by Emma Upton
At the Nord Stream Race this year, Team Great Britain may have been new, but they are certainly not letting that hinder their performance, as they have now taken the Nord Stream Race lead on the approach towards the finish in Saint-Petersburg, Russia.
Team Great Britain currently lead the fleet
At 1100 CET the teams have around 100 nautical miles to go and we will all be watching intently to see if Team Great Britain can hold onto their first place position
The latest onboard news from Skipper Adrian Stead, Team GBR indicated that 'everyone is doing fine onboard and we are reaching under spinnaker to the North in about 22 knots of wind.' They could also see some of the other Swan 60 boats with their spinnakers up. A slow night on Tuesday meant that the teams all tried to move away from one another, leading to a slight splitting of the fleet and a change in race positions.
The fleet are on the last 100 nautical mile stretch
Second place is currently held by last year’s Nord Stream Race winners Team Russia, and they will no doubt have more local knowledge of the waters here in the approach to Saint-Petersburg. Team Germany, Team Europe and Team Turkey are also not far behind the two leaders, with only 30 nautical miles separating the first and fifth boats at this point in the race. Over 800 nautical miles this has been, and continues to be an extremely close race, highlighting the sheer competitiveness of the one-design Gazprom Swan 60 Class and the skill of the sailors onboard. The boats will be fighting it out all the way to the finish line.
News from Robert Klein onboard Team Turkey this morning reveals their current situation; 'we are trying to hold on to the position which we have fought very hard for over the past day and night, this is a very tough job. The weather has fundamentally changed over-night with winds of up to 29 knots, high waves and rain pouring down, the work we put in over-night was exhausting but we want to maintain our position. The situations continue to be tough and we are all very busy this morning, we need to seek the right windy patches. Despite the weather conditions everyone onboard is well and in a good mood.'
The Swan 60s are currently sailing into the Gulf of Finland and sailing at around 8 knots; if they maintain this speed they should cross the finish line either late this evening or into the early hours of Saturday morning. As all teams approach Saint-Petersburg they will need to be highly alert as they are entering a very busy commercial shipping lane, there are unknown elements to the race in this final stretch and teams will have to use all of their skills to navigate to the finish line whilst holding their race positions.
Teams will be welcomed into Saint-Petersburg
Once in Saint-Petersburg, the city of palaces, the five crews will be greeted by the race organisers and some well needed refreshments! They will also have chance to enjoy a tour of the city over the weekend, whilst also celebrating their accomplishment with a gala dinner and a prize giving in the Saint-Petersburg maritime museum.
Race tracking is available here - Nord Stream Race Website