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11/05 - 10h45

Weather: Respite Now, Prepare for New Low

The Ultimes have it good, going downwind under main and gennaker staying south of the lighter winds of the Azores high. But for the rest of the fleet a new depression will arrive bringing another dose of big winds and nasty seas especially off Cape Finisterre.

There is a moderate N to NW'ly airflow in the Atlantic between the Azores high 1029hPa centred at 33 deg N and 33 deg W and a depression 1000hPa centred over the Gulf of Genoa.

With the warm front ahead of a new depression the flow returns to the W around the Azores. Between Madeira and the Canaries the flow is NNE and moderating on the SE side of the anticyclone.

Thursday will see SW'ly winds between the Azores, the Bay of Biscay and the Iberian Peninsula. At midday the warm front will lie on the axis between Portugal and the Iroise (N Brittany) with a cold front on the axis 40 ° N20 ° W / 50 ° N10 ° W. South of Madeira the flow is NE but irregular in force and direction.

Wednesday 05:
In the Ultimes Loick Peyron leads, leaving the more disturbed regime in the N and NW. To the SW of Madeira they are in NNE winds, moderate but quite irregular. They remain south of the direct routing to stay with the best of the wind before the high expands to 30 deg N. Sea conditions have become much easier with a N'ly swell of two to three metres.

The IMOCA leaders have chosen a route to the W, closer to the direct routing and heading more directly for the Azores. This morning the winds are in the NW and weakening significantly, boat speeds dropping. In the afternoon the wind shifts heralding the arrival of the warm front, requiring them to tack dead upwind. By this evening and tonight the winds will be back up to 20-25kts at the front of a cold front which will duly bring a NW'ly wind.
The Multi 50s are well offshore of the Iberian Peninsula in moderate NW'ly winds. Lalou Roucayrol is well set in the west to get the new system first this afternoon. His pursuers are on a WSW'ly route looking to escape the high pressure as it spreads south in the coming hours.

Class 40 and the Rhum class are well spread over the Bay of Biscay and offshore of the Iberian peninsula where the weather conditions are improving. Their NW'ly winds are more moderate now but unstable. There are still some gusts around at 30-35kts but they are are less frequent. This evening as the warm front approaches the winds will return to the W and NW during the night.

Thursday 6th
Apart from the Ultimes, the rest of the fleet will be affected by the Atlantic depression system. In the morning the SW''ly flow will continue to build. For the Rhum class and the Class 40s that means 25-28kts on the S part of the Bay of Biscay with nasty cross seas, and 35kts off Cape Finisterre. Gusts will be to 55kts off Finisterre in the late afternoon and evening with precipitation in front of the front.
The Multi 50s and IMOCA will pass through the front quickly with 35-40kts before the breeze veers NW allowing them to tack S.
The Ultimes en route towards the West Indies will be in NE trade winds making gybes downwind.

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