As Plato said, “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers”. I’m not sure he would have made a great navigator in the Volvo Ocean Race, because, as we’ve seen, numbers are not everything.
For those of us watching since the start on October 11, in the comfort of our homes or offices, it’s been fascinating to follow the constant big decisions and ‘leg deciders’ that the teams have had to make.
It’s also worth remembering that while we spectators have 3 hour updates and a world of information available to us, the teams only have position reports every 6 hours and must guess, assume and calculate what the other boats are doing. I’m also assuming that every one of us armchair tacticians gets 8 hours sleep a night and eats pretty well.
Spare a thought then for the brains and bodies of these guys and girls. Despite all this mental and physical effort, the hardest part of the race may be yet to come.
Once they hook into the systems down around 40deg south, it will become a test of stamina, endurance and also management of the sails and equipment. A 20-mile lead can disappear in less than an hour if a sail is blown or a winch becomes inoperable.
Finally, and despite everything the weather has thrown at them, it looks like the approach to Cape Town may yet see the leaders slowed again by light winds.