Following sun, balmy temperatures and some pleasant moonlight sailing, thick fog has swept in and is causing a challenge for the Clipper Race fleet as skippers prepare their best paths for the final stretch, south to the Golden Gate Bridge finish line, San Francisco.
Eric Holden, Henri Lloyd skipper explained: “We have passed the 1,500 mile to finish mark, and the great circle course is now 090 degrees so not long until we'll finally be turning south. The biggest change really is that the visibility has dropped down to very poor in fog.
“The nice sun we had yesterday has abandoned us and been replaced with that fine mist that sticks to your glasses, worse than if buckets of ocean were being splashed in your face, and my particular nemesis.”
GREAT Britain skipper Simon Talbot added: “This isn’t the beautiful kind of fog that you see rolling off the cliffs as you walk along Beachy Head in Eastbourne early on a summer morning, but more the miasmic, creeping, insipid type, that arrives and then lingers for hours, if not days.”
After more than 4,000 miles sailing, just 150 miles separate the top eight teams. GREAT Britain continues its lead, with Invest Africa back in second place, just 15 miles behind and Henri Lloyd hot on its heels just two miles back in third.
As the fleet continues to work hard to out run both the fog and an ever weakening cold front, Simon Talbot, GREAT Britain skipper continued to explain his main weather concern: “More of a worry, are the patches of very light wind that are developing in front of us, combined with the potential for a new secondary low to form which could bring a final big blow to our Pacific crossing. So bizarrely the weather demons that we face are either too much wind or too little wind, or perhaps a combination of both over a short period of time, only the weather gods know for sure.”
Aside from the teams directly surrounding them, skippers are also looking over their shoulders, as Invest Africa skipper Rich Gould explained: “One boat in particular that I have my eye on with relation is PSP Logistics. As they are racing us against the clock, if the more eastern boats drive in to a lighter patch of wind, skipper Chris Hollis may be able to close his gap down to less than 36 hours from the lead, which although great for him and his motley crew, would be less than ideal for us.”
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