Nova Scotia takes lead from Liverpool 08

Mast shot of Durban 2010 and Beyond -

Nova Scotia have increased the lead they gained last night over Liverpool - now 13 miles ahead at 18:00hrs. The fleet hit light winds Monday night of less than five knots and Liverpool 08 lost their pole position to Nova Scotia overnight. During Tuesday Nova Scotia have built on that lead to keep both Liverpool and New York in their wake.

With the wind expected to decrease further over the coming hours hot and frustrating times lie ahead for the Clipper crews.

Clipper - Posiitons - DTF - DTL - 12hr - 18:00 hrs 8 January 2008

1 Nova Scotia 924 0 N/A
2 Liverpool 08 937 13 94
3 New York 939 15 93
4 Durban 2010 and Beyond 942 18 89
5 Hull & Humber 990 66 70
6 990 66 93
7 Glasgow:Scotland with style 1000 76 78
8 Uniquely Singapore 1065 141 77
9 Jamaica 1188 264 60
10 Qingdao 1202 278 56

On overall race leader Durban 2010 and Beyond skipper Ricky Chalmers is increasingly frustrated by the conditions.

In his morning email to the Race Office he says, 'We had caught right up to Nova Scotia and were starting to pass them when a large black cloud intervened, gave them the wind, and headed us... Three hours later and they are now barely visible on the horizon and we have it all to do again.'

Rob McInally tells the story of Durban 2010 and Beyond's near lead-stealing move from his perspective as Nova Scotia skipper. 'The mornings have been producing squally activity with sudden changes in wind speed and direction. I begin to think it is hopeless and Durban 2010 and Beyond will get by us. I work the crew, trimming, twisting and turning the yacht to get the best out of her. We head for a squall - our only hope. I wish for easy winds knowing that the usual blow from a squall would pull the light weight spinnaker to bits. And we are off! We work even harder changing direction every few minutes to keep the wind behind us while trying to keep to course. A 40-degree direction change for us is common as we ride from one squall to the next.'

The fleet is now approaching the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone) otherwise known as the Doldrums which is renowned for light fluky winds.

The crews will be working hard just trying to keep the boats moving, sometimes at a fraction of a knot. These light winds however will not provide any respite for the crews; in fact they will have to work even harder if they are going to remain in contention. The conditions on board will be unbearable: the decks will be so hot that you cannot walk on them and with the sun passing almost directly overhead at midday there will be very little shade to be found.

Despite the unbearable heat the crews will need to continually change the sails as the fickle winds constantly shift, prompting almost identical reports from some of the yachts this morning. From on board Hull & Humber, skipper Danny Watson says, 'Light airs, squalls - spinny up, spinny down, wool, spinny up, spinny down, wool etc.' His comments were echoed by Simon Bradley on Jamaica: 'Spinnaker up, spinnaker down, Yankee up, yankee down, windseeker up, windseeker down, spinnaker up - what a morning.'

James Allen, Head of Clipper Training explains, 'It can drive you crazy! As the wind changes the skipper calls for the Yankee 1 to go up and the spinnaker to come down, but by the time you have done this the wind has changed again and the skipper needs the spinnaker to go back up. It is extremely tough in these conditions. This type of yacht racing is as much of a mental challenge as a physical one.'

The yachts are now heading directly towards the Sunda Straits which pass between the Indonesian Islands of Sumatera and Jawa, where the fleet have to round the first waypoint of race 5, as they all pass near to this point we will get a real indication of just how close the battle for the sought after podium positions really is. With the fickle winds set to stay for the next few days the racing continues to be as intense as ever.