The weather situation for the top-five boats has changed again since yesterday, meaning they're not expected to close as much on leaders Virbac-Paprec
Hugo Boss are catching GAES Centros Auditivos, Estrella Damm are closing on MAPFRE. But medium to long term the weather situation for the leading boats has changed again a little since yesterday.
Although the potential for a decent gain on the leaders for MAPFRE and Estrella Damm still looks to be on the cards for the SE of Australia across to the Cook Straits, as it stands this morning they are not expected to close as much on Virbac-Paprec 3.
Footage taken from onboard a very fast Virbac-Paprec 3:
It will all very much depend on the timing of the high pressure which is predicted to set up over the Tasman. Just now Virbac-Paprec 3 look like they will route south to take best advantage of the low pressure front. MAPFRE seem to have the option of sailing fewer miles by sailing on straighter course, ahead of the arriving high, and more north than Jean-Pierre Dick and Loïck Peyron. But the picture for Virbac-Paprec 3 certainly looks better than it did yesterday.
For the duo behind – Groupe Bel and Renault Z.E. Sailing Team – the options are less clear, their timing being such that they have to stay further to the south of the high, which as it moves eas, may still cut off their route and they are out of options. But decision time is at least two to three days off.
For Mirabaud and Neutrogena, they are setting up for the low pressure which is arriving for them this afternoon. For Mirabaud there may be a question of taking a hitch on the less favoured gybe, how deep do they sail? If they keep going east they are out running the pressure arriving from the west, from behind and if they go north they lose pressure and simply let Neutrogena catch the pressure first and catch.
It remains pretty much plain, straight line sailing for the girls on GAES Centros Auditivos. They are in line with the weather systems as they head for the waypoint, while that point has been painful for Mirabaud and Neutrogena who have been forced north by the gate.
And the situation for the trio at the back sees them still dealing with this difficult low pressure, the worst of them being We Are Water who are closest to the centre. Tough conditions with a difficult, short steep sea will mean they can only really go relatively slowly to compensate for it: unpleasant.
That high pressure bubble has cost Neutrogena more miles against Mirabaud who have been able to average 11.6 kts, while Boris Herrmann and Ryan Breymaier have slumped to an average of just 5.6 to make less than 20 miles between 04:00 and 09:00 this morning.
It is full steam ahead though for the duo behind. 21 miles is now the difference between Hugo Boss in ninth and Dee Caffari and Anna Corbella on GAES Centros Auditivos, the Juan K design in its element and about a knot quicker than Dee and Anna.
At the top of the fleet it is still a fascinating balance between MAPFRE and Estrella Damm, with Alex Pella and Pepe Ribes now closed to 12.6 miles of Iker Martinez and Xabi Fernandez.
To track the fleet, CLICK HERE.
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