that the new race to Coffs Harbour is on. The phoenix would run once again in the traditional Christmas timeslot, and also be the much easier to digest 200 or so miles. The ‘new’ race would also be geared towards club racers, so they, and their non-pro crews could be out and back, and almost more importantly, returned to work before anyone missed them. Bring it on...
Posted on 22 May
America's Cup - Southern Spars AC50 build for Emirates Team NZ + Video
The Peter Blake skippered Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map 27 years after Steinlager 2 put Southern Spars on the map with her unequalled clean sweep of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race, Southern Spars were called on to build Emirates Team NZ's America's Cup Challenger. Here's a look behind the scenes at the composite engineering process Southern Spars employ on projects ranging from Volvo OR spars, to Olympic bike wheels to an AC50
Posted on 1 May
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience (Pt.III)
We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance. We’ve looked at what it was like to come into a disaster zone, seen the evidence of those that did the right thing, and how the area is already on the road to recovery. Now we’ll see why patience is the key in the aftermath of her fury.
Posted on 30 Apr
Debbie says the 8thP with Insurance is Patience (Pt.II)
We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance We’re back to keep exploring the nature of TC Debbie and how she came to tell us about the eighth P of insurance. We looked at what it was like to come into a disaster zone and now we see the evidence of those that did the right thing, and how the area is already on the road to recovery.
Posted on 25 Apr
You can almost see it
The windward/leeward is great fun and a real test of your skills. True, it might be hard for the uninitiated to follow The windward/leeward is great fun and a real test of your skills. True, it might be hard for the uninitiated to follow, but then sailing is not the world’s largest spectator sport by any means. Badminton does rate higher, after all. Still, when you’re doing it, you not really worried about little racquets and small, caged up, feathered thingamabobs.
Posted on 24 Apr