As May turns to June, the Gulf Stream watch intensifies and navigators study the structure and flow of the Stream for winning clues. By W. Frank Bohlen
With 14 days until the start of the 2018 Newport Bermuda Race, navigators are watching a deep meander in the Gulf Stream, turning towards Bermuda, that promises sailors a fast ride for 70 nautical miles. After that, however, a series of clockwise and counter-clockwise rotating features add complexity to the routing choice.
Cloud cover has limited the views of the Stream for much of the spring, making altimetry-based models from NOAA more valuable, such as this one, which suggests potential adverse currents in more than one location once across the Stream. In particular, near the rhumbline and not far from Bermuda, a clockwise-rotating feature may be flowing at close to 3 knots towards the northwest.
For much more detail, read the full text of Analysis #2 and study several views of the Stream. Both Analysis #1 and #2 are located on the Gulf Stream Tutorials page, where you can also find an archive of pieces written on the Stream from 2002-2016.