Having raced over 3,000 miles in Race 4 so far, the steely determination of the 12 strong fleet of Clipper 70s continue to shake up the race standings. In the last 24 hours the top four competing teams got off to a nail biting start to the Ocean Sprint with only 14 minutes separating three of the teams as they crossed the line.
Henri Lloyd was first to enter into the sprint at 13:38 UTC, followed by Qingdao at 16:34 UTC, GREAT Britain at 16:41 UTC and OneDLL were hot on their heels only seven minutes later at 16:48 UTC. The team to cross the lines of longitude 90 degrees east and 95 degrees east with the shortest elapsed time will be awarded two extra points.
Later on yesterday, GREAT Britain entered the podium positions within the leaderboard for the first time in Race 4, and previous fleet leader Qingdao has slipped into fourth place.
Simon Talbot, GREAT Britain skipper explains how support from home is driving his crew onward. “We currently have just over 1200 miles to go to the finish and as skipper, I can feel the pressure build and the expectations of the crew rise. All on board are buoyed by the support from our friends and family, and are determined to give their all and finish this race with grit and determination in a very British way. So it is very much game on.”
Commenting on his teams drop in the rankings, Qingdao skipper, Gareth Glover said: “It looks like the drag race to the finish line is on, and we are losing out. As much as we trim our sails and try and get the right combination for heading our best boat speed, the other three yachts are just that little bit faster than us.”
Aside from Derry~Londonderry~Doire, who found themselves frustrated yesterday by a wind hole, the majority of teams reported less swell and more consistent progress. Squalls and light wind patches are making appearances though and are forecast to continue over the coming days, meaning great tactical attention is required from skippers to plan their quickest routes to Albany.
One skipper, hoping the complicated forecast will pay off for his team is Team Garmin skipper Ben Bowley, who says: “The meteorological situation is still a mess but we hope this will create a nautical game of snakes and ladders over the coming week. From the back here on Team Garmin, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“So here's hoping some of you guys ahead can park for a little while to guide us around the snakes and give us a chance to arrive before you have drunk all the beer in Albany, please!?”
At 1200 UTC, Henri Lloyd, (1134.4 miles to finish) continue to lead the fleet. OneDLL have moved up into second place (1149.5 miles) and Great Britain (1152.6) are third.
To read the skipper reports, click here.
For the Race 4 Race Viewer, click here.