Day Four of the RORC Transatlantic Race and the MOD 70s are heading west at alarming speed. Zed 6 is about to have it all on to the north and the IRC fleet is experiencing light winds in the high pressure off the Western Sahara.
Lloyd Thornburg's Phaedo3, skippered by Brian Thompson and Tony Lawson's Concise 10/Ms Barbados, skippered by Ned Collier Wakefield gybed west as the sunset yesterday. Concise took a more southerly line than Phaedo3, recognising the low pressure system to the south. Phaedo3 responded by gybing further south, giving up precious miles to cover the potential advantage. Phaedo3 still holds the upper hand but Concise 10 are still very much in striking distance.
The three Maxis racing in the RORC Transatlantic Race have experienced light winds for the last 24 hours. Southern Wind 94, Windfall, skippered by Irish Olympic sailor Timothy Goodbody fell back after leading IRC overall on Day Three. Will Apold's Canadian Swan 78, Valkyrie cashed in on their southerly route through the Canaries and added to the bank via their tall rig and narrow hull shape, to glide into the lead on IRC corrected time from the other two Maxis. Jean-Paul Riviere's French Finot Conq 100, Nomad IV used the slow going to good measure with their Russian guests casting a line for 'the catch of the day'. Nomad IV should get into better pressure today and significantly, before the other two Maxis, which should see the team extend their lead on the water in the monohull fleet.
Gerald Bibot and Michel Kleinjans Belgian catamaran, Zed 6 gybed south yesterday afternoon after reaching a latitude of 33 degrees north which is further north than all of Florida. No doubt the Belgians will be reaching for the hot chocolate today. The wind direction is predicted to strengthen and turn to the south. This will put the 42ft catamaran into strong headwinds and the potential for big confused seas.
“The boat is fantastic!” exclaimed Gerald by satellite link. ” It's very fast and very sensible to any bad tuning. We stay very safe, sheets off the self-tailing and mostly in hands all the time. So it is a bit more exhausting than a Class40. We got the news this morning that the MODs are 200 nm closer than us to finish. It will be interesting to see how many days they will lead on us in the end. And who knows? I just heard that Gonzalo (Tales II) stopped in the Canaries for a rudder repair and re-started. That's good news. We have similar speeds on some angles, so it is important for us to have her as a benchmark on both sides of the pressure ridge.”
With the light winds experienced yesterday and last night the clutch of 40ft yachts have come to the fore after IRC corrected time. Provisionally, J/120 Nunatak raced Two Handed by Chris Frost and Elin Haf Davies is leading the IRC fleet after time correction. Not wishing to dampen Nunatak's fireworks, this may be due to the fact that Nunatak has taken a more westerly route, closer to the rhumb line. In doing so Nunatak has stayed in the high pressure vacuum but by tomorrow morning fresh winds are likely from the east, which will improve their position.
Mike Gascoyne, skipper of Class40 checked in with the RORC media team via satellite and sportingly said he was pleased to see their rival Tales II back in the race: “We had always planned to head for the southerly route and the weather files during the first night confirmed that choice,” confirmed Mike. “We gybed south between Tenerife and La Palma but a couple of tactile errors meant we lost a few hours in some light patches before breaking free from the islands and heading south. We re-passed Aloha early this morning having clearly lost some miles between the islands. It was a shame for Tales II to have the rudder problem as they were really flying off the start. I'm sure with the crew they have on board they will be looking to catch us but we will do our best to make life hard for them. Life on board is good, currently pushing south west with A3, staysail and full main in 15kts of breeze and contemplating a full English breakfast for the crew, not easy to do on a jet-boil.”
Follow the progress of the race via the fleet: http://rorctransatlantic.rorc.org/tracking/2015-fleet-tracking.html