With modern technology, from the comfort of our armchairs we can easily track the movement of ships wherever they may be positioned.
Rafiki and all the other ARC boats are fitted with two transponders for tracking progress:
AIS (Automatic Identification System). A land based system with a limited range of about 15-20 nautical miles. It does not operate in all areas, and certainly not when the vessel is well out in the ocean. The updates are every few minutes. The web page for viewing this is:
http://marinetraffic.com/ais (click on the highlighted link to open in a new tab/window). There is also an excellent app for the Ipad (Marine Traffic).
Yellow Brick. A satellite based system which will work anywhere in the world, and which is the only way of monitoring progress out in the deep blue water. Updates are not quite so frequent. If you are reasonably proficient with PCs, and you have the time to work things out, the ARC’s Fleet Viewer is fascinating subject for anyone with some knowledge of sailing. Even for those with no sailing experience, it is still very interesting being able to track the route taken to date by every participating yacht. The main viewer, which requires flash and java to be installed, can be found immediately below (opens in new window):
If you are less technically proficient and/or you would like a more straightforward progress update, the non-flash version is more than adequate:
http://yb.tl/arc2012-noflash (click on the highlighted link to open in a new window/tab).
There is also a Yellow Brick app for the Ipad, which works similarly to the non flash viewer.
On the viewing page you will see a Google Map (rather than a chart) of the Atlantic Ocean with a Great Circle line (the shortest possible course projected onto a flat map) running from Las Palmas to St Lucia, and little icons showing the wind strength and direction. With the prevailing winds, most boats will follow that line, but weather conditions have been very unusual this year, often necessitating a change of course. Each boat has a number which is shown on the map at its current position. Rafiki is number 153.
Whilst Rafiki is out in the ocean, there will be blog updates, but these will not contain any new photos.