One look at the course, slaloming through all of the main islands, is enough to explain why this race is The Hawaiian Zig Zag.
But one look at the polar chart makes it clear that some of the zigzagging will come from avoiding the speed trough on the beam when the wind is in single digits.
Light airs are common in the channels between the islands. The tradewinds blow in from the east, but split when they encounter Hawaii’s volcanic mountains.
Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, on The Big Island, extend 13,784ft and 13,680 ft respectively above sea level. Add in 10,025ft Halealeka on Maui and you get quite a wind shadow. The combination of the slalom course, the lumpy polar, and light airs made for active skippering.
Like a game of Association Football, there is more than an element of luck involved in doing well in a virtual ocean race on SOL. And this element of luck is certainly borne out by my results so far in the SWR 14-15: 75, 287, 47, 9, 52 and now p2!
But if you indulge me in the conceit that I know what I am doing, shared by many football managers, for example like my fellow Haagenees who bankrupted Rangers pursuing glory, and is now certain that he will have saved Sunderland if they stay up, I will tell you the tale of how:
We followed the swings of the wind;
A struggle that seemed without end.
To starboard or port?
Well South, but not North!
To our monitors we were all pinned.
When Andrea [ita10267] first suggested that we could race with winds forecast in high resolution I was blown away. I believed the potential benefit from such winds to SOL and SOLers would be immense — at least in theory.
But would we be able to see the difference in the winds?
Would the winning routes be different from those sailed with lower resolution winds?
And how would the high resolution winds work with routing software?
In the last chapter I’ve explained my approach to VMC-sailing, now let’s poke some holes into it. I do believe that a constant VMC target is the optimum solution for wind changing over time. That however leaves one mortal flaw: wind changes over space!
Hitting islands is an easy and entirely too common way to ruin your race. The best SOLers do it once in a while. And of course there was the much talked about Vestas grounding. So how do we avoid this?
First off, no, Team Vestas were not taking any ‘risks’. To hit a fairly wide reef right in the middle, they had to be blissfully unaware of the obstacle.
Today I’ll put things in practice and route the Capetown – Abu Dabi race. As a handicap, I will only work with the COGOW prevailing winds charts. I have not run a software route of this course since May.
Here I’m going to outline the fundamental principles how I tackle WX routing. Honestly my approach is entirely intuition (or software of course), so I don’t have a strict formal way… but the basics are very true.