The Race - 1430 - 9/1/01
And looking at the bigger weather picture (above), we can see that while the south-east trades look less than a day's sailing away from these boats, the South Atlantic High is a different level of problem altogether. It is dominating its eponymous ocean.
And looking at the forecast for Friday morning (right), it doesn't seem like the situation is set to change much. It certainly looks like the leading pair will need to get west, to run down the Brazilian coast in that narrow strip of north-easterly breeze that will give them downwind conditions on the western side of the high. But they should have no problem getting there in the south-easterly trades.
In fact, once they start moving after the Doldrums their easterly position will pay handsomely, as they will be able to sail at a wider wind angle and really smoke some miles. Peyron's gamble in the west has to pay for him before they leave the Doldrums - we should know the result by tomorrow morning. That's the thing about The Race, you don't have to stick around long to see how the choices panned out.
PlayStation (red) have also taken a big loss in the miles on the rankings to get west, and seem to agree with the choice of Jean Yves-Bernot and Loick Peyron - they have been tracking Innovation Explorer's route down the Atlantic. Navigator Stan Honey reckoned earlier, "We are tracing our route west through the Cape Verde Islands, because we estimate that we should be going now. It will be more penalising to do it later, further south. Apparently Innovation Explorer made the same deductions as us. It will be interesting to know when, and if, Cam Lewis or Grant Dalton will decide to go a little further west."
Further back, Warta Polpharma sailed along the African coast as far as the Mauritanian frontier before tracking west, they should pass the Cape Verde Islands today. Meanwhile, Team Legato was making very slow progress, and still only 227 miles from Gibraltar this morning, beating to windward near the Canaries.
Standings (at 1300 GMT, 9/1/01)
1 Club Med
2 Team Adventure +37.6 nm
3 Innovation Explorer +178.4 nm
4 PlayStation + 561.9 nm
5 Warta Polpharma +716.5 nm
6 Team Legato +1695 nm
Map images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to The Race site for a free download of the software.