With all the different styles of racing this leg has thrown at the Volvo Ocean Race fleet, its now a long inshore race along the coast of Vietnam.
Every boat has chosen to go inside the oil field exclusion zone to get to the land where they can make the most of the local effects every sailor knows about from their local waters, but none of the Volvo Ocean 65 racers are local so relying heavily on the charts and navigator to maximize the gains while keeping safe away form rocks.
The tacking frequency is about once every hour on average the last few days, limiting sleep as they grind out the last 48-72 hours.
In the big scheme of things the wind is stable and consistent at 14-15kts, following the coast of Vietnam, slowly going left the further round they go. But as with all coastal sailing, bays have a localized effect on the wind which the fleet is all trying to use to their own advantage.
As the Vietnamese coast starts to curve away from rhumbline, the point will come where the teams have to decide between two options. Their choices will be to stay inshore working the coast and break off late to Sanya, or break off early in the hope of finding stronger wind offshore.
The routing options for this part of the leg are all saying to go offshore… but who will pull the trigger first?
Source : Sailing Scuttlebutt www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/