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7 February 2006, 10:27 am
Forecast Predicts Blast Across To Wellington
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Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006
Melbourne, Australia

According to initial weather routing being done by team navigators, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet looks set for a rocket ride to Wellington, New Zealand next week. Indicators say they will be riding a 40 knot front all the way from the Bass Strait, across the Tasman Sea to the Cook Strait between New Zealand's North and South islands, news which is sure to put a big smile on the faces of overall leader ABM AMRO ONE.
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movistar navigator Andrew CAPE (AUS) and ABN AMRO TWO navigator Simon FISHER (GBR) today each agreed there were prospects of a very fast passage across the Tasman courtesy of the front.

CAPE said that although it was early days, the predicted passage of the cold front would virtually match the speed of the boats so they would ride it, or the back of it, for most of the passage to New Zealand.

FISHER said the situation was still dynamic, but predicted much the same weather as Cape, 'Even if the front goes through, there should be fast, broad reaching conditions behind it as we close on Cook Strait and Wellington,' FISHER said.

He said there would be three phases in the race:

  • Getting out of the sea breeze and Port Phillip Bay, and into the western gradient of weather in the Bass Strait below Wilsons Promontory.
  • Riding the south-west front across the Tasman.
  • Negotiating Cook Strait with the wind behind the front easing.

Starboard Gybe All The Way

CAPE said the fleet could well be on a starboard gybe all the way there, about 1,400 nautical miles once the boats had cleared the promontory and set course for Wellington.

'That would put the fleet on the top of the South Island by midday on the 15th [Wednesday],' he said.

You would not want to be on the last plane out of Melbourne bound for Wellington next Wednesday.

The fleet sets sail from Melbourne at 1300 hours local time (0200 UTC) on Sunday on this, the third leg of the round the world race.

Ericsson Protest

An international jury will sit in Melbourne on Thursday at 1000 local time to hear a protest from Ericsson, which is seeking redress for allegedly being wrongly recalled at the start for crossing too early.

Around the race village, aerial photographs of the start are being studied closely and everyone has a theory.

Overall Leaderboard
(Up to and including Leg 3 In Port race)

Pos Team Nation Skippers Pts
1 ABN AMRO ONE NED Mike SANDERSON (NZL) 32.5
2 ABN AMRO TWO NED Sebastien JOSSE (FRA) 25
3 movistar ESP Bouwe BEKKING (NED) 18
4 Pirates of the Caribbean USA Paul CAYARD (USA) 16.5
5 Brasil 1 BRA Torben GRAEL (BRA) 16
6 Ericsson Racing Team SWE Neal MCDONALD (GBR) 14.5
7 Brunel AUS Grant WHARINGTON (AUS) 11.5

For a complete list of all the news about the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-2006 CLICK HERE.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, ABM AMRON ONE will be happy to hear high winds predicted for leg three:© Jon NASH
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