Any room for overtaking?

Photo sent from the boat Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir, on January 7th, 2017 - Photo Yann Elies

Photo envoyée depuis le bateau Queguiner - Leucemie Espoir le 7 Janvier 2017 - Photo Yann Elies

Jean Le Cam et lever du jour

Entering the Doldrums, the skipper of Banque Populaire VIII decided to move slightly further east. In spite of the Canaries low-pressure system upsetting the usual weather patterns in the North Atlantic, to keep his opponent in check, the leader moved to the right hand side of the court. Armel Le Cléac’h moved 55 miles to the east to get in front of Alex Thomson (Hugo Boss) who was more lifted. However the Azores high is settling back in place on Monday evening, as the low in the middle of the ocean implodes at the Tropic of Cancer and slips towards the Caribbean. So there is no way through to the left of the court. The way through using the Newfoundland lows is still blocked by the highs separating out before coming together again. They are going to have to wait until 7°N tonight for the breeze to pick up. The two leaders are on the same route with a separation from N to S of around 150 miles and in terms of speed alone, there is nothing to separate them. There are moments when Armel Le Cléac’h is faster with Alex Thomson still in the Doldrums…

By the end of the weekend, we are not likely to see any real changes, except maybe a some gains for the leader. It is when they approach the tropic of Cancer (23°N) that they may go for different routes to deal with the high, which is settling over the Azores with another cell of high pressure forming south of Newfoundland stretching from the Caribbean to Ireland. It is only when they get close to the Azores high, which is contracting off Spain, or just over 1000 miles ahead that a real upheaval is possible… Calms associated with the Azores high could slow down the leader in this final stretch.

Jérémie Beyou is approaching the Equator less than 500 miles ahead and the Doldrums. The skipper of Maître CoQ is aiming for roughly the same point of entry as his predecessor: 29°30W. There are some corridors of wind in amongst the cumulonimbus which are scatteredup to 5°N. He is likely to lose a hundred miles or so to the three chasing him some 800 miles or so back. It’s ahard to imagine any surprises here, as Beyou will be in the Doldrums, while Jean-Pierre Dick (StMichel-Virbac) is racing along with Yann Eliès (Quéguiner-Leucémie Espoir) and Jean Le Cam (Finistère Mer Vent) in the new easterly trade winds, meaning that they will probably be around three days behind....

Down a long way south towards Cape  Frio, Louis Burton is still making good speeds thanks to a strip of low pressure, which has been pushing him along since the Falklands. Today, he will continue towards the NE to get around Brazil and head for the St. Helena high. But the skipper of Bureau Vallée should expect lighter winds tonight before picking up a northerly off Brazil. Just over 200 miles from Cape Horn, Nándor Fa (spirit of Hungary) has almost ideal conditions to enter Drake Passage tonight. In his wake, Conrad Colman (Foresight Natural Energy) is being dominated by Eric Bellion (Commeunseulhomme) speeding along in the SW’ly flow, which should take them practically all the way to the Atlantic. It is harder for those behind because of the exclusion zone. Boissières-Amedeo and Roura-Wilson are sailing under a high and it looks like they will be in light winds at 54°S…

However, things are looking good for the Catalan sailor, Didac Costa (One Planet-One Ocean) and Romain Attanasio (Famille Mary-Étamine du Lys) who can see a disturbance moving in from the North and a low from New Zealand. They should accelerate significantly. Finally Pieter Heerema (No Way Back) of the Antipodean islands and Sébastien Destremau (TechnoFirst-faceOcean) in the Tasman Sea are in quiter conditions, but that is likely to change shortly.

Dominic Bourgeois/M&M


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