Ericsson 4 Leg Five Day Four
We are now leaving behind the cold water and cold air as we enter the Pacific and continue our march to the east. You may wonder why we are all heading predominantly east and not taking a straighter route towards New Zealand.
Well, the answer is simple really. These Volvo 70s like the wind to be free so we can sail fast angles and really keep the boat moving along at wind speed or higher. To this end, we are using the northerly winds we now have to make some miles to the east before we join up with the north east trades in a few days time. If it all pans out then by the time we get headed we will have enough of an easterly position to head south and keep the boat sailing the fast angles that it loves. This should enable us to reach the scoring line at 36 south a lot sooner than taking the direct route.
The Volvo 70s, more than any previous Volvo/Whitbread design, use their incredible reaching performance to sail around unfavourable weather at much faster speeds than sailing direct. What this means in practice for leg five is that for a 12,300 mile leg we will probably end up sailing close to or even more than 1,000 miles further than that in order to arrive in Rio as quickly as possible. We knew it would be a long leg but thinking about the best routing option being so much longer is hard to take! Anyway, back to it, three days gone and only 11,500 nm to go. Or should that be more like 12,500?
Stu Bannatyne - Watch Captain