On the next stage along the American east coast and into the Chesapeake Bay, you have to master the entire range of sailing racing perfectly if you want to win. Local heroes are welcome.
SEB has brought no one worse than Mark Reynolds on board. Certainly a very good move, especially when it comes to the end of this stage through the Chesapeake Bay, an area that Reynolds knows damn well from various (successful) championships. It will be the race of the American local heroes. Here, John Kostecki can certainly bring some additional valuable knowledge to the table. However - that could already be all that makes ILLBRUCK stronger in this section than other teams with “missing” local knowledge. After all, they were hardworking and have meanwhile been able to make enormous adjustments to the sailors' wardrobe. ILLBRUCK’s trump card of the fast cloths in the first stages should therefore have shrunk considerably. And how fast ASSABLOY is was not only seen in the last stage. Second place overall is not surprising. After initially all too risky solo attempts with placement outliers, the Swedes are now on a steady way to the top. The gap to ILLBRUCK is still 8 points, but you shouldn't be mistaken. This cushion is not really thick, there are still too many miles ahead of the ships. After the start of Miami heading north, there will initially not be too many options: if the gradient wind is very weak, it can pay off to stay under the coast to benefit from the sea wind. However, it is advisable to take the direct route, because the Gulf Stream with its 3 to 4 knots of pushing current should not be neglected. At the moment it looks like winds of 15 to 20 knots (Bft 4-5) on Sunday, which turns SE to S in the northern part, i.e. towards Cape Hatteras. Accordingly, the ships will try to orientate themselves on the main band of the Gulf Stream. Keep the path short and take with you as much as possible of the Gulf Stream, which comes back to the coast here at Cape Hatteras, but then separates from the American mainland and continues to flow northeast. For the fleet it is 110 nautical miles further north to the left into Chesapeake Bay, an area with a lot of peculiarities, local wind systems, difficult current conditions and especially in summer: extremely tricky. It's not summer yet and a look at the long-term calculations of the forecast models promises a relatively stable south-facing position for next Tuesday / Wednesday with atmospheric pressure contrasts that are good for 10 to 14 knots. So there is a lot of spinning in prospect, especially many, many jibes. These either to avoid the current within the bay or to distance oneself from the enemy. The latter is likely to be difficult, however. The stage is too short to build a distance to the opponent, from today's perspective the wind conditions do not hold any big surprises or "messes". As with the last stage, the last 100 nautical miles will represent the all-important section between victory and defeat and you will certainly not be able to complain about tension.