One step forward, two steps backwards, and the other way around….
The extension of the high-pressure area to the east is penalising the southerners Kirsten and Pat, more than the northerners, Simon and Tapio, on a direct route. Kirsten is back in 3rd position and has gone south to find pressure, sailing 7 to 8 knots, while Pat is looking for a shorter route in lighter winds. The low-pressure south of them will bring fresh wind overnight and Kirsten will soon be able to shoot towards Cape Town under spinnaker.
With the barometer dropping, Abhilash is persisting on a ENE course while Damien is picking up pace, covering 100 miles since yesterday on a ESE course. They now need to thread a fine line with the bubble ridge on the most direct route possible. Easier said than done with no weather info. In their SW, it’s showtime for Cpt Gugg (who found some barnacles), Ertan (personal best @ 149 nm), and Jeremy who are all sailing between 130 and 150 nm a day downwind.
The back of the fleet is making even more progress with Elliott and Ian posting in excess of 150 nm since yesterday, catching up on Simon and leaving Arnaud in their wake at 115 nm. They face a change of programme this weekend from tailing the high downwind to upwind condition. Guy Waites announced yesterday that he was fighting the barnacles, his emotions and the conditions, while weighing up his difficult decisions.
In short, nothing is set in stone, at the front or at the back of the fleet.