The meteorological malais is spreading across the Mini Transat fleet and, as we anticipated yesterday, only those at the very front are currently being spared as a depression, lost in the southern portion of the North Atlantic, zaps the Trade Winds.
And so the rich get richer. Back in charge in the Proto fleet, Italian Giancarlo Pedote on the 2011 race winning scow Prysmian has doubled his lead on Benoît Marie on benoitmarie.com, now up to 40 miles with 566 miles left to sail or just over two days at present speeds. In the south and away from the stronger breeze, Rémi Fermin on Boreal has suffered and from being 114 miles behind the leader in terms of DTF yesterday, is now 182 mile astern.
Series class leader Aymeric Belloir on Tout le Monde chante contre le Cancer has similarly been making hay, extended from 125 miles to 157 miles over second placed talented Swiss sailor, Justine Mettraux on TeamWork.
But the real news is the mid-Atlantic park up that is taking place behind. While by all rights they should be blasting down the trade winds with kites hoisted, those at around 38-40°W find themselves facing light heads. In the Series class, Jean-Baptiste Lemaire on Oeuvre du marin breton and Tanguy Le Turquais on Terreal - reve d'enfance, lying in fourth and fifth place have barely eeked out more than two knots between the last scheds, while it is a similar story in particular for Nicolas Boidevezi on Nature Addicts and Michele Zambelli on Fontanot, eighth and tenth respectively in the Protos.
The shallow depression causing the light headwinds is currently centred at 26°N 39°W, a fraction north of the great circle between the Canaries and Guadeloupe, however the forecast is now looking a good deal better than it was yesterday. The latest info shows the depresison heading northeast over the next 48 hours, so that by Sunday night it is just east of the Canaries. This will still reap havoc for the backmarkers but will allow the trade winds to fill in in the western Atlantic, which will be good for the leaders. It now looks like the trade winds will be back to situation normal by Tuesday next week, rather than Wednesday. However the forecast is still very much benefitting those at the front of the fleet.
Sole British competitor, Pip Hare on The Potting Shed has had a blazing 24 hours. Her northerly gybe in Wednesday has paid dividends elevating her from 18th place 594 miles behind the Series leader to 15th 598 miles behind over the last 24 hours, although, alarmingly, her speed over the last hour has been -0.2 miles, suggesting something is amiss.
Latest sched here