As the system continues to head rapidly east, so the wind is expected to increase and build from the south, leaving STAMM set to contend with strong southerly winds. 'I'm really not lucky with Cape Horn. This time, again, will be very rough,' he said.
Almost 1,700 miles behind the leader, Koji SHIRAISHI (JPN) has been dogged by a lack of wind on this Southern Ocean leg, although progress towards the second ice gate has been a little better over the weekend. His current concern is being able to see where he's going. 'Lots of fog - visibility down to 100-200m, sea temp down to 6°C, few prayers said, no ice seen but time to head back up north a little. Still lack of wind due to the influence of high pressure off to northeast.'
At the back of the fleet, there is little to choose between Unai BASURKO (ESP), Graham DALTON (NZL) or Sir Robin KNOX-JOHNSTON (GBR). They are all making good progress in strong westerly winds generated by the enormous Southern Ocean depression further to their west.
KNOX-JOHNSTON was anticipating a bumpy ride in days to come. 'The past few days have been pleasant, but now the next gale is almost on us according to the New Zealand forecast, and a falling barometric pressure rather confirms it. The three of us close together have not moved much relatively in the last 24 hours. I closed their latitude by moving south, which explains why I have slightly reduced their lead on the distance to leader basis. Now we are all gybed with a NW wind heading roughly east.
'The sea is grey, there are only occasional glimpses of blue in the sky or shafts of sunlight, and the squalls are all over the place, dark and menacing, sometimes with rain but always with those extra knots of wind that leave you on tenterhooks as to whether to reduce sail or not. The seaman says yes, the racer says hang on a bit longer. We worry and hang on as the surges rise in speed, for a while at least. Then the squall passes, the cloud thins and we even get a clear sky for a while and I measure the ultra violet radiation as part of a check on increased solar strength.'
The first leg of the VELUX 5 OCEANS started on 22 October from Bilbao, Spain. Six international skippers crossed the start line in the Bay of Biscay bound for Fremantle, Western Australia. The leg is expected to take approximately six weeks with the first boat arriving in Australia around the first week in December.
The VELUX 5 OCEANS is the longest race for any individual in any sport. Over the first few days, the fleet will make their way along the northern coast of Spain to Cape Finistère where they will turn south towards the Southern Ocean. However, all of the skippers know that this race is a marathon and not a sprint. During the 30,000 miles sailed in the VELUX 5 OCEANS race, the yachts will encounter some of the most extreme sea and weather conditions on the planet.
For a complete list of all the news about the VELUX 5 OCEANS 2006-2007 CLICK HERE.