The Race - 1330 - 12/1/01

Mark Chisnell reports as Team Adventure creep back into the lead

Friday January 12th 2001, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
But the Race Office's Met team seem to have changed their minds about the prospects of pioneering a new route down the middle of two bubbles of the South Atlantic High. "They're certainly going to be skirting the high to the West," estimated Denis Horeau in today's Race Office release.

Weather at 1100, 13/1/01"To go after the strong and powerful westerly winds that will carry them into the 40S latitudes, which they should be able to reach within three days, if they can maintain this speed." he continued. Same as it ever was then - or is it?

Taking a look at the forecast and as scary pictures go, the prediction for Saturday morning ranks up there with the shower scene from Psycho. Even that one isobar has checked out and headed off on holiday. And this seems to be the clue to the shift in the course that Dalton and Lewis have made in the last 24 hours.

They have both edged east on to a heading that's due south. And one reason is that having seen a chart like this, they've decided to bury it in the high because there is no route around the western edge.

The cross hairs on the image above are roughly five hundred miles ahead of the leaders. That's where they would be on Saturday morning if they maintained something close to their current speed. That's possible as the real squirrelly light stuff doesn't start until about 30S in this picture.

Weather at 1100, 14/1/01And looking another 24 hours ahead, the crosshairs on the image (right) are set up another 300 miles further down the track - about where they'd be if they started to slow, but didn't stop. And we can see that the high has receded ahead of them. The theory is that there will be breeze on the edge of the centre, around that central isobaric ring.

They could get this far with reasonable pressure and then choose which way to swing round the real airless zone in front. But frankly, I'm guessing, and with these boats I suspect I'm not the only one still figuring out the new rules of weather strategy. It's going to be an intriguing weekend.

Behind the trail blazers, Loick Peyron has found a way to get Innovation Explorer to match their speed and has held the gap steady at around 250 miles in the last 24 hours.

No such luck for PlayStation, they've bleed another 90 or so miles in the last 24 hours, struggling to fully clear the Doldrums. They crossed the Equator at 0100 GMT on the 12/1/01 in a succession of squalls accompanied by torrential rain.

Warta Polpharma has kept her losses down to the same as PlayStation, which is a pretty good effort. I suspect that yesterday's position for Team Legato, putting them 2,300 nm behind, was a little wacky. They are losing miles, but not that many and not that quickly - but Tony Bullimore is still bringing up the rear, now almost 2000 miles behind the leader.

Standings (at 1100 GMT, 12/1/01)

1 Team Adventure
2 Club Med +1.8 nm
3 Innovation Explorer +246.5 nm
4 PlayStation +703.9 nm
5 Warta Polpharma +997.9 nm
6 Team Legato +1991.5 nm

Click for new window with link to Virtual SpectatorMap images courtesy of Virtual Spectator, click here to go to The Race site for a free download of the software.

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