The Coriolis effect versus the IMOCAs in the Vendée Globe as Ecuador passes


Vigo (Pontevedra)

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The UK Met Office says that due to the Earth’s rotation it experiences an apparent force known as the Coriolis force. An effect described by the 19th century French physicist and mathematician Gustave-Gaspard de Coriolis in 1835. He formulated theories of fluid dynamics through the study of water wheels, and realized that the same theories could be applied to the motion of fluids on the Earth’s surface.

This deviation is an important factor in explaining why winds blow counterclockwise around low pressure and clockwise around high pressure in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa in the Southern Hemisphere. Without the Coriolis effect, air would simply flow directly from high pressure areas to low pressure areas; effects that influence wind patterns.

The proximity of the trade winds of both hemispheres will allow the crossing of the Equator to be fast and non-stop, as explained by Christian Dumard, advisory meteorologist of the Vendée Globe 2020-2021: “The Doldrums were kind to the head of the fleet. They only encountered a few gusts of wind, but this did not prevent them from reaching an average close to 15 knots during the last 24 hours. Conditions could deteriorate from Friday with less wind and more gusts for the last competitors.

Meanwhile, the former must keep their eyes on the screens and the weather forecast to try to find a passage in the South Atlantic. The weather situation for next week is unclear.

In the short term, the goal is to sail with a fast wind angle to keep moving south or south-southwest and find a more sustained trade wind. In the long term, the goal will be to position itself around the Santa Helena high pressure system.

The interesting wind corridor for Vendée Globe participants is located west of the Santa Elena high pressure zone and east of the depressions coming from Brazil. Systems change rapidly and forecasts lack precision after four or five days. ”

Thomson crossed Ecuador at 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday (November 18, 2020) after 9 days, 11 hours and 59 minutes. Despite maintaining a frenetic pace from the Azores islands, there are already five leading the fleet to the south, it has not been able to improve its record of 9 days and hours and 7 hours achieved in the Vendée Globe 2016-2017 for 04 hours and 57 minutes .

In the wake of “Hugo Boss” the second is Thomas Ruyant’s “LinkedOut” (78.7 miles), followed by Charlie Dalin’s “Apivia” (97.6 miles), “Yes We Cam!” by Jean le Cam (114.8 miles) and in fifth place the «PRB» by Kevin Escoffier (180.7 miles)

In the breakdown section, 1,482 miles from the first, Armel Tripon has become a true IMOCA tightrope walker, the breakdowns on the top of the mast of his L’Occitane en Provence have forced him to make a second ascent: “I had to go back up the mast a second time to finish the job, cutting an aluminum ring, leaving part of the broken hook, which was potentially aggressive for the loop that holds J3’s forestay. The waves still very present made me dance the waltz around the mast: a blow in the shade, a blow in the sun! I had taken the battery grinder with me and thus found myself 20 meters high cutting this ring, being careful not to injure myself and not cut the loop, which would have been catastrophic! A few minutes of extreme concentration, well wedged between two wave trains, I said on the water, alone in the sea, as if I were calmly in the port! The loop is safe, the job is done – I’m calm. This kind of small win is good for the head. The trade winds return for a few days, long enough to rush towards the Doldrums and gradually return to the game. “.

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