The Dell Latitude Rugged Race has seen mixed conditions for the Clipper Race fleet with fast downwind conditions being replaced by shifting winds and lighter airs for many teams.
Sanya Serenity Coast remains in the lead with less than 2,000 nautical miles to go to Fremantle and Skipper, Wendy Tuck, reports: “Yes, we got a kite up, but it was only for a few hours as the wind increased and it was getting to be a bit much. We still maintained good speed, kite came down as it should (i.e. all in one piece) and it is chomping at the bit to get back up again.”
Whilst in the lead, she is not resting on her laurels and adds: “We still do have some tricky bits to get through (i.e. light winds and of course the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint). At the moment it’s all about boat speed and pointing the boat towards Freo…”
PSP Logistics retains second place and Skipper, Matt Mitchell, is optimistic despite the changing conditions in the south: “Right now, the wind has eased somewhat and we have a few hours of lighter air before it builds again from the north west which means more super-fast sailing and more miles falling away!”
After a fast 24 hours under spinnaker Dare To Lead has moved up to third place after overtaking Visit Seattle, who are now in fourth, and Skipper, Dale Smyth, reports: “It feels amazing to be going downwind and we have managed to fix up and clean numerous things onboard.”
Not far behind Dare To Lead, having also taken a northerly route, is Liverpool 2018 in fifth place. Meanwhile Qingdao remains in sixth but is experiencing fickle winds with Skipper, Chris Kobusch, reporting: “The wind died down over night though and, having a look at the weather forecast, there is a risk of yet another wind hole in the south. I have no doubt we will fin d it. Or it us.”
On board Garmin, in seventh, Skipper Gaëtan Thomas is also fearing the dreaded light airs, but remains hopeful that the team will benefit from the following winds, saying: “The centre of a high-pressure system is trying to swallow us up inside the wind hole. In the next days we should start to have some decent downwind sailing – it will be good to see some +20kts of speed on the speedo!”
GREAT Britain has slipped to eighth place with Skipper, Andy Burns, reporting: “From 40 knots to zero knots in the space of 24 hours. We are back in the realms of tedious wallowing awaiting our next onslaught of downwind fun.”
Back in ninth place, Unicef has been enjoying the downwind conditions with Skipper, Bob Beggs, explaining: “Downwind sailing is such a delight after the last two weeks. Now with the spinnaker driving and double figure VMG (Velocity Made Good) it seems we are finally going to eat some miles up in the right direction towards Fremantle.”
Nasdaq remains in tenth place ahead of HotelPlanner.com and Skipper, Rob Graham, reports: “After a slightly blustery evening when some heavy low clouds came over, things calmed down again overnight, and when the sky cleared it was reassuring to see that the stars are still up there. It’s been a long time since we saw so many.”
He added: “We’re making decent speed towards Freo across a gentle sea, in good conditions for helming and trimming lessons.”
Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, reports that, after the light headwinds, the fleet will begin experiencing increasing gusts with squalls as the front creeps closer, which is expected to reach the southern teams first before gradually moving north.
The Race Committee has also announced that, following Unicef’s official request, it would be awarded redress totalling 2 hours and 33 minutes for the time spent in support of the stricken yacht, CV24, at the beginning of the race. Efforts are continuing to remove CV24 from where she currently lies and the latest updates can be found here.