Long push south
The leaders in the Volvo Ocean Race continue to eat up the miles south, now past Recife, Brazil's easternmost point. Puma and Telefonica are diverging slightly with the Spanish boat erring further east, which means that their respective navigators - weather guru Tom Addis on Puma and race veteran Andrew Cape on Telefonica may have differing views on how the weather ahead will pan out.
“We’ve got to find our way around a few obstacles and the weather right now is looking pretty good for us,” said Cape. “There are also a few opportunities for us to exploit and get in front of Puma and get in there first. That’s the game, that’s the goal, and that’s what we must do – and we will do!”
With the main area of high pressure in the South Atlantic due to make its exit into the Indian Ocean, so the wind is set to lighten today for the leaders. However the tactical teams on the two boats will also be keeping an eye on a secondary depression due to form today along the weak front reaching north up from a depression in the Southern Ocean. This localised depression is forming some 700 miles due south of them, at the latitude of Rio. With these two features the wind is set to head them for a few hours tonight before the easterlies resume and the enormous area of high pressure currently off the coast of South America takes up resident across the breadth of the South Atlantic on Sunday. This will leave a 1500 mile long clear runway of easterlies/northeasterlies.
Behind the lead duo, Camper rounded the Fernando de Noronha turning mark at around 1430 UTC yesterday afternoon. Yesterday late afternoon Camper had closed to within 121 miles of the leaders but overnight they have lost out once again and their deficit is back up to 148 miles.
Bringing up the rear Franck Cammas' Groupama team crossed the Equator at around 1700 UTC and at 0700 this morning had 42 miles still to reach Fernando de Noronha. However the good news for the French team is they seem to have made up a lot of miles. From being 435 miles astern of Puma yesterday morning at 0900, they have closed to 344 miles and are currently the fastest boat in the fleet. With this kind of progress they'll be back in contention by early next week...Mmm