As the first Clipper Race teams start crossing the International Date Line today, exceeding the half-way point of Race 10, those positioned in the middle, east of the main fleet were left feeling wet, cold and frustrated last night as Mother Nature poured her best attention on the most southern teams.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire skipper Sean McCarter sounded thwarted as he said: “Well we prepared for the worst last night and I must admit to feeling a little hard-done-by. Instead of 70 knot gusts and hail, we had lighter than average wind and a lot of rain.
“The annoying thing is that we went slow all night waiting to be hammered at any minute by the cold front, when in actual fact, we could have averaged decent speed and been more comfortable with a larger sail plan.”
Henri Lloyd skipper Eric Holden’s frustrations were also clear as he remarked: “Waiting, waiting, for a front that never seems to come. We reduced sail overnight expecting some weather to arrive. It did not and we lost many miles by going slow. The wind is still out of the south so the front has yet to pass through.
“I have become impatient for its arrival and frustrated by this hesitancy to sail the boat to its potential while the threat of the front lingers. The only upside is that we should be well rested for having taken it easy.”
Jamaica Get All Right’s Pete Stirling reported a far more positive experience as the most southerly boat however as he gushed: “I'm not too sure what kind of night the boats further to the north and east had but we had a brilliant nights sailing - one of the best I would say! As forecast, the wind and sea state started building quickly yesterday afternoon and by nightfall we were prepped with our storm sail plan in place.
“We saw steady winds of 40 knots gusting to 50 knots plus and a rough but manageable sea state overnight. Boat speeds were constantly in the mid-teens with occasional surfs into the low 20's and the boat and crew were loving it.”
The overall lead remains close at this halfway stage as this exciting race to San Francisco continues to heat up. Invest Africa has held onto its first place, just 20 miles ahead of Henri Lloyd in second and 30 miles ahead of third placed GREAT Britain.
Clearly some skippers will be hoping to to re-live lastnight with better conditions and they may get their wish shortly as their clocks will get put back an entire 24 hours once they cross the International Date Line, now less than 50 miles ahead of Invest Africa.
To follow the fleet’s progress, you can see the official Race Viewer HERE
To read all the skipper reports, click HERE
To read the crew diaries, click HERE