Photo: François Van Malleghem / Mini Transat 2013

Wind shuts off for tailenders

Mini Transat 2013 continues to be cursed by Mother Nature

Thursday November 28th 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: none selected

It's all going pearshaped in the Atlantic thanks to a depression that has formed, currently situated to the west of the Canaries that is not only destroying the trade winds but providing light, unwelcome headwinds for the back markers in the Mini Transat.

Thanks to this for example in the Proto fleet Axel Trehin on Ty startigenn and François Guiffant on Scidiam have managed to cover just 40 miles in the last 24 hours or an average speed less than two knots. In comparison race leader Giancarlo Pedote on Prysmian has managed 235 miles at an average of 9.8 knots over the same period. The situation has been even worse for the taileneders in the Series class where Raphaël Marchant on Soreal ilou and Erwan Pellen on Mordilou have covered only 29 and 33 miles respectively since yesterday morning.

Even the front runners are suffering with the trade winds lightening in the south. 

At the front of the Proto fleet, the battle is still raging between the scow Prysmian and Benoît Marie on Pedote has increased his lead to 20 miles over Marie over the last 24 hours, the Italian having 813 miles left to sail to the finish in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe. Marie is taking a route slightly to the south and will be seeing marginally less pressure than his rival. This is also the case for third placed Rémi Fermin on Boreal, the most southerly boat in the fleet at 16°53N.

The winds lightening has played into the hands of Series class leader, Aymeric Belloir on Tout le monde chante contre le cancer who has increased his lead from 98 miles to 126 miles ahead of second placed Justine Mettraux on Team Work over the last 24 hours, having averaged more than one knot faster over this period on his Nacira design.

Playing a tactical race behind, two boats have been smart in gybing north - outside of Belloir, 18th placed Pip Hare on The Potting Shed and François Lamy on Guadeloupe Espace Océan in 20th, have both recorded the highest speeds since the last sched in the Series fleet after Belloir. This has caused Pip to gain a place.

However the wind is set to turn inside out for all but the front runners by this evening as a second shallow depression forms in the middle of the race track mid-Atlantic. In the short term this looks good for the boats that have headed north as all the boats south of around 20°N will find the depression in their way with a giant windless area in its centre. However over the course of Friday the depression is forecast to shift north putting the boats in the south on the wind - not something you'd expect at this time of the year in this part of the ocean. This depression is lurking around the central Atlantic over the course of the weekend slowly heading north and east, still having a profound effect on development of trade winds in the eastern two thirds of the Atlantic.

It looks probable that the front runners may escape the clutches of the depression but this looks set to be one of the most profound cases of the rich getting richer

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