by Clipper PR
The ten yachts motored to the start line off Nongsa Point, Batam, Indonesia, where Race 5 from Fremantle finished prior to the fleet?s choreographed arrival in Singapore on 19 January to coincide with the opening of the new marina.
In the sweltering heat and just 5-8 knots of breeze from the east, the ten crews struggled to maintain some boat speed. Less than a minute after the start, the heavens opened and the crews were afforded some temporary relief in the form of a tropical downpour.
The start of Race 6 to Qingdao will prove challenging for the teams as they race in the restricted waters of the Singapore Straits. With one of the world?s busiest shipping channels penning them into a tight area, they are being forced to tack in light airs to make it to the first mark, Middle Rock, which lies approximately 30 miles east of Singapore.
The crews now face a 2,600-mile race north to Qingdao, the host of the sailing events in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, where the fleet will be berthed at the Olympic Sailing Marina. The first boats are expected to finish on 15 February.
With just two points separating the top four boats, the pressure is on at the top of the Clipper 07-08 leader board. Durban 2010 and Beyond is currently leading overall with 33 points but the trio of British boats, Hull & Humber, Liverpool 08 and Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper will all be fighting to close the two-point margin to knock the South Africans off the top spot