27 January 2011

Veritas XCVIII

Today's Truth:  Race leader Virbac-Paprec 3 passed the longitude of the Cape of Good Hope at 0135hrs UTC this morning, an elapsed passage time of 26 days 13 hours and 35 minutes.

This morning they were 175 miles west of the westernmost extension of Gate 2, the Algulhas gate, and was still making around 14-15 knots, starting to experience the gradual slow down but appear to still have around 18-20 knots of westerly breeze. 

As Virbac-Paprec 3 slows, the high pressure is moving east and south, set to take up station over the Kerguelen Islands, moves with them close to the center of it. And meantime it looks like MAPFRE especially will be making rapid inroads, in 30 knots of W'ly and possibly making 460-480 mile days, which could bring them gains of 180-200 miles on the leaders who have 579 miles on MAPFRE on this morning's 0900hrs sked. In short it looks like a great opportunity for MAPFRE, Estrella Damm, Groupe Bel and Renault ZE Sailing Team to catch up.

The requirements of the gates means that the passage across the South Indian Ocean, at least, has the propensity to become punctuated by constant fast, slow. That will make it especially hard for the leaders' nerves.