Eyeing the Southern Ocean weather

Volvo Ocean Race leaders now approaching the latitude of Rio de Janiero

Sunday November 20th 2011, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

Chart above courtesy of Expedition/Tasman Bay Navigation Systems and PredictWind.

Not a great deal to report on the Volvo Ocean Race today. The leaders are now approaching the latitude of Rio and are still attempting to skirt around to the east of a localised weak depression centred about 280 miles to their southwest, the wind still in the northeast at around 10-15 knots, the boats still making good speed.

Telefonica has been slightly down speed this morning. Puma stopped the rot at around midnight last night when her deficit had got up to 54 miles miles astern of the Spanish leaders and is now back down to 42. Similarly Camper is back to being 168 miles behind the leader having been 175 mile behind at 0130. On a track to the west of the leaders, Groupama continues to drop back now 434 miles off the pace compared to 416 yesterday.

As ever the nav teams on the boats will be feverishly pouring over the weather for next week. At present the PredictWind European model still has the monster high, currently straddling the breadth of the South Atlantic at 40°S shifting slowly east and slightly north - it centre forecast to move from around 40°S 19°W be around 36°S 10°W by tomorrow morning, to 37°S 10°W come Tuesday morning, 36°S 04°W on Wednesday morning, before it gets swished north and west into a ridge by the onset of a Southern Ocean depression on Friday. The aim will be to get around the southwest side of the high before its turns into a ridge. For the leaders this is just about achievable however for those behind it looks like it will be a classic case of 'the door being closed' on them. The American GFS model pretty much agrees with this and only differs in the shape of the ridge come the end of the week, which has the leaders having to cross the ridge before they reach Cape Town. 

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