On to the Southern Ocean rollercoaster
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||Jean Pierre Dick - Loick Peyron||VIRBAC-PAPREC 3||40 43.19' S||3 02.92' E||19.5||81||16.9||409||18793.2||0|
|2||Michel Desjoyeaux - Francois Gabart||FONCIA||40 18.75' S||2 31.83' E||18.5||89||15.1||363.4||18821.5||28.3|
|3||Iker Martinez - Xabi Fernandez||MAPFRE||39 40.13' S||8 06.72' W||17.1||114||16.5||395.8||19307.7||514.6|
|4||Alex Pella - Pepe Ribes||ESTRELLA DAMM Sailing Team||39 06.03' S||11 25.57' W||17.9||123||13.9||334.3||19465.7||672.5|
|5||Kito de Pavant - Sebastien Audigane||GROUPE BEL||38 47.81' S||11 40.08' W||18.1||119||12.8||313.1||19480.8||687.6|
|6||Pachi Rivero - Antonio Piris||RENAULT Z.E||38 14.58' S||12 31.34' W||15.7||100||15||360.9||19528.2||735|
|7||Dominique Wavre - Michele Paret||MIRABAUD||37 44.20' S||14 25.57' W||14.6||127||12.1||290.8||19623.2||830|
|8||Boris Herrmann - Ryan Breymaier||NEUTROGENA FORMULA NORUEGA||36 52.50' S||15 25.87' W||15||129||11||265.2||19685.6||892.4|
|9||Dee Caffari - Anna Corbella||GAES CENTROS AUDITIVOS||36 24.27' S||15 58.22' W||12.5||142||10.1||242.8||19720.1||926.9|
|10||Juan Merediz - Fran Palacio||CENTRAL LECHERA ASTURIANA||34 07.71' S||18 26.53' W||9.9||128||7.5||180.5||19887.9||1094.8|
|11||Wouter Verbraak - Andy Meiklejohn||HUGO BOSS||34 47.94' S||19 57.91' W||11||126||5.8||139.7||19937.2||1144|
|12||Jaume Mumbru - Cali Sanmarti||WE ARE WATER||33 04.29' S||21 31.10' W||4.9||191||4.2||99.8||20053.3||1260.1|
|13||Gerard Marin - Ludovic Aglaor||FORUM MARITIM CATALA||32 21.76' S||22 52.09' W||4.4||122||3.6||86.1||20133.5||1340.3|
|ABD||Jean le Cam - Bruno Garcia||PRESIDENT|
Foncia regained visbility at the first sched this morning, popping up five miles astern of Barcelona World Race leader Virbac Paprec 3. Since then her deficit has increased 28 miles, although we're not sure how this has happened in just four hours... Both boats at present are passing the Atlantic Gate, Foncia to the north and Virbac Paprec 3 just below it but closing on its eastern end. At present Virbac Paprec 3 is around 700 miles west of the longitude of Cape Town, both boats back into the stiff northwesterly record breaking-type winds (watch the 24 hour run figures later today). The speeds of the Dick-Peyron crewed IMOCA 60 and that of her rival are now back up to 16.9 and 15.1 knots respectively. We suspect Dick and Peyron on the blue boat may have the extra pace by nature of their being some 25 miles south of Foncia's track, where there is more breeze.
In third place, Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez on Mapfre passed to the north of Gough Island at around 0230 this morning. The Spanish 49er Olympic medallists found the new breeze yesterday morning and have since been notching up similar speeds to the leaders. At the final sched last night they in fact held the high score in the fleet, having averaged 19 knots over the previous hour, showing that MichDes' Vendee Globe winning former Foncia still has legs.
Behind them the fourth to seventh placed boats - Groupe Bel, Estrella Damm, Renault and Mirabaud - were also into the breeze (thankfully, at last) by the final sched yesterday while this morning the next duo of Neutrogena and Gaes also appear to be out of the woods.
In terms of the weather a massive depression is rolling past the fleet and is currently centred some 900 miles due south of the leaders and it is the welcome southwesterlies in the upper left quadrant of this that the tailenders are encountering. However it unlikely to last for them as the depression rolls east, dumping the tailenders back in the high later today. Fortunately this won't last long as another depression is lining up to the west and the mid-fleet should feel the first effects of the northwesterlies preceeding this over the course of tonight. What this will means is that Virbac Paprec and Foncia will effectively be a Southern Ocean weather system ahead of those trailing which makes us want to start using phrases such as 'insurmountable lead'.
Looking further ahead, the long term forecast is looking okay for the leaders, now firmly on the Southern Ocean rollercoaster ride, but those trailing are once again going to have a hard time particularly towards the end of the week, when the high pressure they have become so familiar with decides to follow them round to the south of South Africa.