Race 4, Day 15: Temperature and stakes heat up as Henri Lloyd takes first place

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The sun is out and with the improving temperatures, the race to Western Australian is heating up. Henri Lloyd has stolen the top spot from Qingdao which has led consistently through the race and with OneDLL, GREAT Britain, Invest Africa and Switzerland also sailing well, the crew members on Qingdao know they need to work hard to retain a podium spot in this race. 

Qingdao skipper Gareth Glover commented: “Well done to Eric Holden and his Henri Lloyd crew for sailing so well over the last 24 hours. We are now in the same area and winds as the other yachts so hopefully if we slow down again so will they and it is now more down to who can get the most out of their yacht.”

The Southern Ocean is like a complicated, adolescent soul with a split personality. One day, it is unsociably dark and stormy, the next it is almost apologetic; sickeningly sweet and sunny with blue skies, and later a magical moonlit starry night. Yesterday, gladly for most, it was the latter.

skipper, Vicky Ellis put it in context, saying: “The last two days have been a bit like clearing up from a good party. Your body aches in strange places, you have surreal flashbacks (was I really on the bow?), and you wonder why the onions ended up in your bunk.”

The next and final bonus point opportunity of Race 4, the Scoring Gate, lies just 30 miles ahead of the leaders. This is a passage of five degrees longitude where the fastest team to cross its two lines will pick up two extra points, which can make all the difference to their overall standings. 

The “magical” conditions are lifting spirits after the latest storms and GREAT Britain skipper, Simon Talbot has some advice for the crew:  “Very few people get to experience the crescendos of weather that this place has to offer. The highs and lows that ocean racing add to the mix, only serve to heighten the emotions. Days like today offer the perfect opportunity for reflection and a chance to digest all that has gone before us.”

At 1000 UTC, Henri Lloyd, (1409.3 miles to finish) now lead the fleet, with Qingdao second (1426.5 miles). OneDLL (1435.3 miles) and Great Britain (1435.6) are advancing behind in third and fourth place respectively, with less than a mile separating them.

To read the skipper reports, click here.

For the Race 4 Race Viewer, click here.