Clipper fleet determining tactics for final 1,200 miles
Published on April 5th, 2014
(April 5, 2014) – The wind in the North Pacific has eased causing some of the Clipper Race boats to slow up in their approach to San Francisco, with Switzerland, Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Team Garmin crews doing all they can to keep moving.
Leaders GREAT Britain also had a frustrating 24 hours, with skipper Simon Talbot reporting his team’s conservative sail plan overnight in the fog cost them dearly, with “arch nemesis Henri Lloyd managing to take 20 miles out of our lead, leaving us with a slender and ever diminishing 10 mile distance to finish difference”.
Invest Africa is in third place again now, with Qingdao in fourth after dropping down a place yesterday.
Skippers are frantically looking at all their tactical options for the final 1,200 miles into San Francisco, particularly looking at how to avoid a high pressure system off the Californian coast that could slow them up considerably.
Vicky Ellis, skipper of Switzerland, said the light conditions are set to continue for some time as this wind hole under the weather front from the low pressure system has caught up finally.
“The further compounding problem is that this patch of lights airs is heading slowly eastwards with us so there is no way out now. We were hoping to outrun it last night and stay in front of it but to no avail. Like an ant desperately trying to outrun a hoover, we got sucked in and now we go where it goes, helplessly spiralling around in the fluff inside. As you can see this wind hole is wrecking our fleet position.”
Derry~Londonderry~Doire skipper Sean McCarter said: “It has been a frustrating day of light winds and sloppy seas. We peeled to our lightweight kite this morning and were going nicely for an hour or so before the wind backed so much that we had to drop and hoist our Yankee 1. We then made reasonable progress for another few hours but alas we are flapping around in 6 knots of wind, not ideal for a 36 tonne boat.
“As this band of light wind swept over us from the west, it means that the leaders to our east were in clear air for longer and were probably able to outrun it. It’s tough as we worked hard for days building up small gains then they all get wiped out in a matter of hours.”
Meanwhile Old Pulteney has requested to enter Stealth Mode for the next 48 hours. The team’s position will be hidden from the Race Viewer and the rest of the fleet and will not be revealed until 12:00 UTC on Monday 7 April.
Report by event media
Skipper reports: http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com/skipper-reports
Race tracker: http://yb.tl/clipper2013-race10
Race website: http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com
The 40,000 mile Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on September 1 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s.
Eleven teams started the 5,600 mile leg from Qingdao, China to San Francisco, USA on March 16. PSP Logistics started the leg on March 19, a result of their late arrival into China due to several setbacks.
All twelve teams are expected in San Francisco between April 8-12, subject to prevailing conditions. The fleet will be berthed at South Beach Yacht Club until the April 19 start of Race 11 to the Panama Canal.
The race route includes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Brisbane, Australia; Singapore; Qingdao, China; San Francisco, USA; Panama; Jamaica; New York, USA; Derry-Londonderry, Ireland; and Den Helder, Netherlands before returning to London in July.