Clipper Race teams continued to fly in perfect downwind conditions towards San Francisco yesterday as the sun shone and 18 to 35 knot winds continued to power the fleet. As a low pressure system builds not too far away however, no one is under any illusion that the favourable conditions are here to stay.
Sean McCarter, skipper of first placed Derry~Londonderry~Doire commented: “Another big day yesterday, putting away a further 270 miles towards San Francisco. At this rate we'll be there in no time! Unfortunately this wind will only hold for another 36 hours or so then we'll get the changing wind speeds and directions associated with the first of two low pressure systems forecast to go over us in the next week or so.”
Henri Lloyd skipper Eric Holden added: “We'll take it as long as it lasts. These are pretty amazing sailing conditions, much better than we could have hoped for. I'm sure the North Pacific has some rough weather in store for us but until then we'll soak up this fast downwind ride.”
Currently in eleventh place after 120 hours elapsed racing time, PSP Logistics skipper Chris Hollis has also been enjoying the excellent sailing conditions, but warned: “We have a low pressure system brewing behind us which we'll encounter in a couple days. It will be interesting to see how the fleet tackle this tactically. If anything is to go by like the last low we had, it could be a little tastier than the 30 knots predicted.
Fleet tactics are continuing to shape out as teams gybe and select their best easterly course in anticipation of the building weather systems. GREAT Britain is now in Stealth Mode, meaning its position is hidden from the Race Viewer for 24 hours, ending at midnight tonight.
Invest Africa has also activated Stealth Mode, choosing to take its entire 48 hour entitlement for the race. Its position will remain hidden until 18:00 UTC tomorrow. Qingdao will enter Stealth Mode at 12:00 UTC today, also selecting its whole 48 hour invisibility period.
Qingdao’s communication systems are back in working order after a lightning bolt struck the boat and temporarily knocked out the navigational PC and instruments. Whilst the GPS will need to be repaired in San Francisco, the yacht is using its hand held back up device. No one was hurt in the incident.
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