After perfect conditions for the start yesterday (05/11), most ARC+ boats were initially making slower than expected progress, with many skippers opting for well-reefed sails as dusk approached. ARC pre-start Met-brief had predicted a bumpy night as boats entered the wind acceleration zones to the south of Gran Canaria, coinciding with veering wind increasing to 15 knots from NE and building overnight. Most skippers opted for a more easterly route closer to the African coast, to keep out of the stronger gusts. Two boats are back on the dock in Las Palmas: one planned; one unplanned. White Night are hoping to depart today once a delayed consignment of new sails arrives. Mahe 36 catamaran Moon Bird had to return due to electrical issues. Technicians from the Las Palmas boatyard are working on the problem today, planning for a possible restart on Tuesday (07/11).
Aboard the Oyster 485 ‘Wild Goose’, yesterday evening they were settling in for a comfortable night after a ‘perfect day’ said skipper James Eaton in his log post. He continued “By about 5pm the wind had filled in to about 15kts and we were flying, but not in the right direction so knowing that our spinnaker cloth was 24 years old discretion seemed the better part of valour, so we took down the chute and unrolled and poled out the Genoa maintaining a brisk 6.5-7kts in great comfort.”
Far to the north of the fleet, Atlantic lows heading towards Biscay have set up a long-period NW swell which is now reaching the fleet as they sail south. During today (06/11) the strong NE trade winds up to 25 knots, building from the back of the fleet, will start to push the boats relentlessly towards Cape Verde. It is likely to be a ‘lively’ ride as a cross-swell builds as the wind strength increases, making it uncomfortable for those sailors who have not yet found their ‘sea legs’. Riding the Atlantic swell is a typical ocean experience, and the downside of having a fast tradewind passage for the 880 nautical miles to Cape Verde.
Based on current forecast winds, the first boats are expected to make landfall in Mindelo on 9th or 10th November. The Italia Yachts 15.98 ‘Nessun Dorma’ is leading the monohulls having put 192.3NM under her keel since the start yesterday, with Oyster 595 Sydney Rock making 183NM in second place. Amongst the performance multihulls, a ‘battle royale’ is building with Marsaudon ORC50 just leading Manta Jo, the closest of the Outremer pack (Manta Jo, Maracuja and XIII TREIZE) by 3.6NM after 24 hours. In the building breeze today, we will certainly see these carbon-cats easily breaching the 200NM+ run per day; Maracuja has already reported surfing down a swell and reaching 18.7 knots overnight!
All ARC+ boats are carrying YB Trackers and send regular position updates every 4 hours to the ARC website.