Leg 2 re-start – with a fleet pile-up on the approach to Eclipse Island, watch out for some major place changes within the next few hours Eclipse Island – would the race be better without it?
Leg 2 re-start -with a fleet pile-up on the approach to Eclipse Island, watch out for some major place changes within the next few hours
Eclipse Island -would the race be better without it?
Having blasted their way through the Southern Ocean in the continuous low pressure systems, the VOR fleet have virtually come to a standstill in the light air ridge just off Eclipse Island. With conditions more associated with the high pressure area of the mid Atlantic than the Southern Ocean, crews on the leading boats are having to face yet more tension as the tailenders, in more pressure, play catch up. Team SEB, having snatched the lead from illbruck is just three miles ahead but with the likes of Amer Sports One and Amer Sports Too sailing in 10 knots more breeze, the race could effectively start again from the waypoint of Eclipse Island.
While it’s easy to understand why the organisers have included Eclipse Island at the south-western tip of Australia as a waypoint to ensure the fleet are kept in easy striking distance of rescue teams, one can’t help wondering if a VOR course directly to Sydney would make all that difference as far as emergency situation is concerned. Afterall the fleet has just sailed through an area of the Southern Ocean that is equally as remote and rescue teams have coped successfully with an emergency situation.
Although teams would be tempted to go further south if the Eclipse Waypoint wasn’t included as part of the course, at least they wouldn’t be forced to cross the light wind zone twice and risk losing their hard fought positions at the front of the fleet. The fleet is currently bunching up and those at the tailend, have every chance of sailing through on a new breeze and snatching the lead. Obviously this is what racing is all about but when close, tactical racing suddenly turns in to a lottery which could possibly have been avoided, one has to question the reasons behind the decision.
In such desperate conditions, the fleet is unlikely to reach Eclipse Island until Tuesday morning, maybe longer. However, once past the island, the fleet can then look forward to sliding off south once again in search of new breeze and prepare for the Great Australian Bight and the Notorious Bass Strait which will once again sort out the men/women out from the boys/girls!