With 12-hour runs averaging 100 miles, the Clipper 07-08 fleet continues to make good progress towards Santa Cruz and the contest for the coveted yellow pennant remains fierce, with mistakes ruthlessly punished by the opposition.
'Any time that you do not have the sail combination correct it shows up on the next schedule,' says New York skipper Duggie Gillespie, whose team has been nipping at the heels of leaders Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper since the start of Race 8; 'Keeping us on our toes,' according to Hannah Jenner, skipper of the Scottish entry.
All of the crews are in competitive mode with their collective eyes on the podium places and the points that will help them towards their goal of lifting the Clipper Trophy when the fleet arrives back in Liverpool on 5 July as part of the city's European Capital of Culture 2008 celebrations.
Skipper of Liverpool 08, Ben Galloway, says, 'The weather's looking good for the next few days and should provide some good racing. Nova Scotia must just be over the horizon and hopefully we'll see them soon.'
Liverpool 08's target, Nova Scotia, have their sights firmly set on the podium, according to skipper Rob McInally. 'The atmosphere on board is good the attention to trim and course is high,' he says. 'Speed is all that is discussed on deck. Below deck there are constant plans for progress north then east and just how we should interact with the expected weather.'
Beating into the wind and the squally weather the fleet has been experiencing as a whole means they have been taking a soaking during this race so far. Rob continues, 'We emptied our crew quarters of the water taken in during sail changes. This cost us some time but 150 litres of water running around our bilges was slowing us down for sure. We are expecting less wind for a few days but not expecting a drop in speed. Or anything less than third place. Watch this space.'
Jamaica is slowly moving up the field and it could be to do with the recovery from the seasickness that affected many of them across the fleet from the outset of Race 8. 'They now hold conversations as opposed to sitting there with a face like grim death wondering if they will survive the watch without making an offering to Neptune. Yet every watch they are there doing their stuff. Now that is something to be proud of; they feel terrible but they still turn up for duty. Back in the real world I bet they would have phoned in sick.' says skipper Simon Bradley.
Having left Hawaii yesterday, westernaustralia2011.com and Durban 2010 and Beyond are keeping pace with the fleet - albeit four days behind them - and, as can be seen on the race viewer, are moving directly towards Santa Cruz. Martin Silk, skipper of the Western Australian boat says, 'We have a wake behind as we bed in the new mast and commence tuning our rig. We are carrying extra fuel, making best speed to meet our new crew and be ready for Race 9. Spirits are high and we feel the battle is over for soon we will race again and seek new challenges ahead. The Hawaii support team has done us proud.'
The extended stopover in Hawaii enabled the crews to have a good look at the state of their sail wardrobe and spend some time on repairs. Several of the crews sought professional assistance in Honolulu. The rules of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race are designed to ensure the crews look after their boats and equipment for the whole of the 35,000-mile race and those who do not will be penalised by points being deducted from their overall score. The Race Director will announce the penalties for sail and equipment damage this week. www.clipperroundtheworld.com