This morning we have been looking at the likely weather conditions for Leg 2 of La solitaire du Figaro which starts at 1400UT on Sunday 7th August. The leg is one of the longest of this year’s Solitaire and takes the fleet west from Caen around Cherbourg and Guernsey before heading north west towards Lands End. Then follows a crossing of the Irish Sea to southern Ireland, before a final stretch up the mountainous coast of East Ireland to Dun Laoghaire, in Dublin Bay.
The forecast indicates that at the start of the race a low pressure front will sweep up the channel bringing strong south-westerly winds. There are some thundery lows associated with the active front which may bring gusts up to 40kts. One the front passes, the wind will veer north west and give the fleet an upwind beat from Guernsey to Lands End. Once the fleet reach Lands End, a slow moving ridge of high pressure drifts over the Irish Sea and will further veer the wind before backing slightly as the ridge should pass south of the fleet. The final stretch off southern Ireland, could bring a second active cold front that will sweep over Northern Ireland bringing stronger south westerly winds for our arrival into Dun Laoghaire.
The challenges will be the strong and gusty winds off Barfleur and the difficult and confused sea state associated with the very strong currents off the Cherbourg Penninsula. The net big challenge will be tackling the high pressure ridge in the Irish Sea and avoiding getting swallowed by the light conditions. The east coast of Ireland is very mountainous, so the last 100 miles up the coast may bring gusty south westerly winds that should see some fast downwind sailing as we approach Dublin and a pint of the Black Stuff.
Start Time: 1400UT (1600 Local), Caen