At the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the latest weather front arrived pretty much as predicted, through the back of the fleet with winds gusting from 45 to 50 knots, occasionally reaching 70 knots plus, resulting in a very tough night for teams in the west of the pack.
Race 4, day 12 - Clipper Round the World Race
Sean McCarter, skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, who faced the dramatic situation of having to medevac London based crew member Michelle Porter from the yacht in the previous storm, explained the conditions: 'After a wet and windy night, we can happily report that both ship and crew weathered the storm tremendously. Zero damage and more importantly zero injuries is impressive given sustained wind speeds in the forties for hours, an hour or two in the fifties and a max gust of 84 knots!'
At the time of reporting, the fast moving front had not yet reached fleet leaders, Great Britain, OneDLL, Qingdao or Henri Lloyd, whose skipper, Eric Holden, explained: 'We are trying to get east as fast as we can to stay ahead of this approaching cold front. The longer we can stay ahead of it, the more time it has to weaken before reaching us.'
Many skippers continue to praise their crew members on how well they’ve been dealing with the challenging conditions, having learnt valuable lessons from the previous week’s storm experiences.
Pete Stirling, skipper of Jamaica Get All Right who knows the Southern Ocean well, having skippered in the Clipper 2011-12 Race, gave this advice: 'The weather in this part of the world is very unpredictable and the watch word is caution. We are not even half way through this race yet and the chances are this won't be our last serious gale so for us at least, it is a case of preserve the crew and preserve the boat. This is, after all, a marathon not a sprint!'
Lighter winds are set to follow this front, with skippers continuing to consult all their weather resources to select their best tactics and position on the route to Western Australia.
At 1200 UTC, Qingdao is holding onto its lead, (1990.4 miles to finish) though Henri Lloyd in second place (2052.2 miles) and OneDLL (2055.2 miles) right behind in third is closing the gap between them.