21 January 2021 - 07:26 • 13088 views

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For the leaders who are 1000 or so miles SSW of the Azores this morning this stretch of the Atlantic is not as cooperative as it was forecast to be. Charlie Dalin is calculated to be 160 miles ahead of Louis Burton but the high pressure they are expecting to cross is more unstable and with lighter winds than expected as it moves eastwards. This can present opportunities again for the chasing groupe of boats as the leaders slow.

As the anticyclone evolves it is looking like it will not prove as quick and easy for the leaders to join the dots and connect into the low pressure train coming from the west, aiming to get to the favourable SW’ly at the Azores.

It is looking light then for the leaders for the coming 24 hours, through until Friday morning. There will still be wind but not as much as was hoped for. And as the high moves east and south the trade winds will diminish progressively down this part of the Atlantic.

In the medium term it does seem like the leaders will converge, compacting again more, close to the Azores. And the differential between Louis Burton (Bureau Vallée 2) and Charlie Dalin (Apivia) is far from conclusive in either way right now. There is now 300 miles of lateral offset between Burton in the west and Dalin in the east but, increasingly, speeds and angles suggest they are moving into the high at the same time and will slow at around the same time.

That can be an opportunity for Germany’s Boris Herrmann (SeaExplorer-Yacht Club de Monaco), Thomas Ruyant (LinkedOut) and Yannick Bestaven (Maître CoQ IV) to catch back some miles and as the high moves east it will favour the boats on the inside of the curve, allowing them to stay with the breeze longer and sail less distance. And that also means especially Damien Seguin (APICIL Group) and Giancarlo Pedote (Prysmian Group)  (160 to 200 miles distance from the leader), but they are also further to the east.

They can cut some of the corner, reducing their route to Les Sables d'Olonne. So too it will be the same for Jean Le Cam (Yes We Cam!) and Benjamin Dutreux (OMIA-Water Family) who are coming back strongly as they are still in the stronger trade winds at their slightly more southerly latitude. The initial outcome – west, south or middle – will become clearer towards the end of the weekend.