It’s been quite the 24 hours for the Clipper Race fleet as a climatic weather front known as a Sudestada has washed over it, causing heavy rain, strong wind shifts and plenty of lightning.

Simon Rowell, Clipper Race Meteorologist, sent the following message to the fleet this morning “By the time you get this, the front should have gone over all of you – it’s quite some wind shift, isn’t it?
“The deep cumulus cluster at the centre of the Sudestada must have brought heavy rain and strong squally gusts. Lots of you reported lightning too. As the next high moves away into the South Atlantic, you should have an easier (perhaps too much so) 24 hours, and then the next front looks to arrive at the mouth of the plate, just about when the south boats should get there.”

Image: Weather front shown via

Clipper Race Director Mark Light explains further as to why the shift in weather will have caused a period of unpredictable sailing for the fleet. He said “For every sudden change in wind direction, the sea state becomes confused, with the wind and waves coming from opposing directions.

Image: Clipper Race Viewer showing the recent weather front

“As you can see from the images, there is a long thin weather front (in between the orange stronger winds) where the wind changes from northerly to southeasterly quite suddenly. Because it is thin, the wind will change quickly as the fleet crosses that area.
“You can also see the light blue patch between the fleet and Punta del Este which is the high moving away into the South Atlantic.
“The next front will form at the southern edge of the high-pressure zone (the light blue patch) and cause another fairly sudden change in wind direction.”
Join The Race