1st Leg: Start September 10th
6650 Nm.
Finish approximately October 18th

UK- Cape Town

This first leg down the Atlantic is a classic section of the traditional round the world route. Beginning in the Solent- one of the most famous stretches of water in the world- the boats head out into the Western Approaches then bend their course South to cross the infamous Bay of Biscay. 

Although at this time of year we would not expect very heavy weather, it is possible to experience some stronger conditions which will shake down the boats ahead of their entry to the Southern Atlantic and then the Southern Ocean.

The first tactical crux of this leg is the approach to and departure from the Canary Islands with yachts over the years finding multiple solutions to the ‘Canary Cage’ problem. Some hug the African coast to gain advantage in coastal breeze and others head far West to find steady pressure- what would you do?

After this we have to negotiate the Doldrums- the area of complex weather patterns just North and South of the equator that range from zero wind for days to strong squalls that can flatten a boat carrying too much sail. Finding the sweet spot to cross the Doldrums can put you far ahead of less lucky boats or leave you wallowing for days unable to do anything to help yourself.  

Once we are through this obstacle we have to get serious in the increasing wind speeds and stronger conditions found in the Southern Atlantic. All focus will be on getting around the Saint Helena high which sits in the middle of the Southern Atlantic centred slightly North of the Cape of Good Hope, rotating slowly anticlockwise requiring skippers to carefully judge where to position the boat on the East coast of South America and when exactly to make the turn East towards Cape Town. This a juncture in the race where an incorrect choice can see fleet positions change dramatically before the final sprint into Cape Town.