Weather update: A challenging 24 hours for the Clipper Race fleet
25 October 2023
The South Atlantic is living up to its expectations of unpredictable weather. Over the first few days of Race 3: TIMEZERO South Atlantic Showdown the fleet has had to manage sudden transitions from one weather system to the next.
And reading from today’s Skipper blogs, there has definitely been no shortage of fog casting its eerie presence over the fleet.
Image: Qingdao in the foggy South Atlantic waters
David Hartshorn, Bekezela Skipper said “We have had thick, and I mean thick, fog. Imagine Hammer House of Horror film thick, both during the day and more challenging at night. Although the fog has acted as a sort of ‘diffuser’ for the moonlight creating quite a good amount of illume on deck to do work in the dark, but not helping with orientation while on the helm."
Mike Miller, PSP Logistics Skipper said "We have had rain and massive thunderstorms, more fog, and I am now looking up at a stunning moon in the midst of a crystal-clear night sky."
Dan Bodey, UNICEF Skipper said “So far, we have spent most of our time drifting around in fog trying to get the boat moving in any direction. Listening to the sounds of whales all around us. This made the whole experience quite eerie."
Image: Race Crew on board Qingdao embracing the eerie atmospheres
Simon Rowell, Clipper Race Meteorologist, sent this update to the fleet this morning: "The low system seems to be spawning a secondary system over the next 24 hours, which is likely to cause localised strong southerly winds and heavy, possibly thundery squalls – this small but quite nasty circulation moves from south to north across your paths today."
Image: Low-pressure weather system incoming for the Clipper Race fleet
Clipper Race Director, Mark Light, added “The fleet is very close to the centre of a low-pressure system which is giving very light winds. The front five teams have managed to pull clear, albeit slowly, and the six teams behind are still struggling to get moving in extremely light conditions. Hours spent in little to no wind with the boat pointing in every wrong direction is extremely frustrating, but even more so when you can see the boats ahead just about escaping from the windless zone and making ground towards Cape Town.
“As the low moves over the fleet today and continues its journey away to the east and slightly south, the wind will fill in and the fleet should start to experience moderate, but strengthening west to southwest winds which should help progress. The trick is to stay on the tail end of the low pressure for as long as possible as it travels east, and then try and latch onto the next system as it comes through.”
Tactics are bound to be a high point of discussion over the next few days as teams try and navigate the best way forward to pick up wind. It is setting out to be an interesting ride ahead.
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