Clipper Round the World Race – An anticipated frontal system has bought strong gusting winds and building sea states, making for bouncy, wet living conditions yet a positive 12-hour run progress of more than 110 nautical miles for most of the fleet.
Garmin Skipper Ash Skett details: “The front finally went over last night and it bought with it some pretty strong gusts of up to 50 knots. This, as well as a close-hauled sailing angle, short-choppy seas and bucket loads of rain have made life fairly tough on board and it was a long night.
“The front is still passing over now but the wind has dropped and backed slightly which means it is nearly passed. The wind should continue to change direction until eventually we will see a welcome return to downwind sailing.”
LMAX Exchange continues to lead, and Derry~Londonderry~Doire, second, has edged ahead of Qingdao, now in third place. Great Britain, Mission Performance, Garmin and IchorCoal follow with Da Nang – Viet Nam, PSP Logistics, Visit Seattle, ClipperTelemed+ and Unicef all striving to catch up the mileage deficit.
Mission Performance Skipper Greg Miller, in fifth place, provides his assessment of the sea state: “The swells are not the traditional Southern Ocean swells which are long and rolly. These are slightly confused with the front swells mixing with the Southern Ocean swells, making for a shorter frequency wave with no actual course or direction! Choppy seas, which means a wet boat.”
With many Skippers concentrating on the challenging conditions which are requiring many crew to pull out their yellow drysuits, Visit Seattle Skipper Huw Fernie, in eleventh place, takes a moment to explain some of the rewards of the region: “Staying dry is more a state of mind than an achievable reality here in the Southern Oceans of the world, but it’s not all as bleak as many would imagine.
“If you ever have to question why we do this then the balance is weighed against the many albatross’ that come to visit, the whales who occasionally say hello, and the constant stream of laughter that comes from both on deck and the saloon. Who wouldn’t want to spend a month in the Deep South then?”
Whilst the current front passes over the fleet, winds may die off again before another front takes effect. Stay tuned to see what it will bring.