Stealth Mode is an option the teams can deploy to 'disappear' from view, hiding their position from the opposition.
What is it?
A team in Stealth Mode does not show up on the position reports sent to the other teams (and the public) for three consecutive position reports, giving nearly 24 hours of 'invisibility'.
How does it work?
Every leg, each team has the option to call Race Control and engage Stealth Mode only once. From that moment, the team will not appear on the next three consecutive position reports.
But a team that is in Stealth Mode receives the position reports of the other teams.
For safety considerations, Race Control still gets the position of teams who are in Stealth Mode.
Once the leading boat on a leg is within 200 nautical miles of the finish line, Stealth Mode is over for all boats.
Boats that are within range of each other on AIS (a VHF Radio based safety system that shows the position, heading and speed of boats within approximately 10 nautical miles) are still able to see each other on that system, regardless of Stealth Mode. Teams are not permitted to turn off their AIS.
Why would you use Stealth Mode?
Teams have limited opportunity to make tactical breaks from the rest of the fleet when their position is being broadcast to the fleet every six hours. Engaging in Stealth Mode allows a team to make a break from the pack and gain some leverage without the others knowing what they have done.
Why can't we see boats that are in Stealth Mode?
Stealth Mode only works when teams truly disappear from view which means we don't get to keep hitting the re-fresh button to see where they are. But the reward is in seeing your team make a break for it, and waiting to see how it turns out.