After a bustling and exciting Le Mans start to Race 8, from Brisbane, Australia to Singapore yesterday the fleet continue to chase the familiar front runners. However, with so many technical challenges in Race 8 the leaderboard looks set to be shaken up once again as the fleet battle to make gains on its closest competitors.
Although the racing remains tight in the first 24 hours the steely determination of Derry~Londonderry~Doire which narrowly missed out on its second consecutive win in Race 7, has taken an early lead in Race 8. However, with experienced skipper of Qingdao Gareth Glover who also skippered the New York entry in the Clipper 2011-12 Race hot on its heels , will experience play a crucial part in what is described ‘as one of the most testing races of the whole Clipper Race’?
Skipper of OneDLL, Olly Cotterell and current overall leader looks ahead to what strategy he and his team will implement in this long, hot challenging part of the Clipper Race.
“The wind is currently 9 knots in the east south east but when it swings more to the south east a kite would be an option. The problem is that with the many squalls we have seen (definitely back in the tropics) the wind not only is changing direction fairly regularly but strength. As always as skipper you have to make a tough call. A conservative sail plan will protect equipment and reduce crew fatigue while a large one will risk damage and tire out the crew in these conditions.”
After a technical hitch yesterday which saw Mission performance suffer a power failure, the team slipped lines from Rivergate Marina at 0930 local time (2330UTC) this morning to motor back to the race start area to resume racing. Matt Mitchell, skipper of Mission Performance remained upbeat and focussed on the task at hand.
“We're all keen to get our teeth stuck in to this one and all is not lost as this race will be judged by elapsed time and not just line honours positions so there is still all to play for!”
While Leg 5 will be one of the longest and most challenging sections of the race so far, the end of Leg 4 meant saying goodbye to long standing experienced members of crew, and welcoming the new and less experienced crew members on board. With valuable points up for grabs the teams took no chances in making sure everyone was up- to- speed with all the manoeuvres. Winner of Race 7, and skipper of Switzerland Vicky Ellis describes the attention detail her team place on safety.
“With a late afternoon race start, we had a great opportunity to spend the day in Moreton Bay training the new joiners as a whole team.
“Some of the round the world crew refreshed the joiners in the various areas of the boat they had become experts in. Round the world crew members Alysoun Sturt-Scobie went through headsails, Mona Staltsberg and Gordon McDougall recapped on reefing.
We went over our Man Overboard (MOB) procedures, getting my chief coxswain and round the world crew member, Charlie Pickering to practice managing the crew and driving the boat back to pick our dummy out of the water, simulating a skipper over board.”