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Global Solo Challenge - Route to the South and the Azores high: tactical choices

by Global Solo Challenge 26 Mar 06:54 PDT
North Atlantic © Global Solo Challenge

After the start, several months of solitude and thousands of miles will lie ahead of Global Solo Challenge skippers. The tie between sailor and boat will create complicity that only solo sailing alone can offer.

Skippers will have to rely on their resources and maintain confidence in their boats.

After the emotions of the departure and the first miles off the Costa da Morte and Cape Finisterre well behind, it will be time to head south and establish a routine. Some tasks will become each sailor's daily bread. A crucial one will be the constant monitoring of weather forecasts. Advances in high seas electronics and communications will allow skippers to access forecasts throughout their navigation.

In this first stage of their sail, their long voyage through the vastness of the Oceans, GSC participants will have to closely monitor the Azores' high and North Atlantic low-pressure systems. It will help them make tactical decisions to find the best winds for their boat. The Global Solo Challenge is open to a wide range of sailboats with different performance characteristics, which they will have to take into account.

The anticyclone of the Azores plays an important role, both on the outward and return routes. Many aspects depend on its location and the position of the lows to the North.

This high-pressure system is typically located around 30 degrees North and affects the weather of the North Atlantic and the trade winds belt. It generates a flow of steady northeasterly winds throughout the year, with greater intensity in winter than in summer. Trade winds blow from the west coast of Africa to the Caribbean Sea, with the northern limit between 25 and 30 degrees North.

Depending on the time of year, the intensity varies. With an average force of 3-4 on the Beaufort scale, they can reach force 6-7 between January and March.

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