British Team Mowgli is the first into the Southern Ocean on the first leg of the race

Team Mowgli, co-skippered by Jeremy Salvesen and David Thomson are the first boat into the Southern Ocean as they claw their way to Cape Town on the first leg of the Portimão Global Ocean Race.

This notorious body of water is renowned for it’s strong westerly winds and big seas, but all David and Jeremy are finding are headwinds as they dig ever deeper to get under a persistent area of high pressure blocking their path.

While the racers are finding the conditions frustrating, the weather situation is making it very interesting from a tactical standpoint. Take Beluga Racer. They have dominated this leg and deserve to win, but there is still along way to go. The problem is that they are very vulnerable as they head northeast while their closest rivals, Team Mowgli and Desafio Cabo de Hornos are plunging south in search of big breeze. At the 15:20 UTC poll on Wednesday, Beluga Racer was averaging just over 6 knots while the second place boat, Desafio Cabo de Hornos was trucking along at more than double the speed. Worse yet for the Germans, the forecast is not going to improve for them.

The conditions in Cape Town right now are very unusual and indicative of the weather in the whole southern part of the Atlantic. It’s blowing a gale out of the southeast, but is pouring with rain and soaking the Volvo Ocean race fleet as they prepare for the start on Saturday. The forecast is for the rain to move out and the wind to die off, to be replaced but a southerly. Nice if you are in Cape Town or south of Cape Town, but not good if you are north of Cape Town – where Beluga Racer will find themselves in a couple of days.

Further to the north the South African’s aboard Kazimir Partners have finally checked in with a race update: “We have now been at sea for 30 days and have had nothing but difficulties and problems, from computer and software problems to the daily living at 15 to 20 degrees heel. Going to weather has put a lot of load on the boat, especially the deck hardware, at this time they are all leaking and the boat is very wet and damp. Food supplies are getting low, we have only 14 good meals left, but plenty of water. Sleep is difficult as the boat is lifted from each wave and slammed into the next, you can never quite get used to the noises.”

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