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The Maiden Factor Blog

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Sal’s Ocean Globe Race Analysis: Life at an angle resumes!

The lead pack of four in Ocean Globe Race Leg 2 has now passed the Waypoint, a mark on the course at 45 degrees South, which is to be passed to starboard. Maiden has messaged that it would have been nice to have seen a buoy bobbing about at the exact spot, and I know what they mean!

Virtual Waypoints, which this is, rather than a physical mark or an island, are really more suited to GPS navigation with the navigator able to home in on its absolute accuracy. It will have been a stressful time for the navigators using sun sights and dead reckoning, trying to get it right and be on the correct side of the spot on the chart. Maiden was reasonably far north, so did not have to make any big manoeuvres to get round the mark.

Translated had to take a tack to the north to get on the correct side of the waypoint, as did Helsinki who were a long way south and lost a place to Maiden at the mark. Pen Duick VI rounded first then took a tack north towards Australia. They are heading South East now, having tacked back, but have a less favourable wind angle than the other 3. It may have cost them precious miles in their very close battle with Translated 9 for IRC lead.

The leaders are sailing with the wind forward of the beam and that looks likely to continue for the coming days, as the high pressure South of Australia is moving East with the fleet. Further back in the fleet, the spread is now huge with well over a thousand miles between the leader and the last of the boats still racing. This means that they are being affected by totally different weather systems to the leaders. Two thousand miles back again are Explorer and Sterna, who had delayed starts. They are having to manoeuvre to miss a very nasty low that is forming, and have storm plans in place in case the low changes path.

Up till now the Southern Ocean has been relatively benign. It is lucky that the deep low isn’t approaching the rest of the widely scattered fleet as that would have been very problematic with boats going all ways trying to escape the worst of the weather. Backs to the grindstone for the leaders for the time being.

Gone are the Halcyon days of blasting downwind in the best that the Southern Ocean had to offer. Life at an angle resumes!