Bouwe Bekking hadn’t seen any alternative but to pass between the two main Fijian islands; with the cards dealt them, after that late start, it was a case of go through the middle, or make a detour of around 40 miles. The Puma boys, on the other hand, made a conscious decision to take that route, as Ken Read explains. “The ‘Fiji’ decision, as we called it was not made in haste, or without an amazing amount of thought Capey was essentially analyzing it for days. First goal was to get to the east of the islands by sailing tight to the wind for literally four or five days but once we decided that getting up and over the island wasn’t to be without a couple painful tacks, the emergence of Plan B and Plan C came into effect. Plan B: go through the middle as we did. Plan C: go to the west of both islands. Plan C never really got much traction, because the western island of Fiji is huge and very high and we were really concerned about a huge wind shadow under the island. Plan B started to take shape when the weather routing for the next week began to unfold.”
“Plan B could have been a lot better for us, and a lot worse. First of all we had wind all the way through. We had no idea really what to expect in that channel although we did have good current information. We expected some common sense geographic changes to the wind and directions and strengths and it really played out almost to plan, so for this reason it could have been a lot worse. On the other hand, the guys that went east got much better shifts and the breeze stayed stronger than we were anticipating based on the weather analysis onboard. They got out of there about three or four hours better than we thought. To be honest, if we had thought it would have been that close we probably would have stuck with our Plan A, but that is why it is called ancient history.”
The result of the Fiji encounter is that Ericsson 4 is again leading and the happiest guys of all are on Green Dragon, which – at our last look – was just 4 miles behind Blue and traveling 2 knots faster. Pic of Telefonica Blue passing Fiji from Maria Muina and more here.