Transat fleet focus on the next depression to face 40knots

The Transat fleet are focused on the next depression, currently NW of the race yachts.

The multihulls are now heading directly at the depression with the intention of passing through the middle – the shortest route into the system and the fastest route out. It is likely, though, that they will meet the southern border of the centre and face headwinds of around 40 knots before reaching south.

The north/south spread of the ORMA 60 fleet is now 160 miles and it will be interesting to see how the most southerly yacht – Frenchwoman Karine Fauconnier on trimaran Sergio Tacchini – fares away from the pack. This will be the first heavy upwind conditions these boats have faced in a race since the 2002 Route du Rhum, when the majority of the ORMA 60 fleet were forced to abandon the race due to major damage and in some cases the boats were lost entirely.

In contrast, the IMOCA 60 monohull fleet leaders have dramatically narrowed their spread – currently only 50 miles north/south – as front runner Virbac has moved across to cover the track of Ecover in second and Pindar AlphaGraphics lying third. They are followed by a knot of yachts following close behind – PRB, Temenos, and Cheminees Poujoulat-Armor Lux. The leading IMOCA monohull, Virbac, is 125 miles behind Geant, the leading trimaran, and will be unable to find the conditions that will meet the multihulls. It is likely that the 60ft yachts will encounter consistent headwinds, forcing them to tack through the weather spinning around the lower edge of the depression.