Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Leg 4 VolvoOceanRace with a different start in Melbourne

Leg 4 started different than the other Legs in the VolvoOceanRace. Normally there is a small parcours in front of the harbour to allow the public to view the first miles of battling between the boats, before they sail into the large Open Waters. 
Melbourne, did not offer that, the marks guided the Boats our of Port Philippe Bay, into the Open Waters of Brass Strait on their way to Hong Kong. 

Start Leg 4
It was Mapfre that made a good start again, and took the lead soon after. Dongfeng had to redo the start as they were apparently on the wrong side of the line at the starting shot. 

It was however Vestas that won the mini race in the bay and left as leader into the rough waters of the Brass Strait on their way to HongKong.
Mapfre was 2nd followed by Brunel and Dongfeng.

A video of the Start can be seen on Youtube. ; link also available in my blog under TAB Videos

The performances of the Boats can be followed via daily reviews and a tracker on the VOR website. A link to the daily reviews is given above in the TAB Daily Review as well.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

VolvoOceanRace starts a route through Cyclone Alley.

VolvoOceanRace Teams enjoy a welcome Christmas Holiday in Melbourne. However soon the rest is over and a New Leg 4, from Melbourne to Hong Kong, will start on Tuesday 2nd January in the NewYear at 03:00 UTC or 1400 local. 

VOR Leg 4 Melbourne - Hong Kong
 This is a new route in the VOR, so there is no previous history as to which route is the fastest. The navigators will have a major role in establishing that fastest route for themselves. 

Different from Leg 3 with steady Lows pushing the Boats from West to East in cold conditions, this Leg 4 will have a lot and I mean a lot of surprises but for sure will bring higher Temperatures!

Starting from Melbourne they will most likely sail along the SE coast of Australia towards the Coral sea. This region can bring wind calms, but also depressions and on top of that the Coral sea has some shallows from the coral islands.

Cyclones might be the biggest surprises and this season those Cyclones are very active as the Philippines is suffering a lot . Escaping this and sailing pass and alongside many land masses on the Solomon islands the Trade winds will be welcomed . Than the Doldrum will be waiting for them, around the Equator. These Doldrums could be a lot nastier than the easy ones, the fleet encountered in the Atlantic.
Once through the Doldrums the Easterly Trade winds will bring a welcome nice fast sailing towards the NE monsoon. That monsoon is feared by the fleet, as some versions have seen many boat damages in heavy wind and sea conditions. But, these NE winds are predicted to have a fast approach to HongKong in NW direction.

As  normal, I expect a life broadcasting of the starters circuit. I have not seen the map for the circuit yet, but that will be shown here asap it is available.

Here is a map for the start parcours in Melbourne


Monday, 25 December 2017

Mapfre is Winner in VolvoOceanRace Leg 3.

Mapfre is the big Winner in the VolvoOceanRace (VOR) Leg 3 starting in Cape Town and finishing on 24 December in Melbourne.

Mapfre wins VOR Leg 3

Leg 3 was an intense route with overall good winds, but mostly governed by a rather far Northerly Ice exclusion zone, that during the race even got extended further North, around the Kerguelen islands. 

As expected, sailing far South paid off and some nice low pressure systems with sometimes heavy winds, allowed boats to hook on and ride the storm to bring them to the West. The first storm was too fast and overtook the fleet, that had to jump on the next weather systme. 
Mapfre, managed to stay close to the leader Dongfeng for 80% of the distance, only to pass them later on, using a less optimale route choice of Dongfeng. Once in front Mapfre had only one target , Victory in Melbourne. Congrats.

Dongfeng as said, sailed in the lead for most of the Leg, but got passed in the latter phase. Ultimately, Dongfeng got some scary moment, looking over their shoulders to the chasers Vestas and Brunel, as the Keel ram on Dongfeng brought problems. However, they managed to secure the keel and take the 2nd Place in Melbourne.

Vestas and Brunel fought side by side for most of the Leg, missing out on the finesses of sailing to Mapfre and Dongfeng. They had a kind of battle, but Vestas was mostly in the lead. Vestas indeed is the first Boat that has benefitted from their period in stealth mode, to continue a decent lead on Brunel to finish 3rd with Brunel in 4th place.

The other 3 Boats are still battle for the 5th place in Melbourne.

 Melbourne will be a short stop over, with only limited options for repairs on the Boats and no In-Port Race. 

Leg 4 from Melbourne to HongKong will start on 2nd January 2018 at 3:00 UTC. 


Sunday, 10 December 2017

A stormy start of VolvoOceanRace Leg 3

A strong SE wind is expected for the Start of the VolvoOceanRace (VOR) Leg 3 from Cape Town to Melbourne. This is called The Cape Doctor, a wind that strikes over the Table Mountain and is strong as it accelerate between the different mountains particularly for this wind direction. [it is called the doctor, as it cleans the city of the bad air pollution]

Cape Town Start circuit Leg 3
The Start circuit looks rather short, so the Boats will in no time have left Cape Town to look for the best routes through the Southern Ocean. The Boats will be eager to win this one, as the winner will most likely be the first to turn East around Cape of Good Hope towards the Finish, where for this Leg the Winner gets double points.

