While the good racing conditions continued yesterday, skippers spent the day closely analysing their data and altering courses overnight in preparation for the approaching low weather system, forecast to impact the fleet over the next 24 hours.
Explaining expectations, OneDLL skipper Olly Cotterell said: “In about 20 hours or so from writing this, the change will start and it will start with the wind dying off. The low developed off the coast of Japan, one of the areas of cyclogenesis that affects this area. It is tracking up the cold front of a low to the north of us that was birthed over the Kamchatka Peninsula. This means that the centre of the low has so far stayed fairly far south.
“It is tracking north east, towards the Aleutian Islands. We do not want to end up north of the centre of the low as this would give us more unfavourable conditions, so we are trying to get east and a bit south.”
Aside from Mission Performance, all visible yachts are now heading south east of the rhumb line. Invest Africa, GREAT Britain and Qingdao have elected to use the full 48 hour Stealth Mode allowance for Race 10 and thus, their positions will remain hidden from the Race Viewer till later tonight (18:00 UTC – Invest Africa, 00:00 UTC- GREAT Britain) and tomorrow (12:00 UTC – Qingdao).
While some teams may choose to follow the shorter, northerly rhumb line course to San Francisco, Simon Talbot, skipper of GREAT Britain summarised decisions, saying: “The yachts in the north are making hay whilst the sun shines, whilst the yachts in the south put money into the bank, saving for the rainy day that they hope will ruin the harvest of the yachts in the north.
“It is all nail biting stuff and with over 3,400 miles still to go until the finish, the same distance as the whole leg from Rio to Cape Town, there is still everything to play for.”
Once the weather system passes, all eyes will be firmly focused on claiming valuable points in the Scoring Gate, which now lies less than 500 miles ahead of the fleet.
To follow the fleet’s progress, you can see the official Race Viewer HERE
To read all the skipper reports, click HERE
To read the crew diaries, click HERE