Friday, December 26, 2008

Cabo de Hornos hits the gas - Portimão Global Ocean

Rooster tail out behind Beluga Racer -
Cabo de Hornos hits the gas by Brian Hancock

With Christmas behind them the sailors racing Leg 2 of the Portimão Global Ocean Race have now turned their sights to the first gate of the course, the Kerguelen Gate now less than 400 miles to their east. The Kerguelen Gate is a line of longitude running due north from the remote Kerguelen Island and is a scoring gate where points are accumulated in the order each competitor passes through the gate.

The points are not as weighty as Leg points, but they can make a big difference to the overall scoring and are therefore coveted. While current race leaders, Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson aboard Team Mowgli have their eyes firmly on the prize, they are being seriously challenged by the Chileans aboard Desafio Cabo de Hornos. To complicate matters, Team Mowgli may well be the on-the-water leaders, but not receive the most points at the Kerguelen Gate. Let me explain.

The Leaderboard is calculated using a set of waypoints between the current positions of the yachts and the end of each leg. Because the world is round the further south you go, the less distance you have to sail. This is called the Great Circle route and is calculated into the distance-to-go number shown on the Race Tracker. Team Mowgli is leading Leg 2 on a distance-to-go basis although Desafio Cabo de Hornos is actually further to the east than the British yacht.

The Chileans are actually closer to the Kerguelen Gate by about 10 miles, however being 240 miles further north, on a distance-to-go basis they are behind Team Mowgli. The Kerguelen gate runs due north from Kerguelen island and it’s the first boat that passes this line of longitude that garners the most points. In fact to further complicate matters, Team Mowgli is only 7 miles closer to the gate than Beluga Racer and at the last poll they were sailing 3 knots slower than the Germans. It could be that Team Mowgli is the lead boat on the water, but passes through the gate in third place. All interesting stuff with a race this close. Read More...