Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Stuck in a wind hole

Steve Philip hauls on a halyard on board Switzerland
Clipper Ventures
In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, with the wind dying right off, several teams are reporting being stuck in a wind hole and doing everything they can to keep the yachts moving.

After strong winds of 60 plus knots and big waves for the last five days, the skippers and crews are finding the light sailing conditions extremely frustrating as they race to Chinese Olympic sailing centre, Qingdao.

Olly Cotterell, skipper of OneDLL, said the wind had reversed and died to a light breeze, but the team could still achieve a good result, coming in fourth or fifth position overall in Race 9.1 based on its elapsed time.

'We currently have six knots of wind. We are doing everything we can to keep OneDLL moving as apparently we are not doing too badly in this race and a podium is not a completely unrealistic prospect if the weather is favourable and we work hard.'

Simon Rowell, meteorologist for the Clipper Race, said: 'The yachts that are just coming round the eastern knuckle of China are right in the changing wind at the moment, but over the next few hours it should fill in from the east, north east or south east depending where they are.'

He said this favourable wind should stay until about 1800 UTC tomorrow when the next front will probably leave the mainland along the Qingdao region coastline and sweep south east wards.

Patrick Van der Zijden, skipper of Old Pulteney, said: 'All or nothing is the saying - well that is true for us. We have we been bashing through the waves for the last few days, now the weather reversed and with full canvas and with still 380 miles to go it will take us a good three days to make it to Qingdao.'

Variable wind conditions now being experienced by the remainder of the fleet that is still racing have forced the course to be shortened. The forecast is for the wind to veer more behind the fleet, but also to die.

Although this will allow a more direct course to be sailed to Qingdao, it will adversely affect speeds. Estimated times of arrival are already being affected.

Shortening the course will prevent these slipping further and allow the teams to arrive in Qingdao to better prepare for Leg 6 (Race 10).

Event website
http://www.sail-world.com/119994