The Clipper fleet continues the race east across the mighty Pacific Ocean towards the finish line off Honolulu in Hawaii. They have now been racing for just over eight days and even though the first 36 hours were lost to light winds and snow they have still managed to cover more than 1500 nautical miles at an average speed of 7.8 knots.
Joff Bailey, Race Director, says, “The racing is still incredibly tight and at the 0600 GMT sched this morning the top four teams this were separated by just seven miles and the top eight only 48 miles apart with respect to distance to the finish. Many of the boats have reported that they can see other Clipper yachts, which is incredible after already sailing so far.”
New York’s skipper, Duggie Gillespie says, “Great spinnaker sailing. Pleased to see the sun out for a change. Within sight of Qingdao and Hull & Humber which is a change to having the oceans to ourselves.”
Fellow skipper Marcus Cholerton-Brown says, “Exciting to be in such close proximity to the other competitors, only 3000 nautical miles to go and the crew of Qingdao are well up for it.”
One team that cannot see any of their competitors is westernaustralia2011.com. They have made a massive move north over the last 24 hours which should see them get better winds but the question is, will it be worth the extra miles? Only time will tell.
Martin Silk, skipper of westernaustralia2011.com says, “We have struggled to make the east we expected. A few sail changes overnight have kept us warm in the rain and now skies have cleared as we hope for a wind shift in any
direction. GRIB files show favourable winds for the fleet to the south and we are anticipating some major losses for a while; however we still have almost 3000 miles to go, and anything could happen. Optimism is not a dirty word!”
The majority of teams should continue to get some good assistance from the westerly winds with one skipper asking, “What is the plan if they arrive early?” It is far too soon to calculate the precise ETA and with the centre of the North Pacific high pressure system between the yachts and the finish it is probably wishful thinking.
The first yachts are due to arrive at the Ala Wai Small Yacht Harbour in Honolulu, Hawaii, on approximately 20 March. POSITIONS AT 1200 GMT, 3 MARCH 2008
1. Hull & Humber: Distance to Finish (DTF) 2849
2. Qingdao: DTF 2853 (Distance to Leader 4)
3. New York: DTF 2856 (+7)
4. Durban 2010 and Beyond: DTF 2859 (+10)
5. Nova Scotia: DTF 2880 (+31)
6. Liverpool 08: DTF 2885 (+36)
7. Uniquely Singapore: DTF 2895 (+46)
8. Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper: DTF 2899 (+50)
9. westernaustralia2011.com: DTF 2973 (+124)
10. Jamaica: DTF 3016 (+167) (position at 1218) Berths are currently available for the Clipper 09-10 Round the World Yacht Race. For more information call +44 (0) 2392 526000 or email email@example.com. http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/