by Guy Perrin
The weather for the final push into the finish of leg one from Charleston to NYC should prove to be testing on the gear and on the clothing of the sailors. It's going to be a very chilly night with air temps and water temps both in the low 50s. Currently there is a backdoor cold front that has been pushing southwest from a position north of Cape Cod last night all the way to southern New Jersey at the time of this update. This has erased the nice warm weather from yesterday and brought with it stiff nor’east and east breezes.
2014 The Atlantic Cup presented by 11th Hour Racing
As the front continues its southern movement, the wind should ease slightly and go a bit right. I would expect to see breeze holding 12-15 kts through the early night, with direction from 40 to 70 mag. As the pressure eases I would expect to see the 60-70 wind direction numbers, with the 40-50 direction being the last holdout puffs into the mid to high teens.
Based on current tracker positions it appears heading offshore on port tack to gain angle yields very slow speeds, as this is most likely directly into a terrible easterly sea state, and #106 - Gryphon Solo 2 appears to be trying to hug the coast and avoid the tack out. They will certainly have to play the nav game to avoid the shallow sandbars and dangers closer to shore, but seem to be gaining as they spend more time on starboard close hauled and occasionally close reaching.
The lead boats currently have 80 NM to the finish with a mere four miles separating front runner GS 2 from #39 - Pleiad Racing, so we may see them arriving sometime after midnight into the very early morning, possibly sunrise if the sea state is nastier than we think! Four miles in double-handed ocean racing is not much at all, so it will be a tacking duel and dogfight into the finish! One more cold night in store for the fleet, but warmth and plenty of Pabst Blue Ribbon awaits on the docks!