The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race’s highly anticipated ‘first date’ with a series of low pressure weather systems left some teams feeling stood up in the rain and grey skies yesterday, but another, stronger front, building ahead of the fleet does looks ready to show up in style to its long awaited North Pacific Ocean fleet date tonight.
PSP Logistics skipper Chris Hollis remarked: 'Well, the big front was a total let down on our behalf. We were all geared up for an epic battle and it fizzled on us.
'I think we were too far north in hindsight, pretty much at the centre of the low when it passed us, meaning we had some pretty light and variable conditions overnight. We saw the wind direction box the compass twice, threaten to get windy, and then not. So as it turns out, by daybreak, we were all dressed for the ball and got totally stood up.'
Clipper Race weather forecaster Simon Rowell predicted: 'The gusts from the front are just starting to build up. Over the next 18 hours these should build to a peak of 70 to 80 knots, taking effect approximately at the International Date Line. These gusts should pass over the eastern-most boats before they peak, but effectively the later the front passes, the stronger it will be.
Changeable, power reaching winds of 20 to 35 knots continued to produce further overall progress for the fleet towards San Francisco yesterday as Invest Africa managed to hold off tough competition from Henri Lloyd to keep its overall lead and pass first through the Scoring Gate.
Invest Africa skipper, Rich Gould announced: 'Almost 3,000 miles of racing and only 21 minutes in it. I would like to say a big thank you to Eric Holden and his Henri Lloyd team as I am sure that their presence has kept us pushing that little bit harder and digging a little deeper knowing that they are not far off our back end.'
Switzerland crossed third at 18:29 UTC after a sprint race with Great Britain and Qingdao, potentially picking up its first ever Scoring Gate point. Bonus points remain provisional until OneDLL, (in Stealth Mode until 18:00 today) and PSP Logistics’, (sailing 36 hours behind the fleet) positions are confirmed by the Race Office.
The next significant mark in the race to San Francisco, the International Date Line, is now less than 250 miles ahead of the fleet. As well as predicted strong winds, the imaginary line will result in a groundhog style day meaning crossing it will re-gain teams a whole day, as clocks go back 24 hours as teams cross from west to east and over the line demarcating the calendar day.