With one thousand nautical miles left to sail to New Zealand, the boats in the Volvo Ocean Race have been bolstered by favourable trade winds after having to hook a Northern course to find suitable breezes for their sails. The teams now face a series of options between competing weather systems over Fiji and New Zealand which provide opportunities for fast winds or a more direct course.
The teams of the Volvo Ocean Race are charting leg 4 of their global competition with a journey from Southern China to the Antipodes. Groupama is leading the fourth leg after reaching the faster trade winds first.
On the Eastern side of the fleet, PUMA Ocean Racing powered by BERG have been held up by large rain clouds with no wind. PUMA helmsman Kelvin Harrap commented:
“We are trying to pass them the best we can using the radar and sailing around the ones we see. Right now we’re in the middle of a bad one, which seems to like us more than any of the others.”
Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing had similar problems in a windless zone around New Caledonia after having taken a huge detour just to avoid the very problem. They lost at least 100 nautical miles to the other teams waiting for a gust to get them back on track.