Barcelona World Race - The best news this morning is that the centre of the tropical depression which is whistling south south east, and contains N'ly and NW'ly winds in excess of more than 55kts and seas of 6-8 metres, is passing through the gap between the leaders Virbac Paprec 3 to the east and Mapre to the west of it.
The high pressure under South Africa is still producing reliable upwind conditions for the girls on GAES Centros Auditivos, while the two boats in front of them Neutrogena and Mirabaud are doing their best to outrun it as it tracks slowly east. But in general the picture is improving slowly towards the end of the week as the blocking high by the Kerguelens starts to weaken and move east towards Australia, and so that should start to offer some opportunities for the boats towards the back of the fleet to move south and use the train of east moving low pressure systems but they will be well to the south. By Saturday the blocking high situation largely dissipates.
The trough running SE from Madagascar remains active and in a few days another low will spin out of the cyclogenesis breeding ground.
Power reaching on the east side of the low in NE and N'ly winds the weather will be muggy, even some mist and fog for Virbac-Paprec 3, sailing in warmer, most air drawn down from the tropical latitudes over the colder water temperatures. They will have it unpleasant, with around 40 knots of breeze and moderate seas, but the sea state will be less of a problem than the wind strength. They look to have a fairly direct route to the Amsterdam gate which they will likely opt to pass on the western end to allow them to dip south for longest as they arc towards the Australian Barrier gate and carry on riding the trough for as long as it is active.
For Mapre on the west side of the depression the conditions will be cold and clear, sailing in air which is drawn up from the polar regions, they will be racing into stronger breezes with some confused, slightly chaotic seas.
On the 0900hrs ranking this morning MAPFRE continue to chip away at the lead of Virbac Paprec 3, gaining just over 6 miles this morning. Esrtrella Damm are fastest at 22.3 knots.
Barcelona World Race website