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Ericsson 3 expected to finish almost 90nm ahead in Volvo Ocean Race

by Richard Gladwell, on 25 Mar 2009
PUMA Ocean Racing, on leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Qingdao to Rio de Janeiro Rick Deppe/PUMA Ocean Racing/Volvo Ocean Race

Ericsson 3 is expected to win Leg 5 of the Volvo Ocean race by almost 100nm. She is expected to finish about 1430hrs (NZT) on 26 March or 0130hrs (UTC) on the same day.

Second home will be Ericsson 4 with third placed Puma Racing almost 160nm behind the winner.

Ericsson 4 should finish at 0700hrs (NZT) on the 27 March or 1800hrs (UTC) on 26 March. Puma Racing will cross around three hours later.

At the latest sked (1000hrs UTC) on 25 March, Ericsson 3 was projected to be sailing in a 15kts SE breeze, which eases about six hours later to around 10kts and she carries this breeze and direction almost all the way to Rio.

Behind her Ericsson 4 and Puma Racing enjoy similar conditions. However as they near Rio, Puma Racing comes in with a stronger advancing breeze and carries around 5kts more pressure than the overall leader.

The positions and conditions at the latest sked - 2200hrs NZT or 0900hrs UTC on 25 March, and the second showing the projected positions and conditions just before the the finish line in Rio.

Because the wind is expected to be steady all the way to Rio, the courses are reasonably straight and for the three leading competitors it will be a soldier's course to the finish and the welcome of the restaurants and bars ashore - which will seem doubly attractive after over 40 days at sea.

Update Since these models were run, Ericsson 3 moved into a Stealth Play, which means that her position is not disclosed by the organisers. From the modelling we have done, we can see no advantage that can be gained by a smart move by Ericsson 3, except if she believes that there is some advantage to be gained by working out to sea, to cover her options if the winds advance from the SE more rapidly than expected.

Ericsson 4 has also opted for a Stealth Play, with Torben Gael maybe trying to use some local knowledge.

The only area of concern for any of the three leading competitors is that winds if are forecasted to be very light in the finish area at the projected time of the leg finish, yachts coming in from seaward with a fresher breeze may be able to sneak through. However we believe that the moves by the two Ericssons are more geared at covering their current position rather than making a place gain.

The Stealth Plays will cease when they are within 50nm of the finish line.


The images used in this story have been generated by!Expedition which is a tactical and navigation software application which has been developed by veteran Volvo Ocean Race navigator and Whitbread winner, physicist Nick White, initially for his use in the 2001-2 Volvo Ocean Race with Team News Corp and the Stars & Stripes Americas Cup team.

Since then,!Expedition has been continually refined by a core group of world-renowned navigators and two-time America’s Cup winning navigator Peter Isler has consulted closely in the development of the system. Expedition supports more instrument systems, is easier to use and has the most powerful and useful functions for the racing navigator.

Expedition is now has PredictWind integrated into the application as an option for PredictWind subscribers.

The wind data and prognosis used to produce these images also uses software developed by!PredictWind, an application developed by Jon Bilger a top NZ youth and Olympic sailor who turned his hand to wind and weather prediction, and helped Alinghi to their outstanding victories in the last two America's Cups.

Now that same technology is available to the weekend sailing and club racers, the cruising fraternity or professional sailors around the world. Select any region in the world of interest to you and!PredictWind will monitor the area for you and provide updated predictions on demand.

PredictWind is a subscription system, with a number of options. While some may feel the wind is free, the ability to get a five day detailed wind forecast for an area of interest creates great peace of mind, allowing forward planning and decision making to be made with some certainty. The time and money saved through being able to work with a high degree of confidence, is more than offset by the relatively small cost of the subscription.

But don't take our word for it, get!PredictWind now and have a 30 day trial for free, and see for yourself.

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