With little over 300 miles to the finish line for the front runners in Race 10, the mighty Pacific Ocean has pushed the 12-strong matched fleet to the limit. However, is the biggest test still to come as the forecasted weather predicts the return of a dreaded wind hole in the closing stages of the 5,800 mile race. Who will take advantage and who will be left becalmed?
With less than 30 miles now separating GREAT Britain and Invest Africa both teams will be keeping a cautious eye on the weather forecast in the next 12-18 hours as the wind is expected to decrease and then fill in from the north, potentially allowing the most northerly yacht in the fleet, Invest Africa the chance to close in on its rival. Skipper of GREAT Britain, Simon Talbot explains his fears.
“I was definitely hoping for the wind to stay a bit stronger for longer as my big fear is that if the wind is under forecast, then we may not make it far enough into the high pressure ridge to get spat out of the other side when the wind fills back in again, allowing the boats to our north to make much better progress and potentially overtake us.”
While the lack of wind could shake up the podium positions, it is also creating challenging conditions for mid-fleet competitors Old Pulteney who came out of Stealth Mode yesterday as it tackled the Ocean Sprint. Skipper Patrick van der Zijden explains:
“We were on the right road for setting a good time in the Ocean Sprint doing 12-16 knots, but ...
“Yesterday was a day of blasting down waves in gusts up to 50 knots, pelting us through the night, this morning it came all to a staggering halt, like a fuse had blown and the whirlpool in the bad was still running but the air blower that was used to move our yacht forward had stopped… leaving us bobbing around like a cork.”
*On Sunday 6 April we reported the start of the Ocean Sprint in Race 10 and explained that the fastest three boats across the lines 142 degrees west and 136 degrees west would be awarded 3, 2, 1 points respectively. This is incorrect, only the fastest overall boat will be awarded 2 points and the point system as detailed above is used for the Scoring Gate only. We apologise for any confusion caused. The results from the Ocean Sprint will be revealed once all the teams have completed this section of the race.
You can find the latest ETAs for the fleet’s arrival in San Francisco here