VOLVO OCEAN RACE – After a long starboard leg towards the southern tip of Taiwan, there has been something of a tacking frenzy between 1600 and 2200 GMT, when all but PUMA’s Mar Mostro tacked onto port, followed shortly by Telefónica and CAMPER with Emirates Team New Zealand tacking back again. Tonight’s activity is the first in a series of arduous manoeuvres for the fleet in order to free themselves from the claws of the South China Sea.
At 2200 UTC tonight, CAMPER maintained a 10.4 nautical mile (nm) lead over Groupama 4 despite narrowly avoiding a huge unlit buoy earlier, something that navigator Will Oxley described as a ‘complete show-stopper in the dark’. The many oilrigs and platforms that dot the area south of Hong Kong have also kept the crews at the height of awareness for most of today. The team plans to slip just under the southern tip of Taiwan and sneak through the Luzon Strait before the wind shuts down and the whole area becomes a glassy, windless zone.
The solutions on how to exit the South China Sea effectively vary wildly. Options include shooting away to the southeast and just shaving the Philippines, while another suggests heading north around the island of Taiwan. It is a pivotal moment in the leg, where winners can be losers and vice versa. MORE STORY