Fiji, or Not?


Fiji, or Not?

That is the big question for the Volvo Open 70s; a question whose answer is made more difficult by the fact that satellite rearrangements have resulted in the boats receiving limited weather info. Right now, it looks like most boats are opting to take a very close look at Fiji, but Green Dragon navigator, Wouter Verbraak, has reservations, saying “The weather studies that I worked on before the start, with weather expert Jean Yves Bernot and fellow navigator, Ian Moore, already showed a more easterly route along the Marshall and Kiribati islands to be favorable, but some more risky options for a direct southerly route with possible huge benefits. What looked like a promising highway south, three days ago, has turned into a dirt track with some very nasty potholes. Risk of a complete stop is about 70%, and the less than 30% chance of a swift arrival at the other end is making it look less than ideal. It is not a surprise that most have made a sharp left hand turn.”

“We have so far chosen the more conservative easterly route. It already gave us stronger winds and a better wind angle in the North East Trades and a swift doldrums crossing. Now, with the southerly route blocked, we have a great chance to cut the corner and get back in touch with the fleet too!  The reverse isochrones (lines of equal time to the mark) to Fiji are actually showing us ahead of the fleet.  We will be modest and happy with being in touch with the fleet near Fiji. It really looks like a 1,000 nm drag race up there with not too many options. Either way there will be some serious gains and losses for everyone over the next week.”  

Right now, given that two teams started well behind the rest, the race is very, very close with just 36 miles separating the top three and the entire fleet separated by just over 100 miles. Pic of Telefonica Blue by Maria Muina and more here.