Dalton and Club Med are through the Doldrums and with 2,310 miles left Marseilles, she has only 10 % of the course left to race
Club Medis currently sailing in a friction zone between the remains of the trade winds and a well established low. Casting longing glances at this providential wind that will soon be within their reach, co-skippers Grant Dalton and Franck Proffit are patiently waiting and by the end of the day should be picking up a 25 knot Southwesterly flow enabling them to surf post-haste towards the Canaries. The path to the Straits of Gibraltar will be a little more delicate to find if the weather models are anything to go by, with a sort of small cell of high pressure that might be just a bit difficult to cross. The latest ETA forClub Medis Saturday midday.
Usually, a ridge of high pressure located off the Azores manages to contain the Atlantic lows further north than the one we see curling round on the charts in front of the two leading boats in The Race. Its Southern edge stops at about 20° of latitude North, or well beneath the Portuguese islands. This is the configuration thatClub Medis waiting for at least, which could provide a sort of natural conveyor belt towards the Canaries.
It is too soon today to know whetherInnovation Explorerwill also be able to benefit from this very rare meteorological opportunity. Still maintaining a steady 14 knots average, co-skippers Loïck Peyron and Skip Novak were just 640 miles behindClub Medat 0700 GMT this morning, but should be stumbling into a “soft” zone soon. The elastic is about to stretch again between the two boats.
Team Adventurehas pulled out some distance this morning overWarta Polpharma. Both boats have been coping with very tough conditions for the last 48 hours: “50-60 knot winds, 10 metre seas, temperature 7°C” wrote Jarek Kaczorowski (Warta Polpharma) last night, “we hope it is going to be the last big gale in the Pacific, as far as our rounding of the Horn, in about five days”. Sailing in similar conditions,Team Adventureis taking advantage of her size and has pulled out a 230 mile lead over the Polish crew. Clearly, this new breed of giant can cope more easily with 50 knots of wind than the little 88 ft Tom Thumb, Bruno Peyron’s ex-Commodore Explorer.
Finally, bringing up the rear, Tony Bullimore is stopped quite simply for lack of wind. Race HQ called Tony Bullimore by telephone last night because the boat’s speed was excessively low: “Everything was normal on the boat” confirmed Denis Horeau, “it’s only because there is absolutely no wind onTeam Legato’sroute at the moment”. The English boat is 2,300 miles from Cape Horn.