This race is taking a page from the early Whitbreads. A two thousand mile beat to S.A.? The combination of the southern position of the anticyclone, and the northern position of the ice-gate, viola, a split fleet, the leader intent on sailing to windward, against the southeast trades, while second thru 13? have no choice but to take a southern route, and then north, around the ice-gate.
Yeah real interesting to see BP trying to cut across the Helena High --- from the last 3 Volvo's at least we have learned that to reach Capetown fastest, you dip as deep South as you dare on the Western side of the Atlantic, and then ride the lows East to basically south of Capetown, and only then come back up (in the last Volvo it wasn't that extreem, I think I recall in the one before some of the boats hit Capetown heading pretty much North). Not sure if all of those had icegates though.
Interesting to follow, now let's hope all remainders stay afloat and in competition and we have another brilliant 60 days to go.