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11/04 - 10h42

Weather.: Getting Better

Today, Tuesday 4th, the wind flow is NW'ly, strong and unstable under the influence of the low pressure system from the British Isles to the Mediterranean.  There is an active cold front which at midday is located in the axis from Madiera to the Strait of Gibraltar. There is an anticyclone 1030h centred SW of the Azores between 35 deg N and 33 deg W.
Wednesday the NNw'ly winds ease between the Azores high centred 33 deg N and 33 deg W and a depression 1001hPa on the Gulf of Genoa. The NNE flow is strong between Madeira and the Canaries.
Tuesday 04:
In the brisk NNW'ly airstream Loïc Peyron leading the fleet on Banque Populaire moves quickly downwind towards Madeira which the Ultime leaders should pass by the end of today. In this unstable weather the winds are up and down a bit, averaging 20-25kts but with gusts which will reach 20-25kts. As they progress southwards the breeze will ease and the seas become more orderly.
The IMOCA Open 60s in the south of the Bay of Biscay progress SW in a strong NW'ly airstream. Two options emerge with the leading group lead by Francois Gabart sailing out to the west, offshore on the more direct route while the other three rivals sail further east and south looking to hold on to the stronger breeze for longer. For all the IMOCA Open 60s the conditions remain difficult with gusts of 40kts in the squalls accompanied by big seas, a swell over 6 metres.
The Multi 50s are scattered over the Bay of Biscay. Lalou Roucayrol on Arkéma has taken the more direct, westerly route while those in the east sail more miles. Same as for the IMOCA Open 60s there are big seas and strong gusts.
Finally, the Rhum Class 40 and continue to cross the Bay of Biscay in NWly winds averaging to 20 knots. Seas are more ordered but still 6 metres. Gusts to 35 to 40kts.

Wednesday 05:
Ultimes have passed Madeira and need to make the decision when to turn right towards the West Indies in good NE'ly trades enhanced by the cold air running down to the latitude of the Canaries. Speeds remain high but they will be more downwind and so have to gybe.
The IMOCA Open 60s and the Multi50s off the Iberian peninsula are in a N'ly flow easing to become NW'ly 15 to 20kts. By late afternoon the winds are gradually returning into the W as a warm front approaches ahead of a new low.
Class 40 and the Rhum fleet will sail in moderate NW'lies becoming W'ly but still with big swells. On the night of Wed into Thurs the warm front crosses the fleet with NW 20kts breeze. 

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