2014 - 15 Volvo Ocean Race - Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing opts for western option. The thermally driven ocean currents that circle the world’s oceans play a huge part in global weather systems. As the warm waters of the equatorial flow move west they hit the Brazilian coastline exactly where the fleet are currently sailing. As it nears the coast it splits north, eventually becoming the Gulf Stream, and south, the south equatorial current.
Approximately 25nm off the coast there is an underwater cliff where the depth changes from 3000+ meters to less than 50m.
As the current gets near this cliff edge, it will follow along it. This is where we might see some gains for Team Alvimedica and Abu Dhabi
Ocean Racing as they may get to the faster water before the other boats
The angle of flow with them will be pushing them from behind, however, for the rest of the fleet, it will be more side on.This could affect the apparent wind speed of the boats - effectively meaning Alvimedica and Abu Dhabi will have around one knot pushing them forwards with the wind, and the others have one knot of wind pushing them sideways away from the wind.
SCA have had a hard day, feeling like they were down on speed compared to the fleet they did a back down to clear the foils from any debris they may have collected.
All the boats wait in anticipation of the south-easterly trade winds, which at the moment look like they will power the fleet through the notoriously dull doldrums!