Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Leg 5

On Saturday [8 April] Qingdao, the sailing city of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, came alive as Dame Ellen MacArthur counted down the start of leg five of the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race to Victoria, Canada after leading the fleet out in formation on board her record breaking trimaran B&Q. At 12:00 hrs local time (04:00 GMT) the race started with Cardiff Clipper being the first across the line.

In fine conditions with 20-25 knots of breeze,the fleet embarked on the longest leg in the history of the Clipper Race at over 5,600 miles. The race will take them across the North Pacific where the crew will experience some of the toughest sailing conditions since the race start in Liverpool last September.

Before setting off, Solo-Yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur visited each boat to wish the crew fair winds and a safe passage. She commented on her admiration for the amateur sailors, 'this is the longest leg of their trip and everyone is very excited and very positive. I know what it feels like on the morning of a trip and they just want to get out there and race. It is an amazing achievement and I wish them all the best.'

What a difference a day makes . . . 24 little hours!

This mornings position reports emphasise that 24 hours can be a long time in sailing.

Cardiff Clipper had a stunning start, surging across the line in first position and maintaining it for the first 12 hours. Then, suddenly, things didn’t look so good and this time yesterday they had slipped dramatically into last place. Today however they are right back at the top with the highest days run and a commanding position over the rest of the fleet.

Previous race winners Liverpool have also done well over night climbing 6 places to second, also well placed to cover the boats behind. Whilst for Jersey, Durban and Qingdao the reverse has been true and the largest losses in the fleet have put them firmly at the wrong end of the table. Throughout the fleet speeds have dropped however as the wind has eased over the last 24 hours and the mileages have halved. Hopefully this will be short lived as the forecast shows another low pressure system due to form over the Chinese coast and generate a renewed westerly airflow to push them onwards to the southern tip of Japan.

Temperatures remain cold, as they are likely for the majority of this race, and current visibility is poor, sometimes down to only a few metres due to the fog.

Positions at 04:00 GMT

Team - DTF - DTL

1. Cardiff 5297 0
2. Liverpool 08 5309 12
3. Uniquely Singapore 5312 15
4. Glasgow 5317 20
5. Victoria 5322 25
6. 5323 26
7. New York 5327 30
8. Durban 5328 31
9. Qingdao 5329 32
10. Jersey 5335 38

DTF: Distance to finish

DTL: Distance to leader