The wind has strengthened and veered, with teams now beating upwind having sailed through squalls followed by wind holes yesterday in the PSP Logistics Panama 100 Cup.
Weather forecasts have been largely inaccurate due to the large amount of unpredictable squall activity, meaning positions are changing regularly depending on which team has the favourable breeze at the time.
GREAT Britain is still in first position in the race to Panama, with Henri Lloyd three miles behind in second and Jamaica Get All Right in third place.
Eric Holden, skipper of Henri Lloyd, said his team had seen wind gusts up to 30 knots during the squalls and had to put reefs in the mainsail and drop the Yankee.
“This was followed by no wind and doing circles and putting everything back up again. When the wind dies the boat really struggles as with so many wind shifts the seas are coming from every direction and is really messy.
“Lately we've been under this massive storm complex and seem to get headed every time we tack. Our track looks horrendous. I am starting to wonder if we'll ever find an exit. Even though we're surrounded by open water on all sides, it feels like we are stuck in a maze and each turn leads us deeper and deeper until we're lost for good.”
Gareth Glover, skipper of more northerly Qingdao, said its strategy to take advantage of the wind filling in from the north had failed.
“We have over 25 knots of wind, two reefs in the main and a staysail. Less than 12 hours ago we had no wind and covered six miles. That was our window to make gains on the rest of the fleet so we have now missed out.
“This race has been lots of things but from the start we have had an uphill battle which we have lost.”
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To read the crew diaries, click HERE