ARC competitors head south to find more wind 1/12/06

ARC competitors are taking advice from the ARC meteorologists to ‘Go South’ following the most recent forecast.

A long cold front ridging from a deep depression off Ireland is running across the central Atlantic giving an area of lighter winds on the rhumb line course to St Lucia. So, those who initially opted for the longer southerly route are now in a position to benefit from this knowledge.

Lead yacht, the Italian maxi Capricorno (at 26N/30W) is having to sail north, trying climb around the wind hole and into better winds beyond. However, to the south second placed Fantasticaa (at 18N/27W) and The Blue Pearl (at 17N/25W), the two yachts leading the charge south, are in stronger stable winds and can alter course towards St Lucia, benefiting from the better trade winds down at lower latitudes.

A battle is also developing between leading Division II racing yachts, the 52 footers Brave (Farr 520) and Nisida (GY52) both heading south for wind, whilst the smaller DK46 Dark & Steamy, is slightly to the north of their track and pressing hard, hoping to catch the larger yachts.

For yachts north of the rhumb line, easing wind meant a night of rock’n’roll in the Atlantic swell, without the trade wind to keep their sails filled. Julian Sincock, skipper of British Swan 51 Northern Child explains: “As well as quite a large swell from the north-west we have had a choppy sea running, which resulted in the boat being rocked from side to side and the sails flogging away on each roll. It wasn’t until this morning that the sea calmed down enough for us to at least have the sails full all the time.”

Away from the front pack, life at sea for the majority of cruising yachts has been mostly uneventful. One exception was for British yacht Flying Start, which was involved in aiding the Spanish Authorities rescue a rickety immigrant boat, in the early hours of yesterday morning see yesterday’s news story here.