It is interesting to see that Mark is coming closer to Jean-Luc every week. There is still gap of 650 miles but Jean-Luc has an 18 hr penalty, so he has to cross 45 N, then wait 18 hrs after which he is allowed to cross the line again and then sail to the finish. This 45 N line is just N of Spain. Depending on the weather it can cost a day which means a maximum 150 miles. Keeping this in mind Mark needs to cover a gap of 500 miles in the next 25 days so he needs to win 20 miles every day. This looks much and it is, but it is still possible and if I was Jean-Luc I would not feel comfortable about it. Jean-Luc seems to have control over his mast damage. It will slow him down for the next two weeks during the predicted headwinds but when he is in the westerly winds he will feel more secure again.
Looking at the weather forecast it looks as if Jean-Luc will get light winds for the next five days. He might lose a lot of miles here. Mark will be in the NO trade winds for the coming week so he will gain hundreds of miles. Lets hope that he will not get the calms later. The predictions for more than a week ahead differs between the forecast models so Mark might get luck on his site during the last weeks of the race. On the audio files he sent us by HF radio he sounds optimistic. His focus is on weather forecasts and the distance to Jean-Luc.
I expect him at the finish at the end of this month but the longer the race takes for both Jean-Luc and Mark, the less distance he has to gain on a daily base. So I would not be disappointed if it took some more days.
Webdesign: Online Beeldvorming