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slow upwind drag race

Our friends from Predict Wind have taken a look at the weather for the VOR boys. Check it:

The fleet is tightly grouped heading up the coast of Portugal, sailing upwind in less than 10 knots. Once out into the Bay of Biscay the fleet will be battling 30-40 knot winds and 3m swells! So it is a race of 2 halves with light upwinds conditions, transitioning into tough upwind conditions.

The major tactical decision will be in the next 24hours, as the teams will need to decide how close to sail to the coast, before entering into the Bay of Biscay. The forecast models are not in agreement in terms of how close to the coast you could sail with 2 models hugging the coast, and the other 2 models further offshore. Changeable light conditions will see some substantial gains and losses between the boats, especially if there is a split in the fleet.

More than likely the upwind performance and crew work will be the determining factors of who wins this leg. A short leg of only 3 days, but 3 days upwind is going to feel like a long time for the sailors on boats that are designed for reaching/downwind conditions.