As fleets scatters round a low, one skipper describes storm preparations

Today the double-handed crews of the Transat Jacques Vabre face an unavoidable battering by a low pressure system south-west of Ireland. It threatens winds of 45-50 knots and this morning the skippers are already reporting very messy seas.

This excellent report sent last night by Kito de Pavant on Groupe Bel describes the prospects and the fleet’s limited options:

“The weather data forecasts a huge low area without any solutions for getting away. To get to Costa Rica, we will have to face a battle, so we’re heading for it

“”[This] evening, things should be a little better, but the next 24 hours are going to be very difficult. The best route to Costa Rica passes right through the centre of this low.

“If we wanted to avoid it, we would have to position ourselves to the southeast and then risk encountering other low pressure areas which are brewing at the end of the week.

“We prefer to head straight into the gale knowing roughly what we can expect rather than later heading into violent winds that will be less well oriented, without really knowing what will hit us.

“We are expecting 30 to 35 knots according to the data, which means that in reality the gusts could reach 40 to 45 knots. However, this low pressure area has been around for a few days and the sea should be fairly reasonable.

“We are trying to keep things simple so as not to lose our steam. We are going to check the boat over scrupulously before this evening to make sure that everything is alright and tackle this first low as best we can.”