What is the wind saying - Routing and drifter deployment

With our weather and routing guru Nicolas Lunven onboard, we are lucky to have one of the most experienced and best navigators in the world. Nico is perhaps one of our quietest crew members but should not be underestimated! He is the one that can be found sitting at the computer in the stern of the boat working away on routing, downloading the new weather files and checking the positions of the competitors.

Southern Ocean 7th March 2023: We caught up with Nico on the weather and routing for the coming days - click here to watch the video.

The pack of three boats have entered inside the depression system used by Team Holcim-PRB, meaning they are now in the same weather system. The current low pressure system which Holcim has been riding the front of for many days and which the chasing pack is riding the back of is being pushed further to the south of a large stationary high pressure sitting south of Australia. This means that Holcim loses their “ride" on the front of this low pressure system and the chasing pack will start to catch up with them using the next low pressure coming from the west until they both end up basically using the front of the same low pressure by sometime early on Friday. 

The drawing below shows system A - the one that we are in and system B - the one that PRB has been riding. 

The routing we run on land has Malizia - Seaexplorer coming within 150 nm of Team Holcim-PRB by Friday midday GMT as they are around the longitude of Cape Leeuwin. Since day one, Malizia - Seaexplorer has used her ability to go downwind with a better angle to gain more ground as we can see we have a similar speed but we have used this to create more lateral distance and place ourselves a little more north. It will be interesting to see if this option pays off and puts us in a good flat sea state with a better wind angle as the depression goes a little more southeast.

Click here to watch the video.

How do we obtain this ocean data

Interestingly, a lot of this weather data that we sailors use to navigate is generated from drifter buoys that are deployed throughout the Ocean. During this Southern Ocean leg the competitors deploy 10 of these drifter buoys. Team Malizia has just deployed one such float today which will stay active and gather data for at least the next two years. The drifter buoys float at the top of the ocean surface and transmit atmospheric pressure, temperature and current data via satellite to meteorological organisations like Meteo France and NOAA. This data is then used by many world wide weather forecasters and helps scientists to better understand our one Ocean and climate change. Currents regulate the climate, which is why gathering this data is so important for us to better understand the impact the Ocean is having on climate. 

Click here to see Boris Herrmann deploying the float.

Who is the scoring points (see picture on top)

One major consideration in this leg which is highlighted by Will in the video below, is the aim of the boats to cross the first points gate of this long leg first. Crossing this line will score the teams their first points in Leg 3. This is unique to Leg 3, the last two legs have counted for single points. So by finishing first in Leg 1 or 2, the team was awarded a maximum of 5 points, place 4, four points and so on. In this leg, there is effectively a race within a race. The first five points can be scored by crossing the first “gate” in first place, this is an imaginary line that extends from Cape Otway in Australia in a line to the ice gate. The order in which you cross this first line is the order in which you score your first set of points. The second set of points is scored at the finish line in Itajai and awarded for first, second, third etc… So this leg scores for double points but not in the conventional way. The only other leg scoring double points is the one from the USA to Aarhus which is a standard way of scoring, the boat crossing the finish line first receives the full 10 points. 

A twist to the points can be seen when you take into account the In-Port racing. These short races happen a few days before the leg starts and see the teams racing in laps on a short course in the host city. The races don’t count unless there is a tie of the points at the end of the final leg of the ocean race and then the In-Port race points will be used to decide the overall winner. This is actually what happened in the 2018 edition of The Ocean Race. 

Source: Press info Team Malizia