Waiting for the Big Send-Off
Waiting for the Big Send-Off
The Big Send-Off
IF SOMEONE GETS AWAY before we get to the bottom of the Bay it's going to be tough to get them back," says movistar's
navigator Andrew Cape, whose team stands second in the Volvo Ocean
Race's overall standings. "Or it could be close all the way up.
Tomorrow the race's seven entries start Leg 6, a short 400-mile hop to
New York City, and with the race's leader ABN AMRO One mathematically unbeatable, it's second place that's now up for grabs.
Getting movistar to New York in good shape, and defending its
half-point lead, however, will be far from straightforward, says Cape.
He and other navigators have done recon in New York in anticipation of
a close finish, but none of the teams have actually sailed this stretch
of water between Annapolis and the Big Apple. They can count on the
typical nearshore hazards of commercial traffic, sandbars, currents,
and geographical oddities, and with such little racetrack don't expect
much variation in their courses.
"No one really knows how to get ally the way up the river into New
York," adds Cape, "and there's not much opportunity to go off on your
own, but someone could really jag something in the river [approaching
New York] and come out a winner."
The forecast from race officials has light winds for the early hours of
the race, but overnight on Sunday winds are expected to rise into the
high teens, providing fast reaching conditions into New York, where
winds may again turn light as the boats approach. If this scenario does
play out, the four Farr boats (movistar, Ericsson, Brasil 1, and Pirates of the Caribbean)
could step out in the opening hours, but once and if the breeze kicks
in, the heavy-air loving ABN boats (One and Two) will bring the fleet
back together. At the approach to New York, a virtual restart is not
out of the question.
The Leg's restart is scheduled for 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, and
unlike the last time this race left Annapolis in 2001) with a
start-and-dash down the Bay, tomorrow's send off keeps them in the Bay
for a short windward/leeward lap.
The start line is to be set North of historic Thomas Point Lighthouse
south of Annapolis. From there, the boats will race north to a turning
mark immediately south of the Bay Bridge, and then it's down and out,
bows pointed towards Norfolk, Va.
The boats were loaded with sails and food before leaving Baltimore last
Thursday, so they're essentially ready to go. Today, crews are
relaxing, tending to VIP and sponsor gigs, or making themselves scarce
among the massing crowds at the Annapolis City Dock. The town in
general was sleepy this morning, with many locals nursing hangovers
from the massive Annapolis Salutes party hosted by Eastport YC and the
Severn Sailing Association on Friday night. Living up to its claim as
the biggest sailing party in America, there were more than 6,000
tickets sold (at $50 a pop), and all of those and more were packed onto
Eastport's grounds, consuming in excess the basics of a sailing
party-live music, beer, and rum.