BBC coverage from yacht Edinburgh Inspiring Capital this morning shows the weather as warm and calm, but this race sees the yachts making their first ocean crossing as they set out through the notorious Bay of Biscay and into the Atlantic Ocean. During the race to Rio de Janeiro the amateur crews will achieve their first Equatorial crossing.
There are two key obstacles in the way of the fleet during the race to Rio:
- The Canary Islands – do you take the shortest route through the middle and risk being becalmed in the wind shadow of the archipelago, or go round the outside?
- The Inter-Tropical Conversion Zone, better known as The Doldrums. This area of light and shifting winds provokes frustration at the slow progress of the yachts and, combined with the searing heat which causes tempers to fray, is often seen as a greater challenge for crews than sailing in strong winds.