Overnight the chase for the podium positions continued unabated in the South China Sea.
The pack chasing the current race leader Jamaica appear as though they are tied together with a piece of string as they match race each other towards the finish in Qingdao.
This morning, however, it looks like Glasgow:Scotland with style Clipper may just have the edge as skipper Hannah Jenner and her team have opened up a 5 nautical mile lead over the joint third place holders of Hull & Humber and Uniquely Singapore. Hannah reported high spirits onboard at the 06:00 GMT schedules:
“There’s jubilation at the latest schedules, which finally show a minor breakthrough in cutting down Jamaica’s lead. Despite our best efforts to lose Uniquely Singapore and Hull & Humber they are still in sight, which makes for exciting but stressful racing. Bring it on!”
With the overall fleet so close, and some very tricky navigation and weather conditions to overcome, all three podium positions into Qingdao are still up for grabs.
Durban 2010 and Beyond’s northerly position could give them an advantage over the next couple of days if the wind backs more to the north as predicted.
Just behind Durban 2010 and Beyond, Nova Scotia has had a difficult night of sailing as skipper Rob McInally reported this morning: “We have bounced through the night without wind and navigation instruments, an issue I will address today. This coupled with 26 knots of wind and erratic swell is making both tacks less appealing. Without a complete set of working instruments you may well see us head off in the wrong direction!”
Last night Qingdao made a bold move out to the north west and this morning they are making their way back into the pack. At the moment it appears as though their gamble has failed to pay off as they have lost a couple of miles to both Liverpool 08 and westernaustralia2011.com, who are presently match racing each other in an attempt to catch the rest of the pack.
Skipper of westernaustralia2011.com, Martin Silk, described his frustration at not being able to pull away from the English team:
“Having caught Liverpool 08 yesterday evening, it has been frustrating watching them slowly make ground ahead again. Fortunately we have now matched their speed, and hope that both of us are at optimum and closing the distance to the boats ahead.”
With such close racing the Clipper Race is delivering compulsive viewing and plenty of excitement for its followers. Race Director Joff Bailey says, “The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is proving again that it provides the sailing world with the closest and most exciting ocean racing. Other yachts races, known as ‘professionals races’, often have contestants spread across thousands of miles of ocean and lack the really close competition that the Clipper Race delivers time and time again.
The fleet in this present leg of the race to China are only separated by 110 nautical miles and the overall leader board is still too close to call with only five points separating the top five teams. Considering that the crew come from all walks of life, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is definitely an event that the sailing world can be proud of.” Clipper - Positions - DTF - DTL at 12:00 GMT 3 February 2008
1 Jamaica 1590 0 nm
2 Glasgow:Scotland with style 1647 57 nm
3 Uniquely Singapore 1653 63 nm
4 Hull & Humber 1654 64 nm
5 New York 1657 67 nm
6 Durban 2010 and Beyond 1666 76 nm
7 Nova Scotia 1673 83 nm
8 Liverpool 08 1687 97 nm
9 westernaustralia2011.com 1690 100 nm
10 Qingdao 1700 110 nm