VOLVO OCEAN RACE start for leg 5 start
The fifth leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Rio de Janeiro to Miami, starts today
9 March at 1 30 pm local time, 16:30 GMT.
The 4,450 nautical mile leg, which will take the fleet approximately 19 days to
complete, will involve racing through the trade wind belts of the north and south
Atlantic oceans which are separated by the windless doldrums.
For the first part of the leg, to the north-east corner of Brazil, the fleet will
have to battle against the trade winds and the Brazil current. Here the navigators
face their first choice: they can elect to go offshore, but in doing so, will
sail a longer course, the possible repayment being stronger and steadier winds.
Or, alternatively, if they decide to stay close to the coast, the thermal effects
of the day and night may help with lighter, more favorable winds. The strength
and position of the current will also play its part in the decision-making process.
From the north-east corner, the wind should become more favorable, allowing the
fleet a choice of where to cross the equator and then pass through the doldrums.
In the western Atlantic, the doldrums are usually fairly narrow, so the passage
through should be quick and painless, just a narrow band of squalls and calms
before finding the north-east trade winds on the other side. The equatorial current
will also be giving them a helping hand as they head towards the Caribbean and
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