Henry Bomby breaks down the current state of the VOR race for you. Enjoy.
So the fleet are around the little island archipelago of Fernando de Noronha, the last waypoint before arriving in Cape Town. In this blog I will be looking through the options ahead for all the teams, some potential short cuts, the traditional options and what to look out for on the tracker, as well as where the next potential passing lanes might be.
I have had a few questions asking why the teams didn’t turn hard left at Fernando and head straight to Cape Town, so explaining this seems like a good place to start.
At the moment the teams are sailing in the South Easterly trade winds. Which would mean a dead beat all the way to Cape Town if they wanted to sail this more ‘direct’ route. This is Option 1 in the playbook. While it is the shortest distance to sail, it basically never works due to the Saint Helena High pressure system normally located off the West coast of South Africa. See Abu Dhabi’s track if they took the northerly option (blue) above.
Option 2 (in pink) is the stock option, the traditional route, and has many alternatives and subtleties but is the option all the teams will be taking this time around. That is to head south in the SE’ly trades and hook into one of the low pressure systems rolling around the southern ocean, get to the Westerly winds to the South of it and then ride it all the way to Cape Town, ideally!
Now of course it will never be quite that easy! There will be a trough, ridge or other roadblocks along the way or a stalling or accelerating of the low pressure system that will cause the navigators to make minor or some major adjustments to their trajectory as they make their way south. And once they hook into LP1, they will then also be fighting to stay ahead of the front. This is all where it gets really interesting again for us. Read on.