Day 11 of Race 4, otherwise known as the Kinjarling Cup, (Australian Noongar nation’s translation for ‘place of rain’) to Albany has seen another day of light winds in the Southern Ocean, allowing the teams more time to catch their breath and take the best safety precautions as they are well aware that the situation is due to change, potentially dramatically over the next 24 hours.
Simon Talbot, skipper of Great Britain, currently in forth position, says: “Tension is building on board with the knowledge that a frontal system is bearing down on us from behind, with no one keen to repeat the experience of the last one that passed. This one is forecast to start to fill in and fade as it approaches us, so it’s important for us to make as much distance east as fast as we can to take maximum advantage of this weakening of the system.”
As skippers choose their best positions for the incoming conditions, Ben Bowley explains why Team Garmin have chosen the most northerly spot: “Placing ourselves to the north of the fleet will give us options after this front passes that will not be available to the boats right down on the southerly limit of 44 degrees. I am not promising miracles but we are sticking to our overall plan and strategy for this race and with a bit of luck, it may pay off in the closing stages.”
A strong, cold, wet front is forecast to bring gusts between 50 to 70 knots, peaking between 0000 UTC and 0600 UTC tomorrow morning, though skippers are aware that previous fronts experienced in the Southern Ocean have turned out to be stronger than forecasted.
The front is expected to come through hard and fast from the back of the fleet which could bring a change of fortune for those at the rear of the fleet. Here teams are hoping winds will be strong enough, without being violently strong, to allow them to make real gains, while the leaders are hoping the winds don’t die out too much before they reach them at the front.
At 1000 UTC, Qingdao continues its lead of the fleet, (2260.9 miles to finish) whilst Henri Lloyd continues to hold onto second place (2350.2 miles) after a night of cat and mouse with OneDLL (2353 miles) who is hot on its heels in third.
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