For them, it was once in the direction of Cape Verde, to go later from here with the slowly recovering Trade winds to the west.
Big arc through the north
A good handful of boats, on the other hand, used a small low with a core at 33°N 28°W in the days after the start to gain an advantage. They sailed in the north of the core with aft winds around the low and then looked for the transition to trade winds on the western edge of the low.
This big arc in the north should pay off, because this group was at the end in front of everyone else in St. Lucia.
ARC tracker of 2014 © Wetterwelt
Windfeld collapsed in 2015
In 2014, there should be no surprise except for the victories of a Volvo 70 and a Farr 100 in the rest of the field. Especially not in the weather. The expected and hoped for classic trade wind situation occurs from start to finish.
In 2015 we started with good and stable winds, but after about four days at Cape Verde, a small depression was developed. The wind field collapsed here. Boats on the southern course suddenly had problems. Those who drove a little further north had to install a small north diverter to stay in the good wind. And all those who eventually drove north of the Great Circle course were in the lead.
ARC tracker of 2015 © Wetterwelt
Low pressure trough in the middle of the way
2016 was a very special year. The weather was anything but easy, because in the middle of the track was a so-called low-pressure trough, that not wanted to move or dissolve from that place.
It was not only constantly showering and thunderstorms, but the wind field was anything but stable and sailable.
ARC tracker of 2016 © Wetterwelt
Only two way out
So basically, there were only two possibilities: 1. You make your way far south, in the hope that the trade wind will be there. Or you can sail far north, around this doldrum area. This resulted in a striking division of the field into two, with the northern route ultimately being the somewhat faster one.
However, there were also a few yachts that passed through. But the feedback shows that this daring will be punished with inconvenience. Missing wind and sometimes heavy weather hit the crews and the engine hours (allowed, but gives negative points) went up diligently.
ARC tracker of 2017 © Wetterwelt
Stormy low shifted Azores high
In 2017, the start of the regatta caused a storm for an extremely strong southward shift of the Azores and thus also the Trade winds. These only started at the level of the Cape Verde and extended only very slowly in the course of the race to the north again.
Thus, the “golden course” this year was that of Cape Verde: First, a small nozzle along the African coast had to be used to get into the Trade winds area.