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The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 7: Closer than close

by Clipper Round the World Race 26 Jan 04:25 PST 26 January 2020
The Clipper Race Leg 5 - Race 6, Day 7 © Clipper Race

Race 6: The Sanya Tropical Paradise Race continues to thrill as the fleet navigate towards and into the Doldrums Corridor. Most teams report being in close proximity to each other and this has helped momentum when it comes to monitoring the competition and galvanising teams to push hard to improve their position in the race standings.

Seattle Mate, Lyndsay Barnes said: "Last night there were six of us all making our way North together in a line on timezero. To be able to see other boats on the horizon is definitely helping to keep the crew focused and their concentration levels high."

Similarly Rich Gould, skipper of WTC Logistics comments: "With only a handful of miles separating fourth to ninth place, every point of knot counts. To still be in touch with half the fleet is rather unusual. Gains and losses are clearly visible to the naked eye, not just represented buy little pictures of boats on a screen and numbers on our run sheets. When you can physically see that you have gained on another team it helps keep the crew pushing for those extra 1 percent"

The big question of the day was: 'Do we decide to switch on motor or not?' The teams are carefully considering this dilemma as Chris Brooks, skipper of Qingdao explains: "We are allowed to choose to motor for one period of 240 miles. We have to do it in one go and motor at 6 knots. It's a great idea, which allows us to progress through the dead air near the Equator."

Teams now motoring are Zhuhai and Unicef, the timing to decision to motor is difficult to judge and is often seen as a gamble between the weather and mechanical advantages. Whether this gamble will pay off in the long run remains to be seen. Zhuhai has a race lead to protect and are beating off strong competition from Qingdao, current second place holders and Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam in third.

This race has the potential to be turned on its head and teams expect there to be a myriad of twists and turns as it progresses. Dare to Lead Skipper, Guy Waites says: "The crew are enjoying this multi- dimensional game of chess that adds a twist in the tail to this almost windless part of the world... Anything could happen with the possible exception of a good sailing breeze?!

The weather conditions are still varied and challenging and continue to keep the fleet on their toes. Punta del Este's Jeronimo comments: "This morning at 6am, it was already 32 degrees of temperature, the deck is melting and best not to touch anything metal.

He continued on to say: "We had a fast run last night, entering the Solomon sea at good speeds with flat seas, the perfect conditions for all crew to get better at helming, so we rotated everyone to get some coaching."

The tactical decisions taken by the teams has a direct impact on the overall race standings and the battle for first position continues to present a close and achievable challenge for all.

Make sure you keep following the Race Viewer to keep up to date with all the exciting action!

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