The fleet is fast approaching a sharp right turn at the Strait Of Malacca. Sailing through it will be a nerve-wracking, sleepless, hell of endless windshifts, unyielding shipping, and a minefield of fishing gear. Sounds like fun, right?
Here's how it sets up:
And here's how VOR Race HQ describes what awaits:
At around 500 nautical miles from north to south the Malacca Strait is the longest in the world used for international navigation. Linking the Indian Ocean with the China Sea the strait is the preferred route for bulk of large scale commercial shipping in the region with more than 500 vessels passing through each day.
As well as keeping well clear of the tankers and cargo ships the crews will also have to dodge huge fleets tiny local fishing boats. Difficult enough to spot in the daytime, at night the boats and nets are often unlit and will pose a truly horrendous challenge to the teams.
The strait is over 200 nautical across at its widest point but narrows to less than 15 nm in the south where the fleet will exit into the South China Sea through the bustling Singapore Strait.
Deep water channels run through the strait but the seabed shelves rapidly to as little as 10 metres in places and is riddled with un-marked wrecks and shoals throughout. To complicate matters further complex tidal flows run up and down the strait at as much as five knots.
It will be enough of a sh*tfight that the VOR website will initiate Live Tracker Coverage of the fleet starting tomorrow.