The first of the iconic Great Capes has been passed in the Barcelona World Race with Cheminées Poujoulat rounding the Cape of Good Hope. Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam passed 20°E around 400 miles south of Cape Agulhas – the southernmost tip of Africa – and have begun the Indian Ocean leg of their race around Antarctica.
Second-placed Neutrogena initially looked set to follow just four or five hours behind, but lighter westerlies have hindered their exit from the Atlantic. Guillermo Altadill and Jose Muñoz, who opted for a much more southerly approach to the Cape, now look set to make the crossing much later as they are around 160 miles behind, almost directly west of the lead boat.
The leaders entering the Indian Ocean will initially see a confused sea state following a period of changeable winds to the east of South Africa. Cheminées Poujoulat was sailing this afternoon in 15-18 knot westerlies that look set to strength to 25-28 knots this evening. However, within the next 24-36 hours an east-moving low pressure system should pass to the south of the lead boats, bringing fast 35-40 windspeeds.
With 10-12 days likely to separate the first and last boats by the time the entire fleet is in the Indian Ocean, race organisers have also announced a minor change to the An tarctic Exclusion Zone in order to protect the boats at the rear of the fleet. In Amendment 2 of Appendix 7 five points have been moved north 1°- 2°.
Race Director Jacques Caraes explained the decision, announced yesterday: “With our partner CLS and meteorologist Marcel Van Triest we decided to move some points slightly further north after detecting floating ice just north of the Crozet and Kerguelen Islands, and we must ensure the safety of the whole fleet.” As per the pre-race agreement, the teams have been notified before any boat reaches the longitude of 30°E.