The Start will be broadcasted live on the VOR Website, from about 11:50 UTC onwards. 

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Dongfeng wins Cape Town In-Port Race with confidence

The wind for the In-Port Race in Cape Town was good for delivering an outstanding race. The winds were strong, and  not too shifty as feared, just a little that brought the icing on the cake.

close battles in Cape Town In-Port race.

 The Boats started well , except for Mapfre that made a terrible bad start with even a tack ahead of the start line before crossing it as last Boat.
Vestas was leading after the start, shortly followed by Dongfeng, Akzo and Brunel. 
However Vestas did not get a proper furl halfway the race ,which bite them later as their A3 sail did not open properly on the last leg. This caused them to loose 2 positions in the End.

Dongfeng made a steady gain by clean strategic optimal sailing and took the lead halfway, not to let it slip till Victory was theirs.

Mapfre gained also  steady and in the end could climb to the 2nd place , closely followed by AkzoNobel. 

Clean Seas sailed a solid race, starting well but falling back a little, but could just stay ahead of Brunel, that had a strong last leg. 
Brunel started well, but got in a battle situation with HunSungKai,  which led to a penalty for the last Boat, but maybe also disadvantaged Brunel.

Now the Boats have a day to prepare for the long Leg 3 to Melbourne, through the Southern Oceans, with traditional strong, stormy winds and huge waves. 

Start for Leg 3 in Cape Town on Sunday 10 December , 1200 UTC.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

VOR continues with Cape Town In-Port Race

Friday 8th December at 1200 UTC, the VolvoOceanRace (VOR) will continue with a short In-Port race in Cape Town. 
The wind forecast indicates a South--South-East wind of about 10Kts, which would allow for a nice challenging race. However it might be a little flaky as the wind will approach from over the city and the Table mountain. Strategy might thus be important for taking advantages , where it can be done.

Cape Town In-Port race parcours

As normal, the race is expected to be shown live on the internet , just keep an eye on the VOR website.

The Boats, that had arrived without major damage in Cape Town, have all been out of the water for a thorough inspection before starting the adventure of Leg 3 through the Southern Ocean towards Melbourne. Expect the Boats in top condition, whereas the sailors have had a nice rest to be as fit as possible, to battle it out again.

Prepare yourselves for the Leg 3 start on Sunday  10 December at 1200 UTC.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Mapfre wins VolvoOceanRace Leg 2 in Cape Town

Mapfre wins the VOR Leg 2 Lisbon to Cape Town!

Mapfre sailing the last miles into Cape Town
Mapfre sailed strong during the whole Leg 2 , but it was till Dongfeng made an error sailing to close to the St. Helene High, that Mapfre could take the lead and did not look back. Well actually they did look back a lot, as wind systems were stable but not that stable to be sure of the Victory already. However none of the other Boats could find a faster route to Cape Town. 
With this win, it is also Mapfre that takes the lead in the Overall Ranking, see the details in Tab Scorecard above.

For more detailed information, daily reviews, video's , preview and review of Leg 2 see the Tabs above. 

The weather was friendly during Leg 2, making this a fast Leg 2. Leaving Lisbon, a strong northerly wind helped the Boats sailing fast south , where tradewinds were nice to push them into the Doldrums. The Doldrums were very friendly, this time,as if they did not exist the Boats could easily reach into the southerly tradewinds. The St. Helene High, kept hidden a little behind a strong depression that took the Boats across the southern Atlantic, the southerly Boats the most. After which the High still was there to assist for a good sail into Cape Town.

Last days , I hear a lot comment on the good chance for the Overall Win for the Boat that finishes first in Cape Town. If that holds , than Mapfre is in for a good result in this edition of VOR 2017-2018.

Stealth mode, you may have missed some Boats at times on the daily reports; each Boat could go into Stealth mode, not visible for other Boats and the public, for max. 24 hours and only one time in a Leg. Purpose is to make an un-expected route change to surprise the other Boats and win miles on them. This time however , stealth did not work out that way: Clean Seas in stealth did not gain, Brunel in stealth, lost from 2nd to  the 4th place, SunHungKai lost from 5th to 7th, while close to the end Vestas and Dongfeng got there stealth without any advances. Maybe the weather this time did not allow for alternative strategies, but at least the Boats have felt what it is to be in Stealth mode.

Later AkzoNobel made it to the 5th place while keeping ahead of the 2 battling Boats. 
SunHungKai manager to  make a last millage jump on Clean Seas and took 6th place with a minute to spare on Clean Seas.

Next events will be the Cape Town In-Port race on 8th December and the Start of Leg 3 Cape Town to Melbourne on 10th December.