• 05-FEB-2015

Leg 4 animation

This north-south leg can take you much further north than expected to start with. It will also have the flavour of a homecoming for all the Kiwi sailors involved in the race. 
Let's hope for the South China Sea conditions to be better than last time. This time around the one-design boats will be able to take on tougher conditions, but the crew will get seasick anyway. Anyone willing to try the new class should not pick that leg!
The Luzon Strait can be very windy. The course to take will depend on the strength of the trade winds. If they are well established in Luzon, you can head directly to the Solomon Islands in the southeast. If they are not, you will have to go to the east, even sometimes to the north. Last time PUMA and Groupama went pretty close to Japan – that was one extreme option. It's the proof that in offshore racing, the quickest way isn't always the most logical or the shortest one.
Another doldrums crossing around the Solomon Islands and an interesting passage through the archipelago before to find the trade winds once again. Only this time they are affected by the Tasman Sea. There is some tropical activity in this area: any small doldrums storm can develop into a tropical storm when drifting south. One of these could very well get between the fleet and the leg finish in Auckland.
West or east, two different approaches of the New Zealand northern tip are possible depending on how steady systems are. Finally it's some coastal sailing to the City of Sails.