It has been a very eventful 24 hours with challenging conditions. PSP Logistics has retired as a safety precaution and Old Pulteney quickly recovered a man overboard, although he remained attached by his tether throughout the recovery.
With the fleet reportedly battling a challenging front with wind speeds reaching up to 40 knots in the last 24 hours, the teams are getting used to life at an angle, as ‘climbing frame’ living conditions test the patience of the crew and skippers as the fleet fight to make gains in Race 7 to Brisbane, Australia continues.
PSP Logistics decided to retire as a safety precaution following a failure of the deck around the base of the starboard running backstay, which means they can no longer tension it. Skipper Chris Hollis described the conditions they were experiencing prior to this in his report: “We took off on one wave as another crashed in to the side of the boat which exploded right under the hull like a death charge. I can see why there are so many horror stories of rogue waves...I for one am glad to be back on the East Coast!”
On Old Pulteney Skipper Patrick Van Der Zijden described how a crew member was quickly brought back on board thanks to the safety policy of tethering crew on deck: “John Yuen slipped from the bow and was left hanging on his life line next to the boat; with quick help from the crew and a halyard John was craned back on board with a bit of a shock and a wet suit but otherwise unharmed.”
The rest of the teams battle on as Derry~Londonderry~Doire continues to show no signs of relinquishing its lead, however with Switzerland, OneDLL, Old Pulteney and Jamaica Get All Right chasing down the front runner with less than 16 miles between them, Race 7 is still anyone’s for the taking as skipper of OneDLL, Olly Cotterell knows all too well.
“Morale on board is good at the moment and we are all aware how close the pack is up near the front. These short races have been incredibly demanding and I look back fondly to the trade winds! We are going to have to continue to work hard to get a good position in this race as I know every other team out there is.”
With the fleet leaving behind the unpredictable conditions of the Bass Strait, the ‘frustrating’ Australian Eastern Current (EAC) continues to provide challenging sailing conditions while hampering the progress of the fleet. Skipper of Team Garmin, Mark Burkes describes the conditions.
“I have to admit that I am getting a little tired of typing all my blogs wedged into the navigation station and at 30 degrees, computer mice, keyboard and bits of paper falling around me as we crash off waves beating into 35 knots.
“The East Australian Current (EAC) which we used to such good effect on the way down to Hobart has, it seems, found us! I went to bed assuming we would push out of it and resume a north east course but instead we remain resolutely in it and being pushed east! Now we must just hold on and find the end of it!”
With the Ocean Sprint in sight for the top half of the fleet, the teams will be focusing on crossing the lines of latitude from 33S to 30S in the fastest time possible to secure its team two valuable points.