'Today is Groundhog Day as we relive 10 March,' says Danny Watson, skipper of Hull & Humber, one of seven boats to cross the International Date Line this morning. The crossing has caused furrowed brows among the crews as they try to come to terms with experiencing the same day twice. 'If we have crossed the date line and relived a day, does that mean we are a day older?' wonders skipper Hannah Jenner on Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper.
Colin Boyd helming on Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper - Clipper 07-08
The race viewer shows the majority of the fleet has chosen to stay north of the Hawaiian island chain and are currently located just north of Midway Island. However, Liverpool 08 has chosen a southern course and may still be joined on this side of the chain by Nova Scotia.
Race Secretary, Lizzie Nicholas says, 'Liverpool 08’s southerly position does not necessarily mean that they will run all the way along the chain on the south side as there are opportunities to thread their way through the small atolls and back onto the northern side. It will be interesting to see how their tactic develops over the coming days.'
The small islands at the western end of the Hawaiian Island chain do not show up on the race viewer in Map mode. Click on either Satellite or Hybrid in the top right hand corner and zoom into the area to see the small rises from the deep blue ocean.
As forecast the winds are starting to veer around to the north and the fleet is experiencing some fast reaching. Whilst each boat is trying to fly their spinnaker for as long as possible, close reaching with a kite can lead to some spectacular broaches as Durban 2010 and Beyond has discovered. Skipper Ricky Chalmers says, 'We are currently on the edge with our spinnaker flying in variable winds which range between 10 and 16 knots and which move about quite considerably and quickly from 300 to 350 degrees true wind direction. Broaching is a constant concern and we have had a few, as well as an accidental gybe, none of which caused any damage.'
Despite an increase in the risk of broaching, the teams will want to keep hold of their kites for as long as possible, as they attempt to eek out some advantage over their competitors. However, as the risk of broaching increases so does the risk of sail damage and with thousands of miles of racing still to go there will also be pressure on the teams to change early and preserve their spinnakers.
Mark Preedy, skipper of Uniquely Singapore, says. 'The wind is just starting to shift to the north and will soon, no doubt, be on the nose and we will be beating to Hawaii. Not something the crew will enjoy too much but it does allow the skipper to rest.'
In other news, the Race Committee has awarded Liverpool 08 a penalty point for the cumulative total of sail repairs so far. This will appear as a one point deduction from their points total on the overall results table. Before the start of the Clipper 07-08 Race the Race Committee introduced in the Sailing Instructions a penalty system for the cumulative totals of professional sail repair work to encourage the preservation of the sail wardrobe during the 35,000-mile race. Whilst Liverpool 08 is the first to receive a penalty point for sail repairs in Clipper 07-08, there are a couple of boats very close to the threshold who may also receive penalties before the race finish in Liverpool on 5 July.
westernaustralia2011.com is now approximately 600 miles from Midway Island and their likely rendezvous there for refuel and extra provisions. Martin Silk, skipper of the WA team, is taking the opportunity of the more relaxed pace of sailing to tutor his crew on the broader areas of ocean racing, such as engine maintenance. Martin says, 'There are no fancy uniforms, power point presentations or detentions, just a couple of good old diesel engines and a classroom to be envied.'
westernaustralia2011.com is expected to make landfall on Midway Island on 14 March. As yachts are not permitted to enter or leave Midway in the dark, Barry Christenson, the manager of Midway Island, and his very capable team will be coordinating the arrival directly with Martin and the Race Team.
The rest of the fleet continues to make good progress. Based on the latest forecasts and calculations the first boats are expected to arrive on Monday 17 March. This may change as the boats encounter the predicted headwinds and new ETAs will be published accordingly.
POSITIONS AT 0600 GMT, 11 MARCH 2008
1. Hull & Humber: Distance to Finish (DTF) 1090
2. New York: DTF 1118 (Distance to Leader +28)
3. Qingdao: DTF 1138 (+48)
4. Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper: DTF 1138 (+48)
5. Uniquely Singapore: DTF 1145 (+55)
6. Durban 2010 and Beyond: DTF 1158 (+68)
8. Liverpool 08: DTF 1188 (+98)
6. Nova Scotia: DTF 1319 (+229)
9. Jamaica: DTF 1362 (+272)
10. westernaustralia2011.com: DTF 1739 (+649)
Nova Scotia spinnaker repairs - Clipper 07-08
Latest positions and full leaderboard can be viewed at www.clipperroundtheworld.com