The unusually strong high-pressure system in the South Atlantic continues to keep the five Imoca teams away from Cape Town/South Africa in The Ocean Race. The second leg of the world race will probably take a few days longer than originally planned. After eight and a half days at sea, not even half of the leg has been completed. The arrival at the finish, originally scheduled for 9 February, is no longer possible. And in the further course to South Africa, the St. Helena High, extending from the African to the American continent, blocks the fleet’s way twice more.
To avoid the high, a deep dive into the South Atlantic is necessary. Not only will it be bitterly cold for the crews, who had recently complained of heat on board, the course could even lead them close to the foothills of the ice zone. The approach to Cape Town could then be from the south.
The caprices of the wind systems have been felt by the crews in the past few days. For GUYOT environnement – Team Europe, defending the lead became an up and down affair. Up to 70 miles was the virtual lead of the black yacht in the south-east trade wind, then it all melted away within a few hours. Skipper Robert Stanjek looks back once again: “We were able to play to our boat’s strengths after the Doldrums – a nice jib reach. We liked that very much. And when we checked the tracker, we were really happy to see that we were the fastest. But then the wind started to get lighter, and at night we drove into a huge cloud. It had a diameter of 80, 90, 100 miles. There were unbelievable rain passages in it and wind directions in which we had to jibe. Suddenly we also had a westerly wind. At times we stopped completely, shortly afterwards we had 28 knots on the display again. It’s very frustrating.”