If you have been wondering why the hell the Volvo Ocean Race fleet appears to be sailing away from the finish in New Zealand, and why PUMA appears to be heading to Alaska, then the Groupama team will do its best to enlighten you. Here is their analysis:
There's been a major meteorological upset over the North Pacific: a very large subtropical depression (962 hPa) is extending away from Japan towards the East, with another depression replacing it this weekend over the Empire of the Rising Sun, whilst a third system is rolling across from China at the start of next week! This succession of very pronounced disruptions which are due to affect 35° North, won't hit the fleet, which are sailing 600 miles further South, along the Tropic of Cancer. However, these systems are messing up the usual system, by pushing back the anticyclone which is generating tradewinds which are a lot further towards the centre of the ocean. In meteorological terms it's a very unstable zone, which has settled across the route of the VO-70s, causing a highly variable breeze due to a small isobaric gradient. In this way, the north-easterly breeze on Thursday, gave way to a south-easterly flow this Friday morning, whilst a front is on its way with some north-westerly wind on Saturday...
"Given that the weather forecasts have seldom been accurate over recent days, we've drawn up a strategy