At 1000 this morning B&Q was 400 miles north of the Cape Verde Islands, powering along at over 19 knots and continuing to build on her now two day advantage
At 1000 this morning B&Q was 400 miles north of the Cape Verde Islands, powering along at over 19 knots and continuing to build on her now two day advantage. According to the Offshore Challenge office the high pressure hurdle is still there for the end of the week and a developing low expecting to deliver 35-40 knot headwinds in the final approach to the finish.
MacArthur sailed a blistering 402 miles through the water in the last 24 hours, which equates to 374 miles in terms of Distance Made Good to the finish compared to the 300 mile DMG of Francis Joyon.
Chatting about the current wind situation MacArthur said: “The wind went really light then kicked in again with a cloud line, and now I’ve been hanging on to the first reef and Solent although its a bit too much for that configuration, so I’ve borne away 10 degrees for now to wait and see if it will decrease.”
The Trade Winds are expected to remain in the 16-22 knot range through today continuing their turn to the right and into the south-east. Tomorrow the breeze will increase as a low to the west of B&Q delivers 20 knots of breeze, although Ellen is trying to keep as much easting as she can to avoid the stronger stuff closer to the low – it should prove to be a fast reaching day, if the sea state allows.
The high pressure system to the west of Ireland will be the main focus for her weather routers, watching to see which way it moves and how much it will impact on her course to the finish line. For now, they expect Ellen to have to sail into the high, as it drifts SSW, then tack out again – the key to success is not going to far in that you get trapped by the windless zone in the middle. A developing low pressure will move along the north side of the high and drop down SE into Europe to bring strong northerly breeze in the final approach to the finish.
MacArthur’s two-day advantage equates to 521 miles and with less than nine days left on the Omega clock, the pressure increases with every day that passes. For MacArthur, in isolation and away from other distractions, the effect of this stress is physically and mentally draining. She continued: “I’ve had about 1 and a half hours sleep at most, I’m very tired.”
To beat Francis Joyon’s world speed record MacArthur must cross the finish line before 0704 on 09/02/05. The current situation shows she could finish as early as 07/02/05.