Wind has turned to the southwest

The worst of the northerly winds appear to have passed to the north for the three Vendee Globe around the world yacht race skippers off Cape Horn, Britons Brian Thompson and Dee Caffari and Frenchman Arnaud Boissières.

Meteorological observations in Punta Arenas – relatively sheltered in the middle of the Magellan straits to the north of Tierra del Fuego – recorded 60 knots of wind during the night. Brian Thompson’s shelter in the lee of the Island de los Estados appears to have been effective. He reported this morning that when he ventured to the east of the island where the topography dips, he had more than 50 knots from the north.

Meteo France’s detailed report, confirmed by observations from the skippers say that the winds are now in the SW for Caffari and Boissières, aboard Akena Vérandas.

Thompson, aboard Bahrain Team Pinda, is moving off slowly now to the east. He is under four reefs in the mainsail and no headsail to reduce speed. He is expected to see the winds back into the southwest by midday 20-30 kts building in the afternoon 35-45 knots gusting to more than 55 knots but easing by 2100hrs.

Caffari, aboard Aviva, has about 100 miles to go before she reaches Cape Horn. She will have to modulate her speed during the approach, keeping an eye on how the southwesterly is building, but the forecast for her and Arnaud has it peaking at about midday to 35-45 kts, gusting to 55 kts but easing after midday.

Thompson has just spoken to race control and said that conditions were manageable during the night. He is well rested and has been napping. He has been given the updated weather information and now it will be down to his own observations how he proceeds, but he is moving off slowly.