The first part of this race will be dominated by the low- pressure systems coming off the coast of America and the Labrador Current flowing east to west. Fog banks and changing winds will make for similar conditions to the end of Race 11 as the teams stay reasonably close to the coast.
The teams will quickly have the open North Atlantic to play with – or so they might think! On the classic race route across the Atlantic there is the potential for some very fast sailing. At the southern tip of Newfoundland are the Grand Banks, an area renowned for thick fog and light winds as the Labrador Current drags down cold water from the Arctic. If the yachts can clear Newfoundland without going too far north, staying over the lower third of the Grand Banks and in the Gulf Stream, they will sail over the Flemish Cap made famous in the book and film The Perfect Storm.
Another word of warning... Although the prevailing westerly winds should make this a fast crossing, the high-pressure systems of the summer have a habit of shifting further north, allowing light winds to block progress. It means every team still has the chance to be the first to experience the hospitality of Northern Ireland.