Changing weather and sail changes for Clippers

Qingdao’s crew work - Clipper 07-08

The last 24 hours have all been about sail changes as the lull in the weather passed over the fleet and they are once again experiencing strong winds. This is a common theme in the reports from the boats, and whilst the crew is starting to feel weary after two weeks of these conditions, they are conscious that they are being propelled towards Hawaii at a fantastic rate.

Skipper of Uniquely Singpore, Mark Preedy, said, “Nearly all the white sails have been used in the last six hours only reason the number 2 Yankee wasn't used was because the wind picked up further as it was being hanked on. The crew is showing signs of tiring as this leg has been demanding and simple mistakes are being made more regularly. But they are determined and are trying hard to catch Qingdao who are only half a point ahead in the overall standings.”

Hull & Humber has managed to hold the twenty mile lead that they have built up over second place New York, but rest assured the US entrant is doing everything possible to reduce the gap and regain first place. At the same time they will also be drawing out a safety margin over the group of three battling for third place, Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper, Uniquely Singapore and Qingdao. For the two Asian teams, who are separated by just half a point overall, the results of this race will provide a psychological and tactical triumph for one or the other.

Whilst three of the teams battle for third place in the same patch of water and experience the same conditions, maverick Durban 2010 and Beyond is charging south and is a real threat to their positions. The South African team, who made a move north of the fleet late last week at quite a cost to their distance to finish, is now reaping the rewards. Skipper Ricky Chalmers said, “The plan, whatever it is now, seems to have worked a little. We have taken some decent miles out of most of the fleet in the last couple of schedules and are powering our way back South towards them again.”

Race Secretary, Lizzie Nicholas, says “The lead boats will be starting to turn their minds towards crossing the International Date Line, the imaginary line running north/south and separating the time-zones of +12 and ?12 hours
GMT (UTC). When the fleet crosses the International Date Line they will set their clocks back by 24 hours and experience the same day twice! For those crew members with birthdays around the time, they may well be lucky enough to celebrate twice!”

westernaustralia2011.com continues to make great progress towards their planned rendezvous at Midway Island, achieving an 87 nautical mile 12 hour run under jury rig. The news that they achieved a surfing boat speed of 22
knots under try-sail alone gives some indication of the wind and wave conditions which the fleet is currently experiencing. The Race Team has emailed skipper Martin Silk new chart files detailing the waters around Midway Island. The electronic chart software used by all boats, Euronav’s Seapro, allows these new files to be uploaded and overlaid in the programme so that Martin can continue to make a safe passage plan towards the Hawaiian Island Chain. The current ETA for their arrival in Midway is between 16 and 18 March, but is dependent on the prevailing wind conditions. This ETA will continue to be refined as they get closer to Midway.

The rest of the fleet is also making great progress and is likely to reach Oahu ahead of our released schedule. Updated estimated arrival times will be published online at www.clipperroundtheworld.com as the fleet nears its destination.

POSITIONS AT 1200 GMT, 9 MARCH 2008

1. Hull & Humber: Distance to Finish (DTF) 1485
2. New York: DTF 1511 (Distance to Leader +26)
4. Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper: DTF 1531 (+46)
5. Qingdao: DTF 1533 (+48)
3. Uniquely Singapore: DTF 1539 (+54)
7. Durban 2010 and Beyond: DTF 1550 (+65)
8. Liverpool 08: DTF 1582 (+97)
6. Nova Scotia: DTF 1632 (+147)
9. Jamaica: DTF 1725 (+240)
10. westernaustralia2011.com: DTF 2035 (+550)
http://www.sail-world.com/42506