Race 13 Day 2: Tough upwind conditions as the fleet exits the Windward Passage

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It’s been an exhausting 24 hours for the 12-strong fleet with the teams matching each other tack for tack as they beat upwind through the Windward Passage to the Virtual Mark off the coast of Cuba. However, with the fleet reluctantly playing follow the leader, who will be the first team to break free and challenge Henri Lloyd for the lead in Race 13 - The Grange Hotels Trophy?

As Henri Lloyd now leads the pack the majority of the fleet has now exited Windward Passage. Skipper of Henri Lloyd, Eric Holden, knows the next big decision for the fleet will be what tactics to deploy as the teams navigate around, and through, the tropical islands and reefs in the Bahamas.

“This is one of the tightest races yet and any team could come out on top. There are now lots of reefs and islands to sail around to add to the challenge as you don't know which way teams are going to decide to leave them. It is no longer the follow the leader upwind sailing we've just been doing. Fantastic nail biting racing!”

Meanwhile, skipper of PSP Logistics, Chis Hollis, describes how tightly packed the fleet has been during the last 24 hours, resulting in a very close encounter with its nearest rivals.

“The time did come to hoist the Yankee 3 just before we were approaching our lay line to the Windward Passage mark. Up went the sail, up went the speed! We nearly crossed in front of Jamaica Get All Right, but ended up dropping in just to leeward of them on the lay line, and both of us crossed Mission Performance. Now the three of us are fully powered up to the max, in hot pursuit of Team Garmin which is only four miles ahead. So, we are in stall for a tasty night indeed!”

Meanwhile, the varied conditions of the Windward Passage have seen Qingdao fall to the back of the fleet, as the team continues to beat upwind eager to make gains on the rest of the fleet. Skipper, Gareth Glover explains his frustration: “We have been having problems with upwind speed like the other yachts, and again we found ourselves alongside GREAT Britain and Switzerland. Again we watched as they sailed higher and faster then us and we lost lead to them by 10 miles. We are trying to gain that back however whatever we do we just can’t seem get Qingdao to go upwind like the other yachts.”

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