Volvo Ocean Race - Green Dragon to get big lead

High view of Volvo OR fleet 21-10-2008 @ 1100hrs

Green Dragon (Ian Walker GBR) looks set to make a big gain on the Volvo Ocean race fleet over the next 24 hours, as she carries winds of over 7kts while the rest of the fleet experience conditions varying from 2.0kts to less the 4.0kts

The next best wind reading is on the former ABN Amro One, now Delta Lloyd, which won the last race, but is not a noted light airs performer. She has 4.5 kts, and is 242nm away from Green Dragon based on the latest data.

Zoom view of Volvo OR fleet 20-10-2008 @1000hrs

The optimum courses for the boats are now showing the bulk of the fleet will need to sail a more easterly approach to the gate of Brazil.

However cycling through the model to positions at the gate, show that while Green Dragon will initially step out to a big lead, she too will run into softer breezes allowing the other two lead competitors to catch up. But at this stage Green Dragon should lead around the mark by 10nm when they round in a few days time. That projection is close to the five day weather prognosis limit, and will likely change. However the point remains that Green Dragon, by following the old maxim of 'west is best' should take control of the first leg, and certainly to the gate off Brazil.

Course and separation data Volvo OR 20-10-2008
Behind her the centre grouped boats are languishing in winds of less than three knots, while those on the outer edges have better breezes.

However incredibly the next closest, PUMA racing which is 61nm away from Green Dragon is sailing in breezes which are three knots less. At these wind strengths, one knot of wind is worth at least 1 knot of boatspeed for the VOR70 and it does not take too long at those sort of windstrengths for substantial leads to be made (and taken away).
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How to read these images

The boats have four digit codes as follows: DLYD - Delta Lloyd; ERT3 - Ericsson 3; ERT4 - Ericsson 4; GDRA - Green Dragon; ILMO - PUMA Racing; TELA - Telefonica Black; TELN - Telefonica Blue; KOSA - Team Russia

The wind is shown in barbed arrow format. The longer line is the wind direction, if it has one longer barb at right angles to the tail, then the wind strength is 10 kts, if there is a half size barb, further up the shaft then the strength is 15kts, two full size barbs indicate 20kts and so on.

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The images used in this story have been generated by www.iexpedition.org!Expedition which is a tactical and navigation software application which has been developed by veteran Volvo Ocean Race navigator and Whitbread winner, physicist Nick White, initially for his use in the 2001-2 Volvo Ocean Race with Team News Corp and the Stars & Stripes Americas Cup team.

Since then, www.iexpedition.org!Expedition has been continually refined by a core group of world-renowned navigators and two-time America’s Cup winning navigator Peter Isler has consulted closely in the development of the system. Expedition supports more instrument systems, is easier to use and has the most powerful and useful functions for the racing navigator.

To read an occasional analysis of the Volvo_navigation_options by Nick White www.iexpedition.org/VolvoVolvo.htm!click_here

Expedition is now has PredictWind integrated into the application as an option for PredictWind subscribers.

The wind data and prognosis used to produce these images also uses software developed by www.predictwind.com!PredictWind, an application developed by Jon Bilger a top NZ youth and Olympic sailor who turned his hand to wind and weather prediction, and helped Alinghi to their outstanding victories in the last two America's Cups.

Now that same technology is available to the weekend sailing and club racers, the cruising fraternity or professional sailors around the world. Select any region in the world of interest to you and www.predictwind.com!PredictWind will monitor the area for you and provide updated predictions on demand.

PredictWind is a subscription system, with a number of options. While some may feel the wind is free, the ability to get a five day detailed wind forecast for an area of interest creates great peace of mind, allowing forward planning and decision making to be made with some certainty. The time and money saved through being able to work with a high degree of confidence, is more than offset by the relatively small cost of the subscription.

You have until January 2009 to get your free subscription, and see for yourself.