The World ARC fleet has been temporarily split by a weather feature (technically a shear line axis). This feature is bringing 30 knot winds, and is moving slowly south east across the cruising area.
The feature is currently covering a triangular area 10S 179W to 15S 165W to 20S 160W and is crossing the cruising area over the next two to three days.
This has been well forecast, and advice has been given to the fleet. Boats that were sailing direct from Bora Bora to Niue were advised to alter course to Suwarrow, taking them north of the weather. Boats in Suwarrow are advised to remain at anchor until the 24th or 25th May, when the strongest winds will have moved through.
The six boats that left Surwarrow are now safely in Niue, having had a brisk sail at an average of 8 knots!
Weather at sea is unpredictable, and doesn't always do what the computer models suggest. For the skippers, making a decision to stay or go, to alter course or to slow down to allow a system to move ahead is a case of juggling information from many sources. The weather forecasts and GRIB file data can be analysed, and then balanced with what the skipper knows about the performance of his boat and the strength of his crew.
Fiji Weather map 24 May
Boat locations on 24 May