by Richard Crockett
Like greyhounds, the moment they were set free they were off at breakneck speeds for Rio, with the record books looking like they might well be re-written. Almost shadowing each other up the West Coast in the early stages, this looked like a match race made in heaven, but during the night they have shown they have different strategies as their paths have crossed – twice now.
‘Maserati’ is heading northwards, with ‘Love Water’ taking a more westerly course, and both doing over 20 knots of boat speed. This move is interesting as it looks as if ‘Love Water’ is sailing towards lighter wind pressure, and ‘Maserati’ into stronger pressure – but that was all in the 06h00 tracker info this morning. The 10h00 tracker detail shows that they are now back sailing parallel courses and closing Luderitz at 25-plus knots. ‘Maserati’ has covered 198nm in less than 20 hours since the start, and ‘Love Water’ 229nm. As always it’s a waiting game – and an intriguing one too.
For the monohulls that started yesterday in the second start, they have had good winds and are making good progress, unlike their counterparts who started a week earlier and were plagued with light winds for several days.
However it’s all a bit incongruous right now as the tracker shows ‘Zulu Girl’ leading the fleet overall on handicap – and she has not even been racing for 24 hours and has only covered 147nm!
So for convenience sake and clarity, I will cover the two ‘starts’ separately for the next few days until, things settle down. But don’t get me wrong here, the fleet that started yesterday is hot, and all have the will and determination to win the coveted South Atlantic Trophy.
The second-starters are all sailing a similar course and making a good amount of westing right now and should all start picking up stronger winds later today, so some impressive 24-hour runs could be on the cards.
At the head of the fleet for now in terms of the first-starters, ‘Umoya’ continues to impress despite her now ducking down and sailing a good 60 degrees lower than her rivals. Has she seen something no-one else has, or does she have an issue on board that has forced this move? ‘JM Busha 54′ is still the most northerly boat by quite some distance, and is closing in on the 20degree south latitude quite rapidly. Now in the old South Atlantic Races (Rio & Uruguay) when Ilha da Trindade was a mark of the course, there was an unwritten rule that one had to get to 20degrees south and follow that parallel to the island before heading to the finish. Maybe this is their strategy?
‘Mojie 1′ is also looking good and sailing fast, with both her and ‘Umoya’ having clocked up over 170nm in the last 24 hours. Doesn’t this pale into insignificance when compared to the distance covered by the two big dogs!
So to wrap what has been a disjointed report, the Line Honours leader is still ‘Sulanga’ (48′ catamaran – first start) followed by ‘Umoya’ and ‘Mojie 1′.
The monohull handicap honours are with ‘Zulu Girl’ followed by ‘Mussulo 40′ and ‘Umoya’.
‘Myrtle of Bonnievale’ retains the multihull handicap honours with ‘Mussolo 40′ leading from ‘Ballyhoo Too’ in the double-handed division.
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