SHK Scallywag has clocked her first 500nm 24-hour run up to the 0100UTC report on January 15, which has took her out to almost 70nm ahead of the second placed boat – Vestas 11th Hour Racing.
Despite losing crew member Alex Gough overboard yesterday the Hong Kong entry has recovered and extended.
In fact in the 0600UTC sked, SHK Scallywag clucked her second 500nm 24hour run – this time of 510.0nm compared to the 500.6nm of the previous sked.
To underline the performance edge she enjoys – SHK Scallywag is averaging 22.1kts with the others in the top four averaging 20.4, 19.7 and 20.0kts respectively. That average explains why SHK Scallywag has put around 10nm on the other three boats in the front group in the five hour period.
She is now 76.1nm ahead of the second placed Vestas 11th Hour Racing, and 88.8nm ahead of Team AkzoNobel and 94.3nm in front of fourth placed Dongfeng Race Team. Overall leader MAPFRE is in fifth place and 172nm off the leaf boat.
Although the crews feel the weather data is a little suspect for this area of the ocean, the overall synopsis is that the rest of the fleet are dropping down onto SHK Scallywag’s line for Tung Lunh Chau at the northern tip of the Philippines – the last major landmark.
Once they are on that same course line, it will be a procession through to the finish – just over 2000nm of sailing left.
Given the lead which Scallywag now enjoys – put at 67nm by the Volvo Ocean Race using the shortest distance to the finish (taking the Great Circle Route), it may be a case of fighting out for the podium places for the next three boats – given they are 80nm ahead of the final group of three – MAPFRE, Team Brunel and Turn the Tide on Plastic.
Using Predictwind’s weather routing function, Skallywag is variously 45-104nm ahead or 73.5nm average – and that horse would appear to have bolted. While skipper David Witt is quick to point out that anything could happen in the South China Sea the two of the feeds of weather data shows a period of 5kts of breeze in the final day. The other two show 25kts+ staying with the race leader to the finish line in Hong Kong.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing is favoured to take second place, but the margins are an hour or less, and between the other two Team AkzoNobel and Dongfeng Race Team it is too close to call.
by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com