Race 14 Day 10: High pressure system engulfs majority of fleetBack to archive
The front three yachts that headed east after the Scoring Gate have managed to outrun the ridge of high pressure that has engulfed the rest of the fleet.
They will be able to start the Ocean Sprint part of the course in the next nine hours, racing across a section with the aim of achieving the fastest time and two extra points.
The remaining nine boats are sandwiched between four weather systems in light and fluky wind and probably will be for at least a further 18 to 24 hours.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire has overtaken Jamaica Get All Right to lead the fleet with GREAT Britain in third after Switzerland dropped down the leaderboard after being caught in the wind hole following several days leading the fleet.
Vicky Ellis, skipper of Switzerland, now in seventh, said she was bitterly disappointed as she watched helplessly as wind speeds dropped to 6 knots, then 4 knots, then 0.
“Our fantastic progress and performance in this race so far has come to a shuddering end.
“We spent the past 24 hours in Stealth Mode with the plan, like the rest of the others to the east it appears, to get ahead of the zone of dead winds (described yesterday as the Big Blue Blob of Doom) and into the northerly/north easterly winds associated with the low pressure over Spain.
“We had been making good progress, staying ahead of GREAT Britain throughout. However in the final stages before we were due to make the breakthrough the wind dropped faster than forecast and progress slowed up so much that the dead zone caught up with us and engulfed us. Total disaster! GREAT Britain - who was only 11 miles to the south of us at the time - has escaped in to the northerly breeze and we are stuck fast.”
Race Director Justin Taylor said the nine boats stuck doing slow speeds must try and take advantage of the south westerly winds coming up from the Azores now to head north and out of the ridge.
Meanwhile, Jamaica Get All Right skipper Pete Stirling remains upbeat.
“We have managed to put quite a few more miles between us and the boats behind us. We are beating upwind in 15 to 20 knots and expect to be headed in the next few hours as the wind veers from the north to the north east. It looks like being a hard beat to windward for the next 1000 miles but at least we should keep moving in the right direction at good speed. Back to life on an angle then!”
Today the fleet also received its last ice report following several sightings of growlers over the weekend with the race Office moving the Ice Mark Hollis a further two degrees south as a precautionary measure.
To track the fleet's progress, click here.
To read all the skipper reports, click here.
To read the crew diaries, click here.