In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, as the 12- strong fleet contends with challenging upwind conditions and strong currents in its second week of Race 8 - The Old Pulteney Navigator Cup to Singapore, it seems the brave tactics by Great Britain to head offshore have so far proven fruitful. However, with over 2,300 miles left the race is still anyone’s for the taking.
Squalls in the Bismarck Sea, onboard Old Pulteney
After OneDLL, Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Old Pulteney shared the lead throughout the first part of the race, it was Great Britain who had us sat on the edge of our seats as it snubbed the rhumb line and an inshore route to head offshore in search of the trade winds. Skipper Simon Talbot described the dedication and focus that led the team to the top of the leaderboard.
'The lack of sleep that these conditions inherently lead to mean that now we are not only having to battle the conditions, but also dig deep within ourselves to find the inner strength to push on, something which I am pleased to say the crew are doing really well at.
'Keeping spirits up is key to keeping the boat on pace and keeping the boat on pace is key to doing well in this race, something which is all too easy to forget when you are tired, hungry and being pelted with rain and salt water!'
Last week most of the fleet reported crossing the Equator into the Northern Hemisphere. However, the traditional crossing the line ceremony has been delayed as the teams battle through gale force gusts and challenging conditions. King Neptune will be invited to meet the Pollywog crew as soon as conditions on board improve.
After Great Britain’s risky gamble paid off, It wasn’t long before the rest of the fleet followed suit and headed offshore swapping light fickle winds for the prevailing trade winds. However, in the last 24 hours the Northern Irish entry, Derry~Londonderry~Doire challenged the UK entry for first place, eager to build on its win in Race 6 - The Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Skipper Sean McCarter said: 'After another good, if a little bumpy nights’ progress, we have tacked over and are heading south west back towards the rhumb line. We currently have Great Britain below and ahead by about six miles and OneDLL behind by about the same distance. Great Britain was unlucky not to make better gains on the fleet but the bend in the wind we were hoping to find up here didn't materialise.'
Great Britain and Derry~Londonderry~Doire have now tacked south back towards the rhumb line with just a few miles separating the ambitious pair. Henri Lloyd, Switzerland, Old Pulteney and PSP Logistics have all followed suit as Race 8 – The Old Pulteney Navigator Cup continues to be played out in the Bismarck Sea.
Clipper Round the World