Race 12 day 1: Henri Lloyd leads fleet on first day of the Spirit of Jamaica Chase

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Henri Lloyd is leading the fleet on Day 1 of Race 12, the Spirit of Jamaica Chase.

After a Le Mans start at 07:05 local time (12:05 UTC) Wednesday off the coast of Panama, the yachts set off in fresh north east trade winds headed on an upwind 590-mile course for Jamaica.

The majority of the fleet is still packed tightly together and beating upwind, with GREAT Britain and Qingdao tacking off on a more easterly course, with Jamaica Get All Right also now choosing to head east.

Skipper of OneDLL, Olly Cotterell, currently in third, said a developing low pressure to the north of the Bahamas has caused the pressure gradient to be much more easterly than it can be, meaning the so-called ‘one tack wonder’ to Jamaica is not happening. 

“We have seen the wind fluctuating between north, north east and east. We are tacking on the shifts trying to utilise them to make the best VMG (Velocity Made Good) to the first waypoint on the south east corner of Jamaica, called Morant Point. 

“The upwind helming which is so vital in this short race is coming along nicely,” Olly added. 

Simon Talbot, skipper of GREAT Britain, currently in ninth position, commented: “It looks like this is going to be a very close race, with little room or time for significant tactical advantage to be gained. It is going to be about sailing continuously well and maintaining a solid course with good helming being vital.

“For us it is a very different kind of race, being very much a sprint with the distance to finish already under 500 miles, so we really do have to be at the top of our game from the get go.”

The boats are expected to arrive into Errol Flynn Marina, Port Antonio, Jamaica between 17-18 May.

To track the fleet's progress, click here.

To read the skipper reports, click here.

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