Ericsson 4 heads into the Straits of Gibraltar during Leg 1 of the 2008/09 Volvo Ocean Race.
The six strong Volvo Ocean race fleet should get away to a slingshot start, with favourable winds promising a fast ride to the first milestone in the race - the Straits of Gibraltar.
The America's Cup based software www.predictwind.com!Predictwind says that winds are expected to be about 15-17kts average for most of the 300nm stage, and using a standard Volvo 70 set of polars, (which show an expected boatspeed for a given wind angle and strength), the boats should travel most of the distance at speeds of 11-12kts.
Boatspeeds are expected to be the fastest just after the start with the standard boat coming away at 17kts, and speeds will slowly decrease until they near Gibraltar where they are expected to be sailing at around 9kts.
Depending on the time taken to wend their way out of the starting grid legs, the fleet is expected to the entrance to the Mediterranean at about 1400hrs UTC on 6 November.
The course recommendation from the routing feature of Predictwind shows the Volvo 70 taking a very direct course to the entrance to the Mediterranean. Winds are about 300 degrees (NW) in direction for the leg - a very favourable direction for the Volvo 70 type.
Volvo Ocean Race Day 1 Prognosis - Predictwind.com showing a 24 hour direct course for Gibraltar