2014 Vanuatu Weather Outlook Thursday 11 July 2014

With slow progress of the fleet over the last 24 hours around the southern end of New Caledonia, here's a very timely weather outlook from our resident gurus Andrew Roberts and Robin Hewitt.


11Jul14Weather-ACCESS 06UTC 10-Jul-14 

The horses appear to have gone north!  The Horse Latitudes that is, also known as the variables of Capricorn, as an area of variable winds where the westerlies meet the trades. This includes a large band of variables around the South of New Caledonia, right where the bulk of the fleet is.

Whilst the Horse Latitudes typically occur between 30° to 35° South, the sustained run of Low Pressure Systems pushing North up into the Tasman Sea have pushed this more into the 20° to 30° South band.

 11Jul14Weather-ACCESS 09UTC 12-Jul-14

Moderate E-SE trade winds of around 15 knots have been persisting over Southern Vanuatu waters, but getting into this breeze from the light and variable windholes around the bottom of New Caledonia will be testing, particularly with the strong currents that also run in this area.

Prognosis suggests SE’s should establish South beyond New Caledonia, but this may not happen until Saturday.


Currents to negotiate in this part of the South Pacific includes the South Equatorial Current, which runs through and South of the Vanuatu chain and along the East coast of New Caledonia.  Jets split off north and south of New Caledonia, with the North Caledonian Jet and South Caledonian Jet rounding the top and bottom of the island, respectively, and setting westward.

Tides are semi-diurnal in New Caledonian waters, and tidal streams can be anticipated to be running strong with spring tides from a full moon on Saturday.  The nearby Havannah Passage in the southeast corner of the island is known to run strong at 4-6 knots in such conditions.