It’s been another night of close match racing amongst the fleet, as all 12 teams’ battle the elements desperate to make gains on its nearest competitors in fickle wind and unfavourable currents.
As reported yesterday, all 12 teams enjoyed exciting close match duels which have continued overnight. As the fleet manoeuvre around the volcanic islands off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, progress remains frustratingly slow. Could the fickle wind and an unfavourable current be the downfall of overall leader OneDLL in Race 8? Skipper of the Dutch entry, Olly Cotterell describes the trying conditions:
“Well it has been another frustrating 24 hours on OneDLL as I am sure you are aware progress has been slow! We were going along fairly well but now we are doing all we can just to make enough way not to get swept back by the current. This is currently happening as we have just 1 knot of wind.”
Close match racing took on a new meaning last night when Switzerland and Henri Lloyd came within a boat length of each other, leaving the skipper of the Swiss entry, Vicky Ellis just moments away from reaching for the fenders. Meanwhile, Team Garmin was left with just 0.4 knots of wind for 18 hours, which steadily saw the team going backwards to the Solomon Sea leaving Invest Africa the perfect window of opportunity to sneak ahead into tenth place.
After taking full advantage of 25 knot squall, Qingdao which is currently ninth place in Race 8 made some exciting progress as skipper Gareth Glover continues to debate the best strategy moving forward:
“We now find ourselves back beating in light winds but still moving more than we were a few days ago, but do we follow the rest of the fleet inshore or go more offshore where the wind looks better and cover a lot more miles? We don’t have a lot to lose being this far back but the weather ahead looks like it’s going to go very light to no wind so we might able to catch a few more miles yet before we get to far north and into new weather.”
With Mission Performance reportedly reaching the Vitiaz Strait and a favourable current - Race 8 is still far from decided.
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