sail-world.com
 
 
News Home Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Sail-World.com : Volvo Ocean Race crews to face their toughest leg yet
Volvo Ocean Race crews to face their toughest leg yet

'Onboard Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing - Volvo Ocean Race'    Nick Dana/Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing /Volvo Ocean Race    Click Here to view large photo

Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race could be set to produce record breaking high speed sailing as the six boat fleet takes on fierce storms and huge ocean swells on their way from New Zealand to Brazil.

With no more than a week to regroup after finishing the punishing fourth leg from China the teams have had to hustle in Auckland to be ready for what is likely to be their toughest test yet - a daunting Southern Ocean passage around Cape Horn to the Brazilian city of Itajaí.

At 6,705 nautical miles (nm) Leg 5 is the longest of the race and takes the boats into the world’s most remote and inhospitable stretches of open ocean.

On their way to Itajaí the crews will face ocean swells the size of buildings, storm force winds, freezing temperatures as well as taking on Chile’s infamous Cape Horn.

Bordered only in the south by the frozen wastes of Antarctica, the Southern Ocean is characterised by rapidly moving low pressure storm systems that circle the world’s lower latitudes unfettered by major landmasses to slow them down.

Fed by the steep temperature gradient between the Antarctic Ocean and the South Pacific these high intensity weather systems can generate winds up to 60 knots as they tear eastwards.

According to race meteorologist Gonzalo Infante Leg 5’s predominantly broad reaching- downwind sailing conditions could well see a new IWC Schaffhausen Speed Challenge 24 hour distance record set.

'This is going to be a leg for fast downwind sailing,' Infante said. 'Based on data from previous races and current weather models we expect the boats to sailing fast open angles in average winds well over 20 knots. This is the sweet spot for Volvo Open 70s and we could see some huge 24 hour runs.'

However Infante says the highly volatile nature of the Southern Ocean weather will require the teams adopt aggressive navigational strategies on Leg 5.

'The main influence on the weather in this region is the South Pacific sub tropical high pressure system which typically generates strong westerly winds on its southern extremities,' Infante explained.

'When this is the case the strategy on leaving New Zealand is to immediately dig hard to the south to get into the westerly ‘storm track’ as soon as possible for a fast run towards Cape Horn.

'But keeping up with an easterly moving weather system travelling at up to 25 knots is not simple.' Infante said. 'It is easy to be overtaken by the front and fall into the lighter winds closer to the centre of the system. Staying in the best winds requires perfect timing and some aggressive course changes to keep up with the lows. Unfortunately, this will be restricted by the ice limits.'

On board Puma Ocean Racing - Volvo Ocean Race -  Amory Ross-Puma Ocean Racing-Volvo Ocean Race©   Click Here to view large photo

Infante says the already dynamic weather scenario can be further complicated by other low pressure system cyclogenesis areas which influence how and when the storms behave.

'Most of the Low pressure systems are born east off New Zealand, in Mid Pacific, Tasman Sea to the west of New Zealand, or drift down from the north in the form of decaying tropical depressions and cyclones,' he said.

'If a tropical lows get in phase with existing systems they can re-intensify as they feed off the Pacific to Southern Ocean temperature gradient. Most of the time this can cause a split the South Pacific sub tropical high pressure, making the overall situation more complex.

To avoid the fleet running the risk of encountering ice flows off Antarctica race organisers have imposed an ice exclusion zone to keep the boats north of the highest risk area.

'As ever, safety is paramount,' Infante said. 'We will be monitoring the ice flows carefully using daily satellite imagery. The exclusion zone will keep the fleet away from a danger area known as the South Pacific cone of ice.'

After negotiating the extremes of the Southern Ocean the fleet has to round the rocky outcrop of Cape Horn at the southernmost tip of Chile before turning north and passing the Falkland Islands on the way to the finish in Itajaí.

'The Horn approach will depend on the strategy chosen in the Pacific. In this are the interaction between the strong westerlies and the barrier of the Andes is potentially very dangerous, as many sailors can report'

'The section from Cape Horn to the finish could still be a fast reach,' said Infante. 'But the approach to Itajaí is normally tricky with a more dynamic and variable weather'.

'It could provide a strategy nightmare before they finish Leg 5,' Infante concluded.

