© Stefan Coopers – Team Brunel
In a tight battle at the front, a tiny 0.3 nautical miles (nm) separates the front three boats. Yes, we have a helluva race on with 1,450nm before we reach Newport, Rhode Island.
Just east of Puerto Rico, the Volvo Ocean Race fleet is making good progress north, past the Caribbean. The water is warm and the wind is blowing for some ‘champagne’, optimum sailing.
Team Brunel has been placed consistently in the top three over the past few days, but plugging away hard over the last 12 hours, they have found a slight speed edge on Dongfeng Race Team and Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.
It is too close to call, however, and the lead will probably change with every position report (every three hours) over the next 24 hours.
Those crews who avoid the seaweed or get the right side of the wind-sucking clouds, will thrive.
Good gains made by navigator, Will Oxley, on Team Alvimedica as MAPFRE crossed behind them, reignited a tight contest for fourth place, although the Spanish team lost 6.5nm in the last three hours.
Team SCA, meanwhile, have also made good progress at the back of the fleet, moving a little closer to the leaders (see latest dashboard).
They have also sailed on a slightly more westerly path in the wake of Team Alvimedica and MAPFRE.
As the wind direction shifted 20 degrees to the left, these three teams opted for this option, while the leading bunch opted to sail higher and continue on a more northerly course.
The speculation now is that this will lead to a split in the fleet, with the leaders heading directly to Newport and the rest to follow around the coast to Florida before catching the Gulf stream sooner.
Watch this space.
1) At 1200utc Sat, 1020mb high pressure cell near 23-24n/48-52w is moving slowly E
2) At 1200utc Sat, 999mb low pressure near 35-36n/71-72w is moving E and weakening
– this low will be near 36n/60-62w at 1200utc Sun and the central pressure will be up to 1006mb
– the low will continue to weaken and move ENE
3) Cold front, associated with the low, will be near 24n/72w at 1200utc Sat
– this front is quite strong right now, but will weaken during the next 2 days
– by 1200utc Sun, the cold front will be located from the lows center to 28n/62w to 25n/66 20w and stalling near the Turks/Caicos, in the SE Bahamas
4) 1023mb high will reach North Carolina Sun morning and will be 1027mb from Cape Hatteras to SE of Nova Scotia by Mon morning
5) Trade winds will be veering into the SE, S, and SSW during the next 24 hours
– the front will reach the cold front during Sun, probably the afternoon and evening
1) The northern and eastern part of the fleet will see SE winds 12-17 kts veering into the SE-S during this morning and afternoon
– there will be a gybe onto port and as this portion of the fleet heads NW, the winds will become more SE-S, then S, and SSW tonight. Wind speeds will be increasing late today and tonight
2) The southern and western part of the fleet will see ESE winds become SE with wind speeds staying 15-20 kts, but even this part of the fleet will see winds become more S tonight.
– within the area of S winds, the wind speeds will be stronger to the NW and N and lighter to the S and SE
Sunshine continues. Partly cloudy tonight. E seas 3-6 feet becoming SE and S tonight