Fierce conditions await Fastnet Volvo Open 70s
Sunday’s start in Cowes will be slow but the three Volvo Ocean Race boats in the Rolex Fastnet Race can expect a fast downwind ride into Plymouth.
Weather expert Gonzalo Infante has been crunching the data in the build-up to the race and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing, Groupama Sailing Team and Team Sanya could be close to the record time of one day 20 hours and 18 minutes if the forecast doesn’t change.
“We’re not expecting a fast start but by the middle of the race the boats will be at close to the extreme range of what they can do,” infante said on the eve of the race.
“The boats will have to sail upwind through the Solent against strong currents in the first mile. They will only start building speed when the wind shifts to northwest. After the Scilly Isles a new southwesterly wind will build progressively and as the boats get closer to the Fastnet Rock the wind will build huge waves, making wild conditions with winds of 25 to 35 knots.
“After the boats pass Fastnet Rock, the teams can expect the boats to be jumping across the waves. It will be a good test for the structure of the boats.”
The race starts at 1200 GMT on Sunday for Volvo Open 70s and Infante said the projected finish for the leaders would be between 0600 and 1200 GMT on Tuesday.
Originally from Alicante, the starting point for the Volvo Ocean Race in October, Infante is an experienced professional sailor and a trained meteorologist.
Rolex Fastnet Race – Plymouth, Cowes, UK – August 14-19, 2011
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