Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand newsletter for 9 March 2012
As the Volvo Ocean Race fleet closes in on Auckland with just over a day to sail, the City of Sails can feel another attack of Round the World Fever, coming on. Having not experienced this 'ailment' for a decade, take it from us the best thing to do is to forget about work, get down to the Viaduct and enjoy it!
We had a preliminary view on Wednesday, and the Event Village is very impressive. The Volvo Stopover will be Auckland's first experience of a major sailing event in the City, with the new Events Centre in place and all the fine restaurants and cafes on the North Wharf complex available for a full road test.
The Volvo hybrid car is one of the many superb exhibits at the Volvo Pavilion Richard Gladwell
Check out the Events Centre itself - where there are a number of magnificent exhibits from companies that are at the cutting edge of the New Zealand Marine industry.
Then there is the Volvo Pavilion which makes you realise the diversity of the Volvo product range - with everything from hybrid cars, rally cars, heavy vehicles, boat engines and outdrives on display.
Plus there are some great simulator games where you can test yourself against the best.
The Volvo Stopover Village is another entertainment epicentre, and of course there are the fine bars, cafes and restaurants which surround the Viaduct Harbour. All just waiting to be sampled.
In the race itself, we have seen some remarkable changes as the boats have neared with New Zealand coast, with the big margins being heavily reduced, and maybe one place change already.
We are expecting this situation to continue. While it is hard to see anyone but Groupama winning, the podium places are certainly up for grabs, and even the battle for fifth and sixth home will be very keen. At the latest sked, Groupama has had her lead chopped back to just over 80nm, by Telefonica. While that is still a big gap, yesterday it was out to 130nm - if she dropped another 50nm in 12 hours - then life would get exciting.
Similarly astern, with both Puma and Camper getting a sniff of the up front action and of each other.
Doyle Sails inside the Marine Expo at the Viaduct Events Centre - Viaduct Harbour, Volvo Ocean Race Richard Gladwell
We will be switching to a higher resolution prediction model from Predictwind later this afternoon, as the boats near North Cape, and we expect to be able to be more accurate with some of the predictions with more detailed weather data than is available for the trans-oceanic routing.
At that point we expect to have more accurate arrival predictions. Late last night we analysed the four weather streams available under Predictwind (the Volvo boats only have two streams available) and formed a view of the fleet, however that changed overnight, although the overall situation didn't change significantly - but the options look to be opening up quite nicely.
Knut Frostad (right) remembers the good times in Auckland, with Emirates Team NZ CEO, Grant Dalton Richard Gladwell
Sail-World will have the best coverage we can of the race finish from out on the water, and then capturing the scenes back in the Viaduct, as the boats finish.
Top yachting broadcaster Peter Montgomery will be hosting the Scoreboard program on Newstalk ZB (yes, you can catch it live on the internet) from noon to 6.00pm on Saturday and will be carrying coverage of the fleet as it runs down the Norhland Coast. In these days of mobile phones it is easy to communicate - if you are on the water and can give PJ a report, call 0800 801080, and tell everyone about it.
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