… they are often wrong!
So yesterday I talked about lighter winds around 15 knots at the start.
Hmmmm!! seems like Bertha is keeping her presence felt for longer than
predicted and the boats all shot off in 20-30 knot winds this morning.
They are now experiencing 30 knots plus along the South Coast.
I mentioned there would be a lot of 20-25 knots and this remains true but
for the time being until Bertha has moved further north and declined a bit
the wind looks set to stay stronger than this. The next sign of the wind
slackening for class 1-3 boats is around Tuesday morning with a brief
reduction to 20 knots, but then the wind builds again and will be back in
the 25+ knot area until Wednesday morning when winds could be down to 15
knots in places but may still be 30 knots depending on where they are in
the North Sea.
I also mentioned about the reach and windward leg up to Shetland and the
benefits of keeping to a shorter route and hanging on the left of the
fleet. This could well be wrong as well. (As you might expect for a
prediction for 3 days hence). Bertha is headed North and then NW and looks
to be centered over Shetland by Tuesday afternoon or early evening. After
that the centre of the low heads SE back to the southern tip of Norway. It
looks set to arrive off the SW coast of Norway just SW of Stavanger around
Thursday afternoon. Given the wind rotates clockwise round a low this
means that if the boats continue to make fast progress on Tuesday and
Wednesday and the low follows this track, there will be an opportunity to
go right and go to the east of the low pressure and then catch a SE flow
round the top of the low pressure that the boats can ride all the way to
Shetland. this looks quicker than fighting up the west side of the low
where the wind will be NW and N.
However if the boats are not as quick as I am expecting or the low pressure
comes SE earlier. Then boats would be best on the left hand side of the
track. So the navigators will be pondering this dilemma. They will be
tracking the weather systems and their own rate of progress. We could see
a divergence in the choices made by the skippers of different boats.
Either way we can expect the middle of the fleet to be rounding Muckle
Flugga on Thursday. The race is still looking like it will be fast in
first half of the course. These decisions will make a big difference.
N.B. The scenario for the fast Volvo boats will look different, from this
they will arrive in this area12- 24 hours earlier than class 1-3 boats.
They will be in a different race from IRC classes 1-3.