After another 24 hours of changeable conditions for the fleet during the first major ocean crossing of the race, the Atlantic, further decisions will soon need to be made as the optional Scoring Gate rapidly approaches.
Although not considered a compulsory gate for the race, the first three yachts through will be awarded valuable points, 3, 2 and 1 respectively. With no change at the top of the leader board overnight, these extra points could make a big difference to those challenging the leaders Derry~Londonderry~Doire.
Gareth Glover, skipper of Qingdao currently in fifth place who also skippered in the 2011-12 edition of the race, understands all too well how important it is to make the right decision at this crucial point in the race.
“We are now around 600 miles from the Scoring Gate, so we are still deciding whether to head that way or take a different route to cross the ITCZ (Intertropical Convergence Zone, the Doldrums) and head south. 600 miles sound like a long way, but to make up the lost miles to the lead yachts we would have to sail a lot faster, and that's easy said than done.”
You can keep an eye on the fleets progress by checking the Official Race Viewer and to read all of the skipper reports visit here.