The start of Leg 5 will be at 1400 local time in Auckland on Sunday March 18 (0100 UTC March 17).

Volvo Ocean Race website


by Volvo Ocean Race

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=94899

3:52 AM Thu 15 Mar 2012GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.

Click for further information on
2011-12 Volvo Ocean Race
2012 Camper - Volvo Ocean Race sale


Related News Stories:

15 Mar 2012  Volvo Ocean Race - 'Code red' situation for Puma team
15 Mar 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: Crowds turn out for Open Boat at Camper
14 Mar 2012  Volvo Ocean Race - Puma announce new crew member for Leg 5
14 Mar 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: Team Sanya's sails get serviced at Doyles
14 Mar 2012  Volvo Ocean Race - Puma claims second distance award
13 Mar 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: More images from the Race Village
13 Mar 2012  Volvo Ocean Race: Images from the Race Village
13 Mar 2012  Volvo Inmarsat Report: Leg 4 'Too long and hard was the consensus'
13 Mar 2012  Volvo Ocean Race - Telefonica delay rigging replacement
12 Mar 2012  Volvo Ocean Race teams race against time to finish repairs
MORE STORIES ...






News - USA and the World













HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret *Feature by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor, Seattle














America's Cup: Expected de Ridder penalty should be reduced *Feature by Richard Gladwell/Sail-World.com/nz, Auckland, NZ
















Congressional Cup - Victory for Taylor Canfield and crew by Rich Roberts (As Amended by ISAF),




2014 Halifax – Saint-Pierre Ocean Race by Patricia Nelder, Nova Scotia














Image Gallery: Stratis SL33 flies on the Waitemata by Richard Gladwell,Sail-world.com/nz,


Audi Melges 20- Sperry Topsider Charleston Race Week - Light final day by International Audi Melges 20 Class Association,




ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères - Crème of the crop to compete
Congressional Cup: Luna Rossa makes podium in first event
Int 14 World Championships 2015 launch new event website
International Optimist Regatta Clinic and Team Race - Register now!
Congressional Cup: World top rankers finish that way in Long Beach
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week Day 3 finale
America's Cup: Gino Morrelli outlines the new AC62 design
Doyle Sails New Zealand signs Andrew Brown as One Design Manager
America's Cup: Dean Barker's Blog - A sail with the Duke and Duchess *Feature
29er World Youth Sailing Week Easter regatta - Day 1 and 2 overall
C Thomas Clagett Jr Memorial Clinic/Regatta - Entries start to roll in
50th Congressional Cup: See the delayed coverage and media conferences
Clipper Race 10 Day 27: Closing stages - Qingdao to San Francisco
Canfield, Williams, Bruni, Swinton in Congressional Cup final four
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week - Day 2
Audi Melges 20 Charleston Race Week - Perfect conditions in Charleston
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Full on ocean conditions for day 3
PWA World Tour - A taste of things to come at La Torche + Video
Women's International Match Racing Series kicks off in June
Melges 32 Audi Tron Sailing Series - Action shots by Max Ranchi
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Frustrating conditions   
Man rescued after falling overboard in Pacific taken to hospital   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Youth leading Melges 20   
Congressional Cup - Canfield leads toward Congressional Cup sailoffs   
Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week 2014 - Perfection for Day 1   
America's Cup: Coutts claims ISAF Jury on a crusade, backs Kiwi report *Feature   
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Will light winds hamper progress?   
Les Voiles de St. Barth - Preparing to rock Saint Barthélemy waters   
Clipper Round the World Race - OneDLL and Qingdao now in San Francisco   
America's Cup: Emirates Team NZ up against funding hurdle for year *Feature   
Melges 32 Sailing Series Napoli - Day 1 images by Stefano Gattini   
50th Congressional Cup: View the Live racing here   
Melges 32 Sailing Series - Napoli action shots by Max Ranchi   
Volvo Ocean Race - Team Alvimedica launch new boat   
Emirates Team NZ: Royals duke it out on the Waitemata   
2014 Charleston Race Week - Thousands of sailors descend on Charleston   
The Congressional Cup 2014 - Williams hangs on with a classy crowd   
50th Congressional Cup: View the Live racing here   
RORC Transatlantic Race - Notice of Race now available   
Oyster Regatta Antigua - Sunshine and smiles on day 2   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
X6XL WAS US