Volvo Ocean Race – Finding Point Nemo is not going to be hard as it’s right in front of them.
The fleet is now only 100 nautical miles from the most remote place in the whole world, also known as the Pole of Inaccessibility. It’s ironic really as the northern pack might pass through its very location, almost as if they were trying to visit this iconic point and run it down. Point Nemo – 48 52.5 S 123 23.6W, 1,450nm from the nearest piece of land.
The fleet is 2,100nm from the Cape Horn.
The shifting ice limits have pushed the fleet further north*. MAPFRE is the most advanced in the southern pack and currently the fleet leader. They are 85nm due south of the northern pack and about 200nm from the ice limit number seven, the most relevant corner in the virtual line (take a look at the tracker for a better picture of the ice limits).
All teams reported having recovered well after yesterday’s setbacks, Chinese gybes and knockdowns. Team Brunel who didn’t report any issues is 20nm in front of Team Alvimedica and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, who are only 2nm away from each other. Looking at the weather ahead, those two chasing boats may catch the Dutch as the wind softens.
The small low pressure the fleet has been referring to for the last four days may still be an option for the northerly fleet. However if they do sail the extra distance to reach it, they will have sailed an additional 400nm from the southerly option. That means it must promise to deliver a good interest rate before investing in such a risk. It may well be the way to go as the southerly route is looking very light indeed.
Condensation is becoming an issue as the water temperature drops. The warm bodies and crew are breathing out warmer air, and they’ve turned the walls and cold surfaces into streaming trickles of water droplets that fall on sleeping faces and wet dry arms as the crew move about the boat. This all adds to the feeling of remoteness that they are really experiencing. The remarkable byproduct of the one design-racing is that they are still all so close to each other at the same time as being so far away from everywhere else.
Referring to Finding Nemo – just keep swimming east, swimming, swimming.
* Ice limits:
A virtual line the fleet must leave to starboard, it can be modified by Race Management depending on the movement of the ice in the southern part of the globe. An imaginary point has been placed every five degrees, drawing a precise contour that can be adapted.
Ice limit changes on March 25:
Leg 5 Sailing Instructions Amendment 8 has been posted and communicated to the boats – waypoints 11 and 12 have been moved further north after the detection of a new iceberg close to the ice limit line had been confirmed, between 95 W and 100 W.
Wind speed: 16-27 knots
Boat speed SOG (15 mins): 17-20 knots
Wind direction: 223º – 250º
Lowest boat speed: TBRU, DFRT, ALVI (17 knots)
Highest boat speed: ADOR (20 knots)
Lowest wind speed: ALVI (16 knots)
Highest wind speed: ADOR (27 knots)
|Position report at: 25 Mar 06:40 UTC / Updated 3 hourly||DTL(NM)||GAIN/LOSS(NM)||DTF(NM)||Speed(kt)|
|Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing||30.3||12||4058.3||14|
|Dongfeng Race Team||38.1||0||4066||18|
|Team Vestas Wind||DID NOT START|