200 miles to go
At 0703UTC this morning, the Iker Martinez-skippered Telefonica had 200 miles to go before reaching Cape Town. At her present speed of 12.6 knots, this will have her across the finish line in the early hours of tomorrow morning, however she is likely to speed up and her ETA is likely to come forwards until this evening.
At present Telefonica and Camper are to the northeast of the more easterly of two bubbles of high pressure to the west of South Africa and the further they sail away from the centre of the high, the more the breeze will increase. In fact by the time Telefonica reaches Cape Town conditions are likely to be lively, with 30+ knots forecast from the southeast.
The situation is not so rosey for Franck Cammas' team on Groupama. With the easterly bubble of high pressure blocking their way to Cape Town, so yesterday at 1700 the green and orange VO70 gybed south - at pretty much 90° to the course to try and round the west side of the easterly high. Unfortunately the forecast indicates the door is set to fully close on the French team as over the course of today the two bubbles of high pressure are due to merge, completely blocking the direct route to Cape Town. If Groupama was to attempt to sail directly to Cape Town she would face having to cross a 250 miles band of little to no wind. As the high elongates and turns into a ridge tomorrow, matters are made worse by its position shifting north towards South Africa. The forecast doesn't have this situation improving until Tuesday...