It is five days into revised Race 9.1 and the first yachts that set off from Hong Kong are three days out from receiving a warm welcome on arrival into Qingdao.
Race 9.1 has a full twelve points up for grabs like normal races. However, because of the different start times out of Hong Kong, each team is being timed individually on an elapsed time basis, similar to the Ocean Sprints.
The yacht which records the fastest time will win and receive twelve points and the slowest in 12th place receiving just one point. This has always been the basis for the revised Race 9.1 and has not changed, as referenced in all previous web stories. No points were awarded for the abandoned element of Race 9 before Hong Kong.
The Race Office recognises that the elapsed time method means there may be some variation in weather conditions depending when the boats started racing, but this is no different to the basis for the Ocean Sprints.
Powerful headwinds, steep waves, an adverse current and busy shipping lanes have made conditions very unpleasant on the yachts as they beat towards China.
After a problem with the fleet’s forestays, Race 9 was halted after five days and the yachts were diverted to Hong Kong where they were repaired by Sir Robin Knox-Johnston before setting off individually on Race 9.1.
Jamaica Get All Right decided to cease racing on Thursday following difficulties with adequately tuning the rig following its forestay repairs in Hong Kong. Skipper Pete Stirling said: "We are now motor sailing with a third reefed mainsail and storm jib making the best speed and course we can towards Qingdao."
One of the waypoints of the course has been moved by 30 miles to the west. This will allow the yachts to make a more direct course to Qingdao.
As it stood the yachts would have had to beat to windward to round the mark on the correct side. This potentially would have added anything between 70 and 100 miles to the distance sailed.
Leg 5, which started in Brisbane in mid-January, has been a very long passage which has seen many trials, including the risk of pirates and cyclones, and going from little wind and extremely humid temperatures to challenging headwinds and very cold weather.
Estimated arrival times into Qingdao is 10-13 March subject to the prevailing weather conditions.
To read all the skipper reports click here
To track the fleet’s progress on the official Race Viewer click here