Fuente info Safran Sailing Team
Transat Jacques Vabre
Weather: state of alert for the first few days of racing
The postponement of the start of the Transat Jacques Vabre to 1400 hrs GMT on Wednesday does not mean that the worries about the weather can be forgotten. Far from it. The boats and sailors will start to suffer much sooner but probably for less time... They will however be facing some difficult conditions, as Sylvain Mondon of Météo France and Yann Eliès explain. Along with Marc Guillemot, they are looking for the best strategy to put in place aboard Safran for these first few days of racing.
"We may have postponed the start, but we haven’t changed the weather situation. Even if the famous low-pressure area which made us wait seems to have lost some of its intensity, we shall still be facing heavy seas with 7-8 metre high waves. The wind should mean slightly easier conditions at the start – a 20 to 25 knot southerly, then 30-35 knots as we get closer to the low. The conditions are just that little bit more acceptable for us, but are still going to be tough particularly for the Multi 50s.” In a few simple words, Yann Eliès has summed up the situation: a little bit easier, but it’s still going to be hard going.
Sylvain Mondon has given us some more details. "At the start in the English Channel, they will have 20-25 knots from the south-east in the Bay of the Seine, then a southerly after the tip of the Cherbourg Peninsula, in fairly decent seas with 2-3 metre high waves. With the wind on the beam as they leave the Channel, we can expect a quick exit. But on Thursday the area of heavy seas that they wanted to avoid will be stretching out from Ireland to Cape Finisterre, with 35-knot gusts and 7-metre high waves." So a state of alert for the first 24 hours.
Veering north-westerly on Thursday evening
From a strategic perspective, the idea is to try to make the most of the wind shifting to the north-west behind the low-pressure area. In order to achieve that, they are going to have to head west towards a point still to be defined (or which will be determined by the sea state) to take advantage of the move to downwind sailing, "and the seas are still going to be big, seeing this low developed a week ago over the United States” added Yann Eliès. This shift is expected to be reached by Thursday evening, according to Sylvain Mondon. In this north-westerly air stream the fleet should be able to sail on a long starboard tack until Saturday, to make their way south. "It’s still going to be rough with 4-5 metre high waves," warned Sylvain Mondon, with some nasty, cross seas because of the south-westerly wind in addition to a west-north-westerly swell. But this tack is likely to be quick and close to the direct route on a trajectory taking Safran and the other competitors down towards the Azores.
More choices at the Azores
At the weekend, there will be another situation to consider, which Yann explains, "We’re going to have to deal with the transition between a high-pressure area in the Bay of Biscay and another to the west of the Azores, in order to find the best route in the trade winds down to the French West Indies." Sylvain Mondon points out that the timing here is going to be vital. "We’re either going to have to go and look for a low-pressure arriving from the west to be able to sail downwind or try to dive down south to pick up the trade winds before the Azores high blocks our path, which means sailing between the Azores and the Canaries."
But we are not there yet. Far from it. For the moment, they are going to have to keep studying the weather models right up to the start at 1400 hrs on Wednesday. On top of that, they are going to have to try to find the best way of reaching the wind shift behind the low, which everyone has been focusing on for the past few days.
Etiquetas: Regatas internacionales