Clipper Round the World Yacht Race – At 0007 UTC, the Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup leader LMAX Exchange passed through the Scoring Gate and, pending verification by the Race Office, will collect three points for being the first boat through. As the fleet closes in on the finish line, Skipper Olivier Cardin’s team remain on course for a clean sweep in Race 4 having won the Ocean Sprint as well.
Which teams have collected the remaining points for being second and third through the Scoring Gate is still a mystery because although Mission Performance and Garmin are now north of it, there is no telling the results until Great Britain’s position can be revealed when it comes out of Stealth Mode at 1800 UTC today.
That’s if they even went for the Scoring Gate at all as Garmin Skipper Ashley Skett explains the options: “The close proximity of the other boats makes the option of heading for the Scoring Gate very interesting, with a number of outcomes possible. Do we go for the shortest route to Sydney and a second place finish or go for the gate and hope to make up any lost ground after?
“For now the sailing is very enjoyable. Seas are calm and, after a couple of hours of very light winds earlier, we are now fully powered up and making good headway again towards Sydney. Dare I say it, ETA of 13 December? Watch this space…”
Visit Seattle in fourth, continues to lead the chase from the middle of the fleet with Qingdao, Unicef and IchorCoal all within 36 nautical miles. Despite relinquishing a place to Qingdao in the last 24 hours, Skipper Darren Ladd says: “An ‘all hands on deck’ call at midnight probably represented the last hoorah of the Southern Ocean. At least for us and this race. In fairness we held a slightly over ambitious sail plan for too long and had our knuckles rapped for it. In typical sailing fashion, no sooner had we wrestled down the Yankee, the wind dropped completely and left us wondering what the fuss was all about.
“The over cautious choice of the Yankee 3 didn’t do us any favours as by morning we were ghosting along in light airs with a boat speed of around three knots. The boats around us come and go on the AIS (Automatic Identification System) to let us know we’re still in a race. Visit Seattle came from nowhere and just left us in its wake. Qingdao and Unicef are close by and will keep the good ship IchorCoal honest right to the end.”
The fleet has made good progress towards and around the bottom of Tasmania but as it heads north it will be hampered by unstable conditions, light winds and then experience the wind start to build from the north. This will result in the fleet slowing and possibly having to tack upwind in the final 24 hours as it approaches Sydney.
Following a diversion to Hobart for a medical evacuation of a crew member, who has since been treated and hopes to fly to Sydney in a few days to greet his team, Derry~Londonderry~Doire resumed racing at 2324 UTC and is now in eighth place.
Currently in eleventh place while Great Britain’s position remains hidden from the Race Viewer, PSP Logistics has recorded the greatest distance of the fleet in the last twelve hours of racing, with 106 nautical miles. Skipper Max Stunell says: “So for once it seems like we are actually making some progress.
“The previous days of big seas and not so big wind have made helming difficult, movement around the boat challenging and Sydney a distant dream. We should sneak around the bottom of Tasmania later tonight but expect to get some stronger conditions developing from now onwards, making our approach towards land even more exciting.”
Don’t miss: Your chance to win a limited edition watch as worn by the Clipper Race Skippers in their global endurance challenge in this race’s Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup Competition.