Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet is living life at an angle as teams continue to push upwind, still seeking out the more favourable westerlies that the Southern Ocean is so famous for with its Roaring Forties conditions.
LMAX Exchange still leads the race, though as predicted yesterday by Skipper Olivier, its margin was reduced slightly as they ran into lighter winds in the east. The rest of the pack is chasing hard in a close fought yet spread out pursuit which is seeing race positions change often. Qingdao is back into second place, and Derry~Londonderry~Doire is third.
Though the heeled over angle is making for some tough living conditions, most Skippers are still feeling relieved to be making decent mileage towards Albany.
In the middle of the fleet in sixth, Garmin Skipper Ash Skett reports: “We are finally starting to make good progress and are clocking up decent mileage again after days of very little progress. The boat is sitting nicely on her chine, fully powered up and making a steady 10-12 knots through the water. Although life at this angle can be fairly tiring, all of us would take this over a flat boat going nowhere any day!”
Hoping the forecast may pay off for the back half of the fleet, Ash adds: “Looking to the weather ahead it seems that the boats that are in front may run into some light stuff if they get away too far while we ride the edge of the system towards them, bringing the wind with us and hopefully not running into the same light airs.”
Visit Seattle Skipper Huw Fernie, in twelfth, is still finding reasons to be cheerful, as he says: “I’m happy to report that today has been our greatest 24 hour run of this race so far, covering 121 nautical miles. We’re still not in the record breaking territory but we’re definitely maxed out for these conditions and have been going well all night.”
Not all Skippers were in such celebratory mood however, as IchorCoal’s Darren Ladd, currently in eleventh place, muses: “I’m not sure what has happened with our race standing except everyone else is going faster than we are….we need more boat speed, it is as simple as that. We all agreed, coming last isn’t an option.”
Issuing a warning to the teams ahead however, he adds: “We slipped a bit over the last few days but from right now we’re coming to get you. Don’t relax, don’t slow down, and always sleep with one eye open.”
The weather is predicted to stay reasonably steady for the next few days, with a strong front expected to arrive over the weekend.