Update from team meteorologist Jure Jerman:
Bye-bye doldrums, hello southeast trades!
“The leading packed escaped from the hellish doldrums last night at around 02:00 UTC, and the exit was most interesting! Imerys Clean Energy was behind the leader by 15nm at one point, whilst V&B and Aina were hurtling towards the strong easterlies, created by a huge thunderstorm – they were reaching over 12 knots, whilst Imerys Clean Energy was hardly moving…”
The west proved best
“Later on Phil and Pablo caught a long-term westerly system enabling them to recover a significant distance, whilst the easterly route shutdown, leaving their three rivals parked as they flew to the front to take the first puff of the southeast trades!
“This is how it goes in the doldrums – sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose!
“Reading a French update from Phil and Pablo working solid throughout the night changing sails and pushing their personal limits – they pulled away and clearly deserved to get this advantage.”
So what’s next?
“Showers and thunderstorms are a possibility for today, but the winds will stabilise and become steadily stronger. As they approach Brazil the wind will be backing, which means a lot of reaching. Phil and Pablo will have to continue to work hard to stay in the lead due to a deficiency in boat speed at this wind angle – compared to the latest generation boats. But we know they can do it! Cheers, Jure”
18.11.17, 10:00 UTC