Barcelona World Race update.
Virbac-Paprec 3 and Foncia are riding the leading edge of the low pressure’s front and should manage to stay with it, making around 18-20 knots and we should maybe see them gybe later this afternoon or this evening to line up for the SW’lies as the front passes over them.
For the leading duo especially it is pedal to the metal time, trying to stay aboard this fast moving express for as long as possible. Foncia were first to satisfy the first gate, at around
They will ride the SW’lies south but then the key strategy now is how and when to respect the succession of security gates, dipping south and looping back north to satisfy the gates, passing to the north of the gate at one point on its length, whilst utilising the successive low pressure systems and their associated fronts. What is important is not to end up in the N-NW’ly breeze trying to get north to complete the gate, so timing the transitions is vital but is not at all easy tracking these fast moving systems.
MAPFRE have been towards the back edge of the low and so will drop off the system first and into the lighter breezes behind, but will be best placed for the second system which should come through later Wednesday. But in general the fleet behind them will find it increasingly difficult to escape from the Saint Helena high which will return to haunt them, especially the tail of the fleet. It is proving especially complex for them to find enough breeze to get clear. For example they will initially get NW’ly breeze and so will find it hard to get west towards the strongest and best pressure generated by the next, second low system. So in fact they from around the ninth placed GAES Centros Auditivos will likely have to keep working south and may even miss the ride on the second low. And so during Wednesday and into Thursday the fleet can be on three different weather systems.
Virbac-Paprec 3 lead by 28.3 miles this morning, extending slightly with more speed and wind pressure 25 miles or so to the south of the course taken by Foncia.
Barcelona World Race website