The leading pack of the ocean race have headed south to find the low pressure system
Now that race leaders Beluga Racer and Desafio Cabo de Hornos are past the eastern end of the Ice Gate, both boats are on a deep dive south to catch the outer edge of a passing low pressure system.
The system has been carrying strong breeze, but with the boats forced to stay well north of the mandatory gate, they have missed the best wind. Now clear of the gate both boats are racing for the edge of the system hoping to ride out the last bit of big breeze before a small ridge of high pressure sets in. Once the high moves across them the wind will die and they will have time to regroup before the next front.
On board the Chilean boat, Desafio Cabo de Hornos, skipper Felipe Cubillos is enjoying the tough racing. He explains: “I love the adrenaline rush of having to make decisions and take care of them. That is what I find exciting about racing sailboats. This kind of intensity is hard to find in other sports. Day after day, week after week we have to make tactical choices, decide on sails and sail trim, and live with the results.”
The results for Desafio Cabo de Hornos over the last four days have been very positive. They have halved the distance between themselves and the leading boat, Beluga Racer, and continue to sail at slightly faster speeds.
“At the beginning of the year the Germans were 107 miles ahead of us with 170 miles of lateral separation,” Felipe continued. “Now the distance is down to just 65 miles and we have a lateral separation of not more than 40 miles. In short we are recovering at a rate of just over one mile per hour and we hope that continuing in heavy winds we will be able to close the distance even more.”
On board Beluga Racer co-skippers Boris Herrmann and Felix Oehme do not seem too concerned. As usual Boris is upbeat about things: “Things have been relatively quiet on board Beluga Racer,” he wrote. “We have even found time to watch a movie. We have enough fuel and food left for the rest of the leg so that’s not a problem and the boat is fine, no damage at all.”
Both Beluga Racer and Desafio Cabo de Hornos are sailing in moderate southwesterly winds. Things will get even quieter over the next 48 hours until yet another front moves in from the west.