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The Maiden Factor Blog

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Sal’s Ocean Globe Race Analysis: Getting to the Waypoint

The continent of Australia is looming large to the north of the leading boats, heading to Auckland, in the Ocean Globe Race.

They have been sailing in solid South Westerly breeze after the excitement and drama of the cold front a few days ago causing some damage to sails on boats that underestimated the strength of the gusts and the sudden change of wind direction.

There is a waypoint at 45 degrees South which the boats must stay to the North of to keep them out of the worst of the weather and icebergs.

There aren’t a lot of options how to tactically get to the waypoint.

Unfortunately there is a High Pressure system to the West , effectively blocking the approach. Pen Duick 6 managed to stay in the breeze and are now beam reaching in the Southerlies on the Eastern side of the High. Translated 9 managed to squeeze under the centre of the High giving them a following wind to the waypoint. Helsinki and Maiden got stuck in the centre of the High and are struggling to find the breeze to escape. They should be back in decent breeze soon and will be moving into a more tactical part of the race as they head for Southern shore of Tasmania.

If the breeze goes round to the north in the coming days, the crews will pick up the very distinctive smell of land. Australia has its own smell of scorched earth and eucalyptus. You can smell it many hundreds of miles away. When you have been at sea for a few weeks you really notice a change like that.

It will certainly brighten the mood on the boats, when the possibility of actually getting to the finish actually starts to smell like a reality!