Vendee Globe: Alex Thompson and JP Dick press on.

At the 1400 (Paris time) position report on Friday 25 Jan, Alex Thompson still has not passed the keel-less JP Dick. The calculated DTF is down to 16 miles but Thompson is to the NW of Dick by about 90 miles and a little abaft his beam. It looks as though they may be splitting the Azores: Thompson West, Dick East. That Thompson will sail by Dick cannot be in doubt, I think (I reserve the Yogi Berra Rule), but the present positions/conditions are the easy part.

Roughly 600 miles to the west and a bit north, weather on the tracking site shows a large low shaping up. That is separate from the already 50 knots plus low directly north of them

A look at a N.O.A.A. high-seas forecast–you have to look at both parts-The divide is 45 degrees west…gives you some idea of what is shaping up. West is here: East part over the Azores is here. This is the 12 Z forecast for Friday. I read this as a  984 mb (so far) low,.

Then looking at GRIB files, Oh Boy. It is gonna get ugly out there. I make this low to be generating hard weather from the longitude of roughly the west end of Iceland all the way to Halifax and from 48 N to 32 N. 16 degrees of latitude, almost 1,000 miles. So in terms of area? Mebe eighteen hundred miles by a thousand, so 65% of the North Atlantic?

Gcaptain, a commercial shipping blog shows a map here, that does not do justice to what I am seeing on the grib files.

And the BBC shipping forecast site has issued gale warnings for the bulk of the West coast of Ireland out to the SE corner of Iceland. The BBC  High Seas forecast shows storm to violent storm, Force 9 to11 in the areas they call East and West central sections.

In any event, it is going to be windy to the finish, for all four of the leaders. We have all been in situations where the risk/reward decision tree get pared pretty thin. I would not like to be in Thompson’s sea boots right now let alone JP Dick’s.

Bon Courage.