Slow 48 hours ahead for the leaders
Image above courtesy of Expedition Navigation Systems and PredictWind. See a bigger version here. If you can't see the whole of the table below (this depends which browser you use), scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Positions at 0830 GMT
|1 hour aver||24 hours|
|1||Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes||ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team||20 21.77' S||28 12.95' W||6.1||175||8.7||209.8||20723.5||0|
|2||Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane||GROUPE BEL||18 18.02' S||28 37.07' W||7.8||174||9.9||238.4||20831.6||108.1|
|3||Dominique Wavre - Michele Paret||MIRABAUD||17 44.59' S||29 36.42' W||10.3||150||10.1||241.3||20893.7||170.2|
|4||Iker Martinez - Xabi Fernandez||MAPFRE||20 40.48' S||32 57.52' W||9||162||9.4||224.4||20894.6||171.1|
|5||Jean Pierre Dick - Loick Peyron||VIRBAC-PAPREC 3||GHOST|
|6||Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier||NEUTROGENA FORMULA NORUEGA||16 07.32' S||30 28.12' W||10.3||151||9.5||229.1||20999.9||276.4|
|7||Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella||GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS||14 00.19' S||27 47.45' W||11.9||177||11.5||275.7||21004.9||281.4|
|8||Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris||RENAULT Z.E||14 25.04' S||28 49.23' W||11.2||174||10||245.1||21020.7||297.2|
|9||Michel Desjoyeaux - Francois Gabart||FONCIA||21 53.14' S||37 28.47' W||12.9||223||6.7||159.7||21030.5||307|
|10||Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn||HUGO BOSS||12 07.00' S||29 04.46' W||13.3||167||10.6||254.6||21140.6||417.1|
|11||Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio||CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA||10 35.53' S||27 46.61' W||12.2||166||10.2||246||21172.5||449|
|12||Jaume Mumbru - Cali Sanmarti||WE ARE WATER||9 19.92' S||28 03.12' W||12||176||9.6||236||21244.6||521.1|
|13||Gerard Marin - Ludovic Aglaor||FORUM MARITIM CATALA||8 17.62' S||30 08.33' W||11.8||184||7.8||188.4||21364.9||641.4|
|ABD||Jean le Cam - Bruno Garcia||PRESIDENT|
Going into 'stealth/ghost/furtif' mode, or whatever you wish to call it - doesn't seem to be working out so well. Spanish heroes Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez on Mapfre came visible again at the final sched yesterday in third place having taken a route to the west of race leaders Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes on Estrella Damm, leaving them now equidistant between their Spanish rivals and the westerly duo of Foncia and Paprec Virbac 3 (around 250 miles from each). Since then they have lost third place to Dominique Wavre and Michele Paret on Mirabaud.
Last night Jean-Pierre Dick and Loick Peyron on Virbac Paprec 3 have gone 'stealth' and won't reappear again until tomorrow afternoon.
The road ahead remains a tricky one for the leaders with a giant wall of high pressure ahead of them and nowhere to run. The positioning between the boats is down to each crew's call on where they think they can make the best of the light patch that lies in front of them.
Already the leaders have slowed, Estrella Damm recording 6.1 knots over the last hour, while those cruising up from astern are making 11-13 and it looks like there is more of this to come with a 500 mile stretch to their south showing winds of no more than 5 knots...
Over the last 24 hours there has already been some compression. For example 24 hours ago Wouter Verbraak and Andy Meiklejohn on Hugo Boss were some 461 miles from the leader. This morning this is down to 417.
It could be another 24-48 hours before the easterly group find the breeze with the wind filling in from the east or even ESE. This will prove good for those behind as they are likely to get the new breeze at a similar time to the leaders.
Some 500 miles off the west of Estrella Damm, Foncia is fairing better having averaged 12.9 knots over the last hour in some favourable breeze being generated by a shallow depression centred over Rio. Despite having dropped to ninth place overall Foncia is now the most southerly boat in the fleet. Foncia still has some west in her heading (the rest of the leaders have begun to swing their bows to port) but it looks like it could be another 24 hours before she can start heading east.
Later this week, as we said yesteday, the high continues to span the width of the south Atlantic at around 40degS and it looks like all the crews will be hoping to slip past its western extremity and make for the favourable westerlies to the south of the high, taking them into the Roaring Forties prior to having to come north again to round the mandatory first way point of Gough Island to the north. The question is - will it be Estrella Damm or Foncia that makes it there first? This is likely to be decided in the next 48 hours.