In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2013-14 it has been a tough 24 hours for the 12 strong fleet of 70 foot ocean racers competing. While frustrating light winds and variable squally conditions have rendered the weather forecasts almost redundant, progress has been slow while the crews try to remain upbeat.
With Henri Lloyd reportedly covering just 15 miles in 12 hours, and Team Garmin clocking up just four miles in six hours the fickle light winds continue to hamper the fleet. The last 24 hours did bring some excitement for Derry~Londonderry~Doire, Old Pulteney, and OneDLL with all three teams stuck beneath an explosive display of thunder and lightning courtesy of Mother Nature, as the close match racing continues.
Skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, Sean McCarter which in the last hour has been overtaken by Old Pulteney, and OneDLL describes the conditions the team has been contending with:
'We are currently thumping our way upwind within sight of Old Pulteney and OneDLL with 140 miles to the waypoint. Usually that would take about 12 hours for us but on this point of sail under these variable conditions it is looking like taking another two days plus! This isn't taking into account that the current that we are punching will get stronger as we get nearer the strait.'
While the racing remains tight, skipper of Great Britain Simon Talbot shares his frustration of the last 24 hours as the weather ‘lottery’ of Race 8 continues.
'Frustration is definitely still the keyword of this leg. Weather forecasts are practically useless as most of the gains are to be made through squall systems and the wind shifts that they bring, neither of which are predictable. So for someone like me who likes nothing more than to stare at weather forecasts for hours looking for the angle that the others may miss, this kind of racing boils down to nothing more than a lottery!'
With the fleet reporting sighting of stray logs in the Solomon Sea, an important new role of ‘log watch’ has been established on Team Garmin in order to prevent any damage to the yacht. Skipper Mark Burkes explains:
'Having heard reports of large logs encountered by the fleet, we too have seen several large logs and what looked like a very big floating propane gas tank approximately 15 feet long! Hitting one of these large logs at speed could do us significant damage.'