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Volvo Ocean Race - Look behind you!

 
The Volvo fleet is beginning to experience the Southern Ocean, it's relatively enjoyable. The sting will come in the next 24 hours . . . The forecast is for winds in the 35 knot range, stronger gusts. Seas of over 6-metres are expected. Predicted Situation for 23:00 hrs Wednesday -

Six of the seven Volvo Ocean Race boats remain in the Roaring Forties Wednesday morning, south of 40-degrees latitude, in the area where strong low pressure systems circle the planet bringing stong winds and mountainous waves.

But that's not the experience they're seeing at the moment. The wind is around 10 knots. Boat speeds are in the same area. It's been a relatively benign 24 hours. But that will all change soon.

"The wind is building and slightly more headed than the forecast which creates some questions. It's just a question of how much it lifts."

"It affects our sail choice and how low we sail. Right now we're sort of hedging on the side of caution," said Vestas 11th Hour Racing navigator Simon Fisher. "Feels like we're manning battle stations and preparing for war."

The fastest boat on the 13:00 UTC position report is Vestas 11th Hour Racing (22.5 knots), just North of the main fleet and in stronger winds at the moment.

In a bold break from the rest of the fleet, British skipper Dee Caffari opted to take her young Turn the Tide on Plastic crew furthest to the north (200nm) in the hope of dodging the worst of the system’s howling winds and forecast for enormous seas.

This is in contrast to the strategies of leg leader Dongfeng Race Team, MAPFRE, team Akzonobel, Team Brunel and Team Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag, who have chosen to roll the dice and take the southern option.

When the front hits they will almost certainly experience stronger winds, and unlike Turn the Tide on Plastic to the north they have less options to escape.

Volvo Ocean race - Leg 3 - Wednesday 13 December @ 13:00 UTC

1. Dongfeng Race Team -- distance to finish -- 4,737 nautical miles
2. MAPFRE +8nm
3. team AkzoNobel +18 nm
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +19 nm
4. Team Brunel +26 nm
5. Vestas 11th Hour Racing +28 nm
6. Sun Hung Kai/Scallywag +40 nm
7. Turn the Tide on Plastic +93 nm

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