The 3,500 miles Retour à La Base race from Martinique to Lorient La Base looks set to start in relatively gentle conditions before a fast, potentially bumpy ride to France.

Thursday midday the start area should see about 12-15kts from the NE to ENE,
“We are expecting a moderate trade wind from the east sector 65-80°”,  Basile Rochut, the race’s meteorological consultant told the skippers briefing this morning. There may be some squalls passing through which might require the start to be delayed slightly.

After getting away from the shores of Martinique shore the trade winds will be unsettled and squally. Then as they climb north a first front arrives from the west on Saturday as they negotiate the west side of the Bermuda high pressure system which is moving eastward. This phase should not be too difficult with around 10kts from the south,

The first depression which formed over the East Coast of the United States should get to the IMOCA leaders on the Monday bringing 30kt winds and bigger seas. with a potentially stormy front. As they get to just west of the Azores a second depression rolls in with 30-35kt winds and brings big seas  especially through the night of December 7 to 8.

These tough conditions saw Rochut and colleague Christian Dumard remind the skippers to set their own wind and sea limits, especially to stop them getting too far north.