Saturday, 28 February 2009

VOR: ERICSSON 3 LEG FIVE DAY 14 QFB: received 27.02.09 1143 GMT

by Aksel Magdahl (navigator)

There is an island in our way. Fiji has not suddenly popped up, but we have always liked the east because there is more breeze there, even though it has taken us on a course towards the middle of this 260 nautical mile wide obstacle.

Now we have to choose side, very late. The models do not favour the west at all, showing huge zones of no wind there over the next couple of days. However, we do not expect the models to be very accurate in this area. A cluster of clouds can quickly make a boat zero or hero.

If we want to be east, we will have to beat upwind for many hours in light breeze, which will be very expensive. So take a probable big loss by going west, but with a chance to sneak through without too much pain? Or invest even more in the east and take a certain short term loss of maybe 12 hours to stay in an area where the probability for more consistent breeze is higher than in the west?

Or, go between the islands? It is a déjà-vu with the ‘Dangerous Ground’ from the last leg really, with a big unsurveyed area. There are still charts though, but we don't trust them so we will try to stay away from there.

There are good opportunities to look stupid over the next two days.

Until now everyone has been sailing quite high, staying as much to the east as they can, so who will be the first to peel off to the west? A bit more anxiety before each position report now.

Volvo Ocean Race

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