As gale force winds batter the twelve teams competing in Clipper Race with wind speeds in access of 85 knots on deck, it hasn’t been a typical Equator crossing for the fleet as it crossed into the Northern Hemisphere in the last 24 hours. However, nothing could dampen the spirits of the crew on board GREAT Britain after the UK entry has successfully climbed the ranks into first place.
GREAT Britain’s offshore route gamble has triumphantly paid off, placing the team in first place for the first time in Race 8, the Old Pulteney Navigators Cup. With a lead of just a few miles, the relentless hard work will need to continue if the team stands any chance of maintaining its position as the rest of the fleet begin to follow suit. Skipper, Simon Talbot describes the last 24 hours on board GREAT Britain:
“Both the crew and I have worked tirelessly for the last 24 hours battling squall after squall after squall, some bringing 50 knots plus of wind and all bringing torrential rain! Add to the mix that in between squalls we have been beating into a gradient wind of 30 knots, with a 2.5 metre sea state to match and you can probably imagine that the good ship GREAT Britain is about as far removed from a 4 star hotel at the moment than you can possibly imagine!”
The majority of the fleet has now crossed the Equator into the Northern Hemisphere, however due to the unsettled conditions, the teams crossing the line ceremony has been delayed. King Neptune will be invited to meet the Pollywog crew (crew who have yet to cross the Equator) as soon as conditions improve.
In other news PSP Logistics celebrated Australia Day which historically marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip, in 1788. Over recent years the meaning has evolved, and is typically seen as a day to celebrate what's great about Australia and being Australian. Chris Hollis, skipper of PSP Logistics from Sydney, Australia was keen to mark the occasion:
“Today is a very ceremonious day indeed! It is the 26th of January – which means it is Australia Day. We celebrated with Australia Day cake, hoisted the boxing kangaroo (it is a little windy to hoist the big blue ensign we have) and had our award ceremony.”
As Mission Performance continues to make steady progress the team was reportedly hit by a large squall more than 20 miles in length. Skipper Matt Mitchell and crew have been getting used to life back on the heel and living at an angle as the team makes steady progress towards the Scoring Gate.
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To read all the skipper reports click here