With the boats and skippers immersed in the South Atlantic having left the equator behind and with Fernando de Noronha at the bow, there will be many miles ahead to sail with the South East trade winds, with time to think – on the boat, at sea, in themselves: in this world they want to circumnavigate – What will be the challenges they have to face?
The knowledge of the global weather patterns that govern the different Oceans will undoubtedly be a subject that the skippers participating in the Global Solo Challenge (GSC) will surely have deeply studied.
The principal oceans of the globe are the Atlantic, the Indian, the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Antarctic oceans. Two of them, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, share some similar weather characteristics. The Indian Ocean, at least in its southern part, does as well.
As far as the GSC sailors are concerned, they will be primarily affected by the western prevailing wind belt of the southern oceans, and the different meteorological zones of the Atlantic both in the northern and southern hemispheres.
Focusing at the moment while in the Atlantic, they will think about the trade winds that accompany them and what remains of the Atlantic ahead. Concerns for the Indian and Pacific oceans they will leave for later. There is much to think about here in the Atlantic.
The Atlantic is divided into climatic zones depending upon latitude. The most northerly is an area of west winds, immediately to the south of it, an area of variable winds, and then south of that the area of the NE trade winds. South of the NE Trade winds is the so-called Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ or what historically was called the doldrums). South of the ITCZ begin the SE trade winds, followed further south by another zone of variable winds.