Vasco Da Gama Race. Leading Yacht Just 65nm From Finish

Andrew Haliburton – Image 1

by Richard Crockett

The race is certainly panning out to be a corker with ‘Regardless’ (Neville Bransby) and his crew tearing up the race course at a rapid pace, and still in good current, and with an ETA at their current pace just 6 hours away!

But there are lots of variables to contend with which could scupper this ETA – especially the possibility of running out of wind in their last 30 miles to the finish, unless of course they can pick up some land breeze. Plus they have the fast flowing Agulhas current to contend with, which is giving them a massive bonus right now. But they need to ensure they get inshore early enough to avoid being swept past the finish.

The senior crew aboard ‘Regardless’ are aware of all this and are unlikely to make that rookie mistake.

They know they have their work cut out to maintain their lead and finish first, so there will be lots of activity on board tonight will little rest and no sleep!

Herbie Karolius’s ‘Rocket’ has a small 2nm lead over ‘CFM’ (Nigel Milln), so expect an exciting tussle amongst those two.

The back-markers, for whom I have the utmost respect, are ‘Magic’ (Peter Channing) and ‘Sundance’ (Ian Gordge), who have plugged on regardless of the conditions, and barring any breakages finish well within the time limit.

Andrew Haliburton, a former Durban yachtie and now resident in the USA where he navigates a highly competitive race boat, has been following my posts with interest. He raced the 1984 Vasco on ‘Element’ and L26, did one race on the L36 ‘Sheer Joy’ and a few on the L34 ‘Sunseeker’.

I asked him to pen his thoughts as the race enters its final quarter. This is what he wrote:

The race remains a challenge looking forward.

Today’s SAWS 12z Surface Analysis shows a very strong frontal system approaching the Cape. The effects of this will be felt from Tuesday. (Image 1)

For today, a weak high-pressure offshore provides fairly light downwind conditions on rough seas remaining from yesterday. (Image 2)

Leader on the water, Farr 40 ‘Regardless’, remains in the transition zone and will likely carry very light airs to the finish early on Tuesday morning (green track). (Image 3)

Slower boats (H34 ‘Sundance’), Fast42 ‘Adios’ and Baltic42 ‘Magic’ should enjoy strengthening North easterlies today through tonight (red track). (Image 4)

Unfortunately for these boats, they will run into the light transition on Tuesday morning, and likely run into the front on Tuesday afternoon (blue track) still 60nm short of East London. (Image 5)

By Tuesday afternoon, the big Southern Ocean rollers will be running into the 5-knot Agulhas Current (red shading) and creating extremely rough wind-against-current seas.
The boats will need to be heading inshore to get well away from the favourable current causing dangerous seas. (Image 6)

Another tough slog upwind to finish in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Best of luck!

Don’t stray or go away and stay tuned as the race unwinds towards the finish.

Andrew Haliburton – Image 2
Andrew Haliburton – Image 3
Andrew Haliburton – Image 4
Andrew Haliburton – Image 5
Andrew Haliburton – Image 6

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