Volvo Ocean Race: Pace slows
Positions at 0700
|1||Puma||Ken Read||18 31.450n||060 08.500w||11.03||337||1189.36||0|
|2||Camper||Chris Nicholson||18 14.330n||060 03.950w||10.58||338||1200.58||11.22|
|3||Telefonica||Iker Martinez||18 33.970n||059 50.550w||13.17||349||1203.75||14.39|
|4||Groupama||Franck Cammas||17 17.220n||058 59.850w||13.42||336||1280.63||91.26|
|5||Abu Dhabi||Ian Walker||16 24.000n||059 16.220w||14.5||333||1291.91||102.54|
As the Volvo Ocean Race boats ease out of the trades, so over the last 24 hours the wind has dropped and with it the boat speeds on the VO70s. As ever, Puma has done a fine job and not blinked once to allow her rivals any leeway and 12 days on from the start of leg six in Itajai, still less than 15 miles separates the three boats leading the fleet. However overnight there has been some repositioning with Andrew Cape working his magic and placing Telefonica to the east of the trio.
With the leaders slowing, so there has been compression in the fleet with back marker Abu Dhabi about to close once again to within 100 miles of Puma as she records the highest speed among the five boats. Ian Walker's team are getting back into the fight, now 11 miles astern of Groupama, compared to 31 at the 1900 GMT sched yesterday.
Unfortunately for those at Antigua Sailing Week who were expecting a fly-by, this isn't going to happen with Camper the closest some 103 miles offshore to the ENE.
So what's happening with the weather? The wind is dropping off because to the north of the boats there is an area of high pressure lurking off the Carolinas to the west and another to the SSW of the Canary Islands (the one affecting the Transat AG2R boats) and these are attempting to merge across the breadth of the Atlantic creating a giant hole in the wind presently around 400 miles to the northeast of the VO70 frontrunners.
As the boats continue towards the next turning mark off the course off the Bahamas, so they will increasingly feel the effects of the high off the US east coast with the wind backing into the northeast and turning light tomorrow. To the north there's a monumental depression forming that will span the breadth of the Atlantic come Sunday but both the US and European models indicate this won't quite reach the Volvo race track. Instead, come Sunday and into Monday, the high will be parked over the turning marks and the final passage to Miami and this means that there could well be a further substantial compression in the fleet before the boats reach the finish line.