11 Yachts are now west of the meridian. But more importantly is the fact that Maserati has taken a few more miles out of the fleet, and especially on Explora. She is 428 nautical miles ahead of Scarlet Runner having put another 22 nautical miles between them, and also having taken 45 nautical miles from Explora in the last 24 hours.
What has been interesting overnight is that some of the boats have suddenly decided to make more northing, with Yolo having made the most extreme change of course. Although she still leads her class, she may well feel the negative effects of this in days to come?
By tonight Maserati will have under 1000 nautical miles to go to the finish – and the big question is whether she can break the record or not. The current record is held by the American 74’ maxi Zephyrus IV – she completed the race in just 12 days, 16 hours and 49 minutes in 2000. If one extrapolates the distance Maserati has sailed so far, her average days run is about 320 nautical miles, and with about 1200 nautical miles to go, at her current speed she should finish in under 4 days – which would give her the record.
But don’t start celebrating yet as sailing is a cruel sport and anything could happen with the wind. Invariably as one closes the Brazilian coast it gets lighter, with the last 60 to 100 nautical miles sometimes being the slowest and most frustrating sailing most people have ever done. So wait as only time will tell.
In terms of ‘northing, Scarlet Runner, Privateer, Iskareen, Investec Ciao Bella and Mussulo III are all heading on a more northern course. The only exception amongst the front-runners is Explora who continues to take her chances in the south.
The weather maps show that those choosing the northern most routes could well be having 15-20 knot winds abeam and behind them, while those further south have a good 5 to 10 knots less.
In terms of the handicap positions, Privateer has jumped up two positions to 4th behind Maserati, Scarlet Runner and Explora, while Investec Ciao Bella has dropped two places to 6th overnight.
In class 2 Yolo still leads, but for how long? Perie Banou is still second and Vulcan 3rd.
In the multihulls, Tulliana has retaken the handicap lead, with Myrtle of Bonnievale jumping from 3rd to second, and yesterdays leader Tranquilo going to 3rd.
It’s interesting stuff for us landlubbers back home, but undoubtedly tense for those at sea as they sift through whatever info they can to make their decisions. It’s a waiting game for sure, although in just a few days we should know whether the 14-year-old race line honours record is safe or not. Stay tuned in.