Tricky South Atlantic
Positions at 0830
|1 hour aver||24 hours|
|1||Jean Pierre Dick - Loick Peyron||VIRBAC-PAPREC 3||5 10.50' S||32 07.58' W||14.7||227||4.6||113.1||21586.2||0|
|2||Michel Desjoyeaux - Francois Gabart||FONCIA||5 31.10' S||32 54.72' W||13.7||216||6.1||147.3||21595.4||9.2|
|3||Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes||ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team||3 08.16' S||29 32.94' W||11.3||200||7.8||187.3||21607.5||21.2|
|4||Iker Martinez - Xabi Fernandez||MAPFRE||2 00.60' S||30 32.07' W||9.7||186||6.4||154.4||21695.8||109.5|
|5||Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane||GROUPE BEL||0 45.99' S||28 55.41' W||6.2||196||6.8||166.1||21711.7||125.5|
|6||Dominique Wavre - Michele Paret||MIRABAUD||0 38.67' S||28 47.98' W||2.3||191||5.4||129.2||21714.5||128.2|
|7||Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier||NEUTROGENA FORMULA NORUEGA||0 45.69' N||28 28.19' W||6.7||188||4.2||101.1||21778.9||192.7|
|8||Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris||RENAULT Z.E||1 46.21' N||28 28.26' W||7.2||216||11.1||267.4||21832.3||246.1|
|9||Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella||GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS||1 50.32' N||28 34.44' W||12.8||199||11.1||266||21838.8||252.6|
|10||Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn||HUGO BOSS||5 55.36' N||27 58.27' W||14.4||174||10.3||247.6||22040.6||454.4|
|11||Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio||CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA||6 46.89' N||27 06.80' W||13.3||183||13.2||317.5||22069.3||483.1|
|12||Gerard Marin - Ludovic Aglaor||FORUM MARITIM CATALA||6 44.65' N||27 41.07' W||13.1||176||8.4||202.7||22078.6||492.4|
|13||Jaume Mumbru - Cali Sanmarti||WE ARE WATER||8 31.95' N||28 05.52' W||13.1||186||6.5||159.6||22187.5||601.3|
|ABD||Jean le Cam - Bruno Garcia||PRESIDENT|
Later today the Barcelona World Race will have a new leader when Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes on Estrella Damm pull up into first, as Virbac-Paprec 3 and Foncia peel off to head for Recife, or thereabouts, the former to repair her mainsheet track, the latter to replace her sacrificial bow.
This pitstop will prove costly to both the race leaders and it will be interesting to see how quickly they can be back out to sea and how many places they have lost in the interim. Given that it will probably cost them an extra 200 miles to get them into port and another 200 miles out again, plus the time effecting repairs, we could very easily expect to see the present leaders pulling back into the race just ahead of the trailing group (ie in front of Hugo Boss).
However this will also depend on how the Doldrums behave in the next 48 hours. The mid-fleet are currently in the thick of the ITCZ as we write. Groupe Bel and Mirabaud are the latest to cross the Equator and enter the South Atlantic but they are still in light conditions, their speed over the last hour just 5-7 knots as they head in the southeasterly trades. They are substantially slower than Renault and the boats to the north of her, that have still to negotiate this transition.
As was the case two days ago, the satellite wind radar images are showing that the southeasterlies aren't filling in until around 2.5°S. As a result the compression in the fleet continues with for example Hugo Boss now 433 miles astern of Estrella Damm, compared with 486 at the same time yesterday.
Meanwhile the focus is now on the weather in the South Atlantic. At present the St Helena high is the phase where it is trying to slink off towards South Africa. It is currently centred some 1000 miles due west of Cape Town. Thus had the Barcelona World Race started a week earlier there would be a fine corridor of favourbale northwesteries to speed down to get to the Roaring 40s. Unfortunately this won't be the case. Come Monday the high is still centred to the west of South Africa, but a depression will be encroaching into the southwest quadrant of the South Atlantic and another smaller area of high pressure forming to the east of Rio. Given this forecast the leaders will have little choice other than to virtually shave the Brazilian coast in order to stay in favourable breeze. The weather still hasn't sorted itself out come Wednesday next week when the high in fact descends all the way down to 40degS. This could mean that for the leaders, rather than seeing the wind nicely back around to the northeast, allowing them to turn their bow on course, they could be facing easterlies, or worse southeasterlies, all the way to the Roaring Forties. So perhaps a pitstop in Brazil is no bad choice...