Since in the long term the situation on the Atlantic would normalize again, the strategy was to find the stable winds as fast as possible in the south in order to go with you to St. Lucia and not have to use the engine as long as possible. In the end, this routing strategy helped a Hallberg Rassy 37 to overall victory.
Preparing for ARC 2018: weather knowledge for ARC participants © ARC 2018 / WCC J. Mitchell
Gusts can always occur
By contrast, 2018 was almost normal. It went with fairly stable conditions on a course that was exactly in the middle between Cape Verde and the great circle. Except for individual squalls, so local disturbances with gusts up to the 40 knots, which can appear however each year, remained surprises.
2019 started almost like 2017.
However, a low had already passed the Canary Islands a few days before the start, so that behind it there was high-pressure over the route. For a large part of the fleet, it was initially windy for a long time.
ARC tracker of 2019 © Wetterwelt
Royal way over the Cape Verde
Again, the royal way was initially for the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers on a direct route to Cape Verde to find the more stable wind there. But that was only for the fast boats. The slightly slower could draw no great benefit from the already after a week slowly rebuilding Trade winds.
Above all because the trade wind field was newly formed from two directions. Once from the still existing field at Cape Verde and then another trade wind field from the Canaries was added by a north shift of the Azores high. The boats in the longer doldrums had another advantage. To be on the shortest route and to see the new wind a little earlier from aft.
Best ARC sailing is guarenteed with trade winds from astern © ARC 2019 / WCC J. Mitchell
Every year exciting again
As you can see from this short analysis, each year is exciting again and often difficult in the forecast. Since the requested routings are first and foremost about safety, a correct tactic regarding the best wind only plays a subordinate role.
At the latest after the routing success with the Hallberg Rassy 37 in 2017, the possibility has also become quite cost-effective to be able to shop for routing in the WetterWelt in order to reach the front places in race.
However, one must also note that for most of the fleet the biggest challenge is yet to come: the way back to Europe!