PSP Logistics slipped lines from Piriapolis (Uruguay) yesterday evening to bring the Clipper Race fleet back to its full complement as the leaders approach the halfway point to Cape Town in the Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms.
After spending the past five days receiving repairs to rudder damage sustained after a whale collided with the boat earlier in Leg 2, the team of PSP Logistics will resume racing once they reach the closest position to the collision. There will be no redress awarded, but PSP Logistics will be under race conditions, meaning it will still be eligible to compete for the bonus points in the Elliot Brown Race 2 Ocean Sprint.
Skipper Roy Taylor is pleased to be back on the high seas, saying: “A remarkable job was done in Piriapolis by members of the Clipper Race Office and Maintenance Team (Dan Smith, Justin Haller and Matt Pettit) considering the damage sustained.
Meanwhile, the leading pack is making great progress towards Cape Town and there are less than ten nautical miles separating the top three teams.
Andy Woodruff, Interim Skipper of first-placed Greenings, reports: “We should pass the halfway point of Leg 2 by lunchtime today as we make our way rather quickly towards it. I am also excited to see if we can break the 300 mile a day barrier today – we have to be close to it!”
Garmin and Dare To Lead, in second and third place respectively, are hot on the heels of the race leader with Dare To Lead Skipper, Dale Smyth, explaining: “We are currently riding hard the easterly side of a depression and making good pace.”
Whilst keeping pace with the race leader, it is very close racing with the rest of the fleet as well and he added: “The competition is so tight out here that after 1500 nautical miles we are still fighting out mile per mile with about seven boats. One mistake or bad sail change could take you from first to tenth quite easily. The next few days look fast so we should gobble up another 1000 miles easily.”
Fourth-placed Sanya Serenity Coast is around 40nm off the pace, but preparing for more wind, with Skipper Wendy Tuck reporting: “Well, the next blow is here now and I expect will increase over the next couple of hours. All good and we are prepared for it. All the heavy weather steerers are looking forward to it; it’s a bit like a Southern Ocean training run.”
Taking a more southerly course is GREAT Britain, currently in fifth and around 60nm off the lead, while Visit Seattle is converging with the fleet in sixth position after heading north for to secure a bonus point in t he race to the Scoring Gate. HotelPlanner.com and Nasdaq are very close together, in seventh and eighth respectively, and around 80nm behind the race leader.
Qingdao, in ninth, has been continuing to celebrate its three bonus points for being the first team to reach the Scoring Gate but Skipper, Chris Kobusch, explains: “Since then Liverpool 2018 [in tenth] has been hot on our heels and, even though the team had some problems with their Mainsail battens, Liverpool 2018 is still within AIS (Automatic Identification System) range and the distance to them has been more or less the same over the last day or so.”
The teams in the east are preparing for an incoming front, which is currently over Unicef in eleventh position. Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, explains that the front is not travelling much faster than the teams further east and that they should get strong north-westerly winds for at least another 24 hours making for an action-packed day or so ahead of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint.