Clipper Round the World Race: gruelling conditions now, but 50 knots are predicted
The majority of the Clipper Round the World Race fleet is making good progress in some fairly grueling conditions, with strong winds and gusts around 50 knots predicted for the eastern group over the next twelve to 24 hours.
For the two western boats, Qingdao and LMAX Exchange, it is the opposite problem, with a new developing South Atlantic High getting in the way of progress. Garmin has re-taken the lead, and is just 2.9 nautical miles ahead of second-placed GREAT Britain, with Mission Performance now in third, 55 miles behind the leader.
Huw Fernie, Skipper of Visit Seattle, in seventh, described the last 24 hours. “A change from the strong white sails to the more fragile but faster spinnaker let us set some good speeds throughout the day. It was tough work on the helm. There is nothing quite like driving a large ocean racing yacht down big waves; you’re on the edge of control and going like a freight train. Frightening at the time but guaranteed to bring out a smile when the surf is over”.
Mission Performance Skipper Greg Miller said the last 24 hours had been a day of fast speeds, but with some kite issues too. “We have been stuck on a mainly easterly heading towards Cape Town with strong to medium winds and mainly following seas which is nice after the confused sea state we had yesterday. We are currently running on white sails, with no visual aids, much the same as last night it is safer and faster to sail on Yankee and mainsail only and we only have 332 nautical miles to go to Tristan da Cunha”.
Unicef had a little problem during this Clipper Round The World Race… “We accidentally put 400 litres of sea water in the bilges trying to get the watermaker to work. We wrapped the medium weight into a gordian knot round the inner forestay, it took all 18 crew to unravel in the greatest team work since the Apollo project. In a scheduling mishap we managed to put both Watch Leaders together on Mother Watch, so both assistant Watch Leaders stepped into the breach”, says Jim Prendergast in his skipper report.