Chasing the tail of Cyclone Pam

Team SCA left Auckland this morning, three days later than expected, in order to avoid the worst of Cyclone Pam as they head into the Southern Ocean for Leg 5 to Itajai, Brazil.

The fleet sailed out of Waitemata Harbour with a small group of spectator boats in relatively light conditions, these conditions will change as they sail past the easternmost tip of New Zealand and head south towards the Roaring Fourties.

Anna-Lena Elled, OnBoard Reporter, shared her thoughts before heading out.

"A typical sailing strategy in this situation would be to more or less aim for the center of the storm and keep sailing towards the centre as it slowly moves away from you. Sooner or later it will give you a good position and angle for your next way point and the quickest approach possible. We are still going to see fairly strong breeze around the center (which is plenty) and sail as close to it as we dare. The other option is to sail a detour around but Pam is a big weather system and itís a long way around. Itís a difficult and crucial decision to make for the skipper and the navigator and it may determine the whole leg. How much can we push without damaging the boat and the crew? How much risk are we willing to take? Should we make a detour and sail slower and longer but potentially a safer option? There are no right answers to these questions. We know that five of six boats broke and were forced to release the throttle andlimp over the finish line on this particular leg in the last edition of the race, and none of us want to do that.

SCA - Cyclone Pam

Although we have been delayed by three days, what ever happens from now on we are ready. We know itís going to be tough. No matter the route we will meet strong winds and a difficult a sea state lay ahead, but thatís exactly what weíve been training and preparing for, for over two years now. We are really looking forward to some fast downwind sailing in the enthralling Southern Ocean, rounding Cape Horn and the final (most likely a week or so) stretch in the South Atlantic to ItajaŪ"

"The most important thing is safety on this leg and to do well you have to get there in one piece, which is our objective. Playing it safe and not doing anything stupid, get round the Horn in good shape. I am most looking forward to the big waves, the long wave length in the South Pacific, to the cold conditions (which may sound stupid but after warm conditions it will be an exciting change), doing it as a team in this tight one-design race, and hoping we will go around Cape Horn in daylight so we get a good glimpse of it!" - Sam Davies (GBR), Skipper.

"I think the anti-climax of the delayed departure has been good for this leg, it probably would have been too nerve wracking doing the whole process as usual, so with no friends and family here we can push off the dock under the radar and focus on what is waiting for us out there. Cyclone Pam has bought a new element to the leg generally, it is always known as the tough leg and the one everyone is waiting to do, so now there is a bit more to it and a little more nerves for the newbies. My bag is almost bursting with extra warm layers and lots of nice woolly socks so hopefully Iíve got what I need, I think between us we can help each other out and make sure everyone is as comfortable as possible in the cold conditions," - Stacey Jackson (AUS).

"Iím expecting a bit of everything, we have had a few serious and grim meetings, but everyone wants to get on with it. Even my dad is a bit jealous, I think it should be fun. We are hoping to get a good start again, and then keep up with the guys out there, I think there will be a bit of tactical work to be done in the first few days to set ourselves up and then stick with the fleet. We had a good day on Saturday winning the InPort race and I think this has set us up into a positive mindset so we are comfortable heading out today," - Sophie Ciszek (AUS).

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