The Barcelona World Race fleet is today feeling the effects of both extremes of the Indian Ocean. Leaders Cheminées Poujoulat and Neutrogena are bracing themselves for the possible impact of two cyclonic low pressure systems which could bring 38-40 knots by Monday, with potential for 50-plus knots through Tuesday into Wednesday.
The two front-runners are currently separated by around 220 miles with Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam the further east, and Guillermo Altadill and José Munoz to the north-west of the current pace-setters.
Today both teams have diverged from their previous path of skirting the very southern limits of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, instead taking a more northerly route, which may offer them more tactical options to avoid the strongest centre of the low as the remnants of Cyclone Diamondra (988mb) tracks south-east across their course. In its wake follows Eunice (985mb), moving in an ESE direction. Both systems should weaken as they meet the colder waters of the south, reducing their severity.
By contrast, GAES Centros Auditivos continue to be slowed by the ongoing effects of a high pressure system which has reduced their average pace to just 8.7 knots for the past 24 hours. Fourth placed Renault Captur has reduced the deficit between them to just over 200 miles this afternoon, but Jörg Riechers and Sébastien Audigane are likely to see Sunday morning’s 18-knot northerlies decreasing to around 10 knots by the evening.
We Are Water in fifth place also continue on their north-easterly course, Willy Garcia this morning reporting that he and his brother Bruno Garcia were experiencing very confused sea states with wind against wave direction.
“The conditions now are we have rough seas, cross-seas, because we have to cross a ridge now into a different wind. The sea is cross to the wind so it’s very choppy and very uncomfortable on board.”
One Planet One Ocean Pharmaton were the latest team to pass the Cape of Good Hope, crossing 20°E to enter the Indian Ocean at 10.20am (UTC). Aleix Gelabert and Didac Costa are also within 40 miles of the Antarctic Exclusion Zone, in what is for both sailors a first venture into the ‘Deep South’. Aleix reported today that both crew and boat felt strong one month into the Barcelona World Race:
“After one month’s sailing the boat is really good. We had a little thing to repair but nothing major. The boat is in really good condition. And we are also in really good condition, physically and mentally, we feel strong. We can relax and we feel that we can sail in the Indian Ocean in 100 percent top condition, the boat and ourselves. So we feel really confident and really good about this.”
There was optimism too onboard Spirit of Hungary, with Nandor Fa and Conrad Colman comfortably the fastest boat in the fleet over the past 24 hours, covering 368 miles. Conrad blogged from the boat about the spectacular sailing conditions they had enjoyed:
“The night was a beautiful calm before the storm with a strong moon and clear skies marked only by light pre-frontal cirrus clouds. These are high altitude clouds made of ice crystals, instead of water droplets like all other clouds, and are beautiful and delicate but herald stronger conditions in the future. Now we have been thumping our way eastwards with a bright blue sky and a steady 30+ knots of wind, the severe blue seas highlighted in silver by the shining sun and torn into white spray by the gusty wind.”
See all skippers quotes on: www.imocaoceanmasters.com