Race 4, Day 8: Qingdao first across Scoring Gate following wet, wild day

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In descriptions more aptly used for a day at a theme park, skippers have described Day 8 as being a fast, wet, wild and truly exhilarating sleigh ride. The Southern Ocean certainly appears to be living up to its big reputation, with “wonderful winds and towering seas” providing magnificent sailing conditions and real miles made on the route to Western Australia.

It’s not all candyfloss and cuddly toys however, as the Southern Ocean does bring a real temperature challenge for crew. Rich Gould, skipper of Invest Africa explains: “The wind is up in the high 30's and low 40's occasionally gusting up to the 50's.  The biggest difference however between this low and the previous one we went through, is the water temperature. 

“The first low we experienced on this leg, we were still in the warm water of the Indian Ocean.  Now down here in the Southern Ocean, at almost 43 degrees south, the water is a shiver-inducing 6.1 degrees. This makes life tough, very tough indeed.” 

Three hours ahead of yesterday’s predicted schedule, Qingdao passed through the Scoring Gate first, at 0557 UTC this morning, picking up three bonus points. Henri Lloyd will almost certainly cross next in second for two points but the race is now well and truly on between OneDLL and GREAT Britain for who will take the final point.

The favourable winds have been helping those at the back of the fleet also, with Ben Bowley, skipper of Team Garmin commenting proudly:It seems that we have made some ground on the fleet, impressive stuff considering we started a full 48 hours after them!  If we can catch the new wind first we have a real chance of making another place or two.  The crew of Team Garmin are hungry for it, and they certainly deserve it.  Myself and the crew would like to pass a friendly message to our competitors: Keep a weather eye open, you never know who might be coming over the horizon to join the party.”

At 1000 UTC, Qingdao continues its lead of the fleet (2884.6 miles to finish) Henri Lloyd remains in second place (2972.6) OneDLL (2997.9) continue to hold on to third place, with GREAT Britain still chasing hard, just 16 miles behind them.

To read the skipper reports, click here.

For the Race 4 Race Viewer, click here.