Slow progress of the VOR fleet brings shortened course and delay for the In-port racing 8/6/06

Due to the lack of winds that have slowed the progress of the fleet on leg 8 of the Volvo Ocean Race 2005-06 from Portsmouth to Rotterdam, the decision has been taken to delay the In-Port race by a day to Sunday 11 June.

With just under 500 nautical miles to sail to the finish, the expected time of arrival into Rotterdam has shifted to late Friday evening or Saturday morning.

At a meeting with race management, syndicate and port representatives, chaired by Volvo Ocean Race CEO Glenn Bourke, all parties felt it prudent to change the date in order to give the crews sufficient preparation time given the late arrival into Rotterdam.

The start time for Sunday’s race has also altered from the original time of 12.30 to 11.00am local time.

Glenn Bourke commented: “The weather prognosis we have is not conducive to the fleet finishing in time to compete in the in-port race on Saturday. We have shortened the course as much as we can and there are no more avenues that are available to us.

“It is imperative that we hold the in-port race as many of the teams still have an opportunity to improve on their overall positions. It is just an unfortunate set of circumstances that have led to this decision. We have done what we feel is best for all stakeholders in the race – but ultimately we are in the lap of the wind gods.”

The race committee made the decision to shorten the course, which will take the fleet around Duncansby Head on mainland Scotland and through the Pentland Firth, rather than round Fair Isle which is situated between the Orkney and Shetland Islands

Although this new course will save the fleet approximately 76 nautical miles, it raises a huge tactical and navigational challenge, enhanced by the light airs dominating the fleet. Ironically, there now appears to be more wind now in the north, which makes an interesting dilemma for the navigators: whether to sail a longer course in more wind, or take a short cut through the Pentland Firth in less wind.

In another change to the Rotterdam programme, the Volvo Extreme 40s will compete in a series of races on Saturday on the course designated for the Volvo Open 70’s in-port race and spectators will also be able to enjoy the arriving of the Volvo Open 70’s.