South Atlantic road map required
Positions at 0830 GMT
|1 hour aver||24 hours|
|1||Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes||ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team||16 54.45' S||29 38.61' W||11.5||164||10.1||242.7||20933.3||0|
|2||Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane||GROUPE BEL||14 04.19' S||29 44.90' W||11||169||10.2||250.5||21070||136.7|
|3||Iker Martinez - Xabi Fernandez||MAPFRE||GHOST|
|4||Dominique Wavre - Michele Paret||MIRABAUD||13 37.43' S||30 58.49' W||11.7||176||9.5||232.4||21135||201.7|
|5||Michel Desjoyeaux - Francois Gabart||FONCIA||17 08.74' S||36 35.67' W||13.7||165||8.3||198.3||21190.2||256.9|
|6||Jean Pierre Dick - Loick Peyron||VIRBAC-PAPREC 3||16 05.61' S||35 53.21' W||16.1||198||10.2||245.1||21207.9||274.6|
|7||Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier||NEUTROGENA FORMULA NORUEGA||11 51.27' S||31 15.05' W||11||183||9.8||238.9||21229||295.7|
|8||Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris||RENAULT Z.E||10 00.05' S||29 33.53' W||11.5||176||9.9||243.6||21260.9||327.6|
|9||Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella||GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS||8 48.89' S||28 21.67' W||13.6||190||9.8||234.4||21280.6||347.3|
|10||Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn||HUGO BOSS||7 16.61' S||29 30.76' W||13||187||8||196.1||21395.3||461.9|
|11||Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio||CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA||5 47.16' S||27 50.31' W||10.4||183||8.6||211.9||21418.5||485.2|
|12||Jaume Mumbru - Cali Sanmarti||WE ARE WATER||5 01.54' S||28 27.18' W||10.4||184||8.2||201.4||21476.5||543.2|
|13||Gerard Marin - Ludovic Aglaor||FORUM MARITIM CATALA||4 08.49' S||29 28.04' W||11.6||212||4.5||110.6||21553.2||619.9|
|ABD||Jean le Cam - Bruno Garcia||PRESIDENT|
Which way to go? As mentioned in our last update, the South Atlantic is far from orderly at the moment where an area of high pressure might normally be in its centre allowing the boats to neatly skirt to the west of it in favourable breeze. Instead the high is sloping off beneath South Africa, leaving the weather confused in its wake and an intensifying Southern Ocean depression backing up to the west of it.
This leaves the crews wondering on the best course to take. Most are continuing to head due south, however race leaders Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes on Estrella Damm have begun to put some east into their heading. Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez aboard Mapfre continue to lurk around having well timed their going into 'stealth' mode. It will be interesting to see where they emerge later today - will they have hung on to second place?
Meanwhile the former leaders Virbac Paprec 3 and Foncia are now on their way again after respectively repairing their mainsheet track and sacrificial bow in Recife. Foncia was the first to leave and hey presto, now leads this private round the world match race. But check out their courses - they are hugging the coast of Brazil and on a course slightly to the west of due south. Foncia is now at around the same latitude as Estrella Damm, but some 400 miles to her west. This tactic will give them more miles to sail but in better pressure, as born out by the latest sched where they are the two fastest boats.
So what is the forecast? 24 hours hence, the Southern Ocean depression gets the better of the high which is squished north. Another significant area of high pressure lies to the west of the depression, centred at 40degS with a weak depression forming to its northwest (ie some 750 ESE of Rio).
Come Wednesday morning the two giant bubbles of high pressure have merged but still centred a long way south (around 38deg) and the smaller depression off Rio appears to be weakening. This latter depression will be the key hurdle over the next 48 hours - the leaders, presumably including Mapfre, look set to skirt this to the east, on the shorter course in northeasterlies or southeasterlies, while Foncia and Virbac Paprec 3 will round it to the west in stronger northwesterleis.
By Thursday the high hasn't moved, but we can expect to see the westerly duo turning their bows east in northeasterlies while the easterly group will find themselves more headed in easterly breeze.
However looking ahead to next weekend the high continues to reside with its centre around 38-40degS as the forecast has the high merging with yet another area of high pressure forming to the west. So both groups look like that at some point over Friday-Sunday they will be nailed by light winds. There is the added issue of the Atlantic Gate to the southwest of South Africa, at 42degS which they must stay north of. So ducking below the high, into the high 40s in favourable winds which would appear to be a possible option for Foncia and Virbac Paprec 3, probably won't be due to this.