The Race - 0900 - 29/1/01
There's quite a sharp left turn in the track of Innovation Explorer (green) overnight, which could indicate a problem with either the weather or the boat. Peyron is close to that gap in the isobars on the chart and they may have hit a light spot in the breeze - or perhaps there was more sail trouble. Either way, their speed was back up to the mid-20s by the 0700 report, so if they had a problem it was temporary.
Club Med (blue) continue their smooth progress towards skipper Grant Dalton's homeland, scorching along the top of that big low pressure to their south. What's been worrying Dalton is the passage through the Cook Strait between the North and South Island of New Zealand. That will force them north out of the Southern Ocean and away from the big low pressure systems, and you can just see a high pressure that's killing the breeze in the Tasman Sea at the moment on the far right of the above image.
Looking ahead, conditions are much more promising for the middle of the week (above) as the high pressure moves over Tasmania, and that big low pressure that Club Med is currently riding on continues to go east. Between these two systems there is a highway of westerly breeze all the way up to Cook Strait and out the other side.
Dalton will be hoping that this breeze holds up until he can get back into the Southern Ocean. But with Peyron now debating a stop-over in Wellington to pick up new sails, it seems only a breakdown can realistically stop Club Med's regal progress.
continued on page two
Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to The Race site for a free download of the software.