The pressure is on as the crews start the penultimate offshore race of the Volvo Baltic Race series in very light airs
The pressure is on as the crews start the penultimate offshore race of the Volvo Baltic Race series in very light airs.
Divers were down on Matthew Humphries’ Team Elanders early this morning in Warnemunde, Germany. “We’re light weather guys,” says Humphries (UK), but he’s leaving nothing to chance. His team is currently one point behind series leaders, Thomas Blixt, and his international crew on Sony Ericsson.
In view of the light airs forecast, the Race Committee has set the shortest and most direct course to Sandhamn at the edge of the Stockholm archipelago in Sweden. Even so, it is thought that the fleet may not complete this 415-nautical mile race until Tuesday evening or even Wednesday morning.
The inshore race, which was postponed in Kiel, Germany, is set to be held on Wednesday afternoon, but it is likely that the race committee may decide to postpone again and reschedule for Saturday 3 July – the day before the Gant Round Gotland Race, which is also a feature of this series.
At 1500 local time yesterday, Sony Ericsson crossed the start line in pole position ahead of Elanders. JMS Next Generation (KI Heiberg/Nor) covered Avant (M Lundh/Swe). The fleet then sailed a half mile beat before rounding the windward mark and heading out to sea, next stop Sandhamn.
There is a ridge just east of Warnemunde which will give light south-east winds for the start. The teams will have light winds in the first 12 hours of the race then a front approaching from the west will give a wind shift to the west and the breeze will increase to 20-25 knots.
In between Oland and Gotland, the teams will have winds dropping to 8-12 knots and remaining from a westerly direction. The approach to Sandhamn will be very light, with variable winds from north-west to north-east.
Positions after leg 5 (leg 4 postponed)
1 Sony Ericsson (Thomas Blixt, Swe) 14.0 points
2 Team Elanders (Matthew Humphries, UK) 13.0 points
3 JMS Next Generation (Stefan Eneman, Swe/Kjell-Inge Heiberg, Nor) 7.5 points
4 Avant (M Lundh, Swe) 7.0 points
5 AV Teknik (Marko Murtic, Cro) 3.5 points