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Simple Equation: Better Wind = Better Speed

by Race Committee, July 14th, 2016

With only a couple of exceptions, today's Daily Roll indicates that all boats were sailing in northerly winds over 20 knots - this is what the Vic-Maui brochure promised. The increase in windspeed has certainly impacted the boat speed visible on the Race Tracker. The bigger winds are pushing Crossfire, Valkyrie, Kinetic and Westerly over 14 kts. and they are making big gains and closing the distance to the earlier starters..

The last 4 starters in Div 1 have finally found their legs and are logging boat speeds in excess of 14 kts over the last 12 hours. And while the wind angle is allowing all boats to point a little more directly toward Maui and it is Longboard who is most enjoying the bigger winds and her advantage of a days head start - she has already overtaken many boats in the earlier fleets and as of Roll Call was first, based on her most recent position updates. But the others are not going to take that sitting down. Mountain, Rain Drop, Miles, Kraken, Equus and String Theory all have good boat speed and some right-side leverage which could shorten the distance sailed and allow them to keep on corrected time. If the High does not move any further eastward and they stay in good wind, the shorter distanced sailed could be a winning strategy.

The wind predictor says the strong northerlies will persist for a number of days making the passage south to 30N very quick. But the boats still have 20 degrees of longitude to cross and things ahead could get interesting. Tropical Storm Celia is dissipating east of Hilo and Tropical Storm Darby has formed in Celia's wake and is trending northward. These low pressure zones have the ability to weaken the trade winds and make the crossing from 130 W to 150 W longitude somewhat tedious, unless boats can catch stronger easterlies on the north side of T.S. Darby. The boats taking a more direct course in slightly less wind might not look as good right now, but it might prove the winning strategy if they can find the right line between the Pacific High and the zones impacted by the tropical low pressure zones.

The current conditions shown on the Leaderboard favour the big flyers right now. If the math can be believed and conditions continue exactly as they are, Crossfire is forecast to shave a full day off the current 9 day - 2 hour record. But that could change quickly if the winds lighten up.

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