Saturday, December 13, 2008

PUMA early leader of Volvo Ocean Race leg 3

[Source: Volvo Ocean Race] Cochin in India, bid farewell to the Volvo Ocean Race fleet today at 1530 local time (1000 GMT) after the eight teams spent a sensational past two weeks in India, the first time the race has visited this area.

In a light sea breeze of around five to six knots, Green Dragon (Ian Walker/GBR) led the fleet across the line in a downwind start as the crews unfurled their big gennakers.

Team Russia (Andreas Hanakamp/AUT) had problems unfurling their gennaker after what looked like a good starting position, and were quickly hundreds of metres back.

Start of the 3rd leg of the Volvo Ocean Race. Cochin, 13 December 2008. Video copyright Volvo Ocean Race

Telefónica Blue (Bouwe Bekking/NED) made a move well out to the right along with PUMA (Ken Read/USA), and Ericsson 4 (Torben Grael/BRA), while Green Dragon remained closer to the coast and watched the others surge ahead. As this leading bunch started to curl in towards the shore, making the most of the northwesterly sea breeze, which will fade in the next two hours as daylight fails, it was PUMA who led the leading pack.

This 1950 nautical mile leg to Sentosa Island, Singapore is expected to take the fleet around eight days to complete, but first the fleet has to negotiate the southern tip of both India and Sri Lanka. Conditions are expected to be light and fluky for the entire trip and very tricky for the navigators, not only in interpreting the weather, but also in dealing with very congested shipping lanes and lots of fishing fleets. It will be mentally taxing, with the heat and humidity an added endurance factor.

Start of the Volvo Ocean Race leg 3. Cochin, 13 December 2008. Photo copyright Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race

There are no turning marks at the start of the leg and the next mark of the course will be the scoring gate set off Pulau We, near the northern tip of Sumatra. Here the fleet will be faced with an important decision – whether to sail north or south of the rhumb line. Race Meteorologist, Jennifer Lilly, says sailing north of the rhumb line, the fleet is likely to face moderate northeast to east-northeast upwind conditions. But, says Jennifer, if they sail south of the rhumb line, the winds could back to become more westerly and with more favourable downwind angles. However, wind speeds are generally lighter and there tends to be more rainsqualls. How to attack this split breeze could make for some interesting tactics to the scoring gate.

Start of the Volvo Ocean Race leg 3. Cochin, 13 December 2008. Photo copyright Rick Tomlinson / Volvo Ocean Race

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At 8:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is kind of odd that in a regatta as important as the Volvo Ocean Race there are only eight boats (6 teams, two of them with two boats), and in the America's Cup, where the Challenger of Record is a sham (CNEV), where Alinghi is doing everything they can to validate a non-valid regatta, there are 16 challengers registered (four of them in the process of being legally registered).

It is simply amazing how people go the wrong way when it comes to invest their money in a sailing team. There should be 16 boats in the VOR and not in the fake regatta that Alinghi is putting together.

At 6:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is odd considering that it is far less expensive to fund a VO70 campaign than it is to fund an AC campaign as well as being more exciting to watch on television.

Although, it would be better if you did'nt turn every blog into a PR campaign for Larry.

At 11:14 PM, Blogger Norberto said...

yeah, but how many of those 16 teams are in reality being "sponsored" by bertarelli just to increase the number of entrants?


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