The situtation in the South Atlantic should change in the coming hours with the whole fleet able to sail downwind again. While the leaders are expected to slow down, those behind should accelerate. But for some the wait is long with areas of high pressure persisting…
Armel Le Cléac’h (Banque Populaire VIII): “We’re still in the front in a NNW’ly wind, which has eased in strength, although we’re still averaging 20-22 knots. The front appears to be slowing and losing its intensity, so I’m sticking with it. The seas are calmer, but I can’t tell you what the sky is like, as I have been below sleeping. It’s now much colder, but easier to sleep. On Wednesday evening, the wind is forecast to ease and then for two or three days the air stream looks rather unstable. Those behind us should reduce the gap a bit. There is not much room between the vein of wind and Antarctic Exclusion Zone, so we’ll be sailing along the edge of the Ice Zone.
I’ve been thinking about Vincent Riou. I just heard that he had retired and I’m sad for him. He was one of the favourites, a fantastic competitor, who managed to keep up the speed even without foils. He was always there with us so it can’t be easy for him at the moment. So far, I haven’t hit anything, touch wood.
Our lead over the three chasing boats has widened, as they got behind the front. We’ll see what that really means later, as when we slow down, they will accelerate first as a new low moves in. As long as there isn’t a gap of 500 miles, they are still in the game, as they are still in the same weather system. That was the case four years ago with François Gabart and the other group down under Australia: we made our getaway with Jean-Pierre (Dick). We’ll be entering the Forties this evening and should be off the Cape of Good Hope the day after tomorrow (Friday).”
Kito de Pavant (Bastide Otio): “Since yesterday evening, I must have done about three miles and I have no idea how I’m going to get out of this sticky mess. It’s an area of high pressure that has engulfed me and won’t let me go. The forecasts said I’d get through relatively easily, but that hasn’t happened and I have been stuck for 24 hours with just three knots of wind… I hope this episode will soon come to an end and that we will be able to speed along towards the Cape of Good Hope before too long. I had Cali (Arnaud Boissières) on the phone and he is in the same situation, but those chasing him are catching him.”
Enda O Coineen (Kilcullen Voyager – Team Ireland): “After the Equator 'high' and a" lively' discussion with King Neptune, its been upwind sailing this past past two days. The wind should have been from the East, as for the earlier boats, and not South-East for the past two days - happily it has now reverted. My shoulder injury is getting gradually better - though it still pains. My only other medical issue, if you could call it that, were salt-sores on my posterior from wet or damp clothes. It’s sad that Vincent Riou on PRB, the only previous winner, has dropped out. So, you never know, all I can do is to keep a level head, minimize risk and keep the boat in good shape. The rest is chance. Having left Autumn, had Summer, now it’s Spring as we move straight south along the Brazilian coast - and while tempting to take the shortest straight line towards South Africa - conventional wisdom says stay West and position yourself between weather systems - getting south - as fast as possible to pick up the Roaring Forties - then its East for the next 15,000 miles.”