Sunday, November 27th, will mark the beginning of the second leg in the 2011-’12 Global Ocean Race for double-handed Class40s. Teams will race 7,500 miles for more than a month between the waters of Cape Town, South Africa and Wellington, New Zealand. Due to the increasing risk of stray iceberg debris moving north from Antarctica through the Indian Ocean, a new latitude limit of 42-degrees South for Leg 2 has been set by the GOR Race Committee.
Original GOR fleets traveled closer to the limit of 50 South, covered 6,800 miles in 32 days: the 2011-’12 fleets will have to travel approximately 700 miles further to reach their finish.
Recent fear for fleet safety was generated by consistent satellite and first-hand reports of large ice formations floating further north. Since even the most advanced technology cannot provide guaranteed time-sensative weather readouts, a new southern limit and non-scoring safety checkpoints were distinguished.
With this new limit, though, come new variables. For example, there is potential for strong headwinds created by the conflicting air pressure systems in the southern hemisphere. Tactical advantages of a given team’s vessel design will have to be calculated in real time en route to successful circumnavigation.
For more details on the limit shift, please see the official GOR press release.