Code Amber from Thursday

Kingfisher2 ready to set sail on Jules Verne Trophy attempt

Tuesday January 14th 2003, Author: Offshore Challenges, Location: Transoceanic
Since the finish of the Route du Rhum, Ellen MacArthur and the crew of Kingfisher2 have had just seven weeks to prepare their 110ft catamaran for race mode at their base in Lorient. It has been a race against the clock but Kingfisher2 looks set to go on standby from Thursday morning - although this is to be officially confirmed on Thursday . In effect, that means Kingfisher2 is ready to leave the dock within 24 hours once a good "weather window" materialises.

Kingfisher2's German weather router, Dr Meeno Schrader, is studying the weather situation daily in consultation with MacArthur. Schrader has sailed all his life and spent 10 years studying to gain his PhD in Meteorology. He has worked with Team Kingfisher in the EDS Atlantic Challenge (2001), Transat Jacques Vabre (2001) and MacArthur's recent victory in the 2002 Route du Rhum solo trans-Atlantic race. Weather expert Jean-Yves Bernot will act as consultant to help make critical decisions as necessary.

Various weather models are used ranging from a 16-day forecast to a 10-day forecast which provides more reliability, but in reality a call to go would only be made looking at a 3-day weather forecast. At this time of year there is extensive low pressure activity in the North Atlantic that produces strong south-westerlies (completely the wrong direction for the start), as forecast for the end of this week, with only temporary short swings to the SE or more into W-NW.

The ideal weather for the start is for good pressure from a northerly direction, preferably NE, with little swell coming into the Bay of Biscay and then a stable windfield further south along the Portugese coast that can propel Kingfisher2 quickly from the start line down to the Canaries and on to the Equator.

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