Race 8 Day 18: Will a dreaded wind hole shake up the leaderboard once again?

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The last 24 hours has seen the fleet make steady progress to the Sarangani waypoint after the forecasted calmer conditions failed to materialise, allowing some of the fleet to take full advantage of 25 to 35 knots of breeze on deck. However, with a dreaded wind hole on the horizon, will the most northerly yachts be able to claw back the lead in Race 8?

After battling through fickle winds and cruel currents for thousands of miles a wind hole looks set to shake up the leaderboard all over again as Mother Nature plays her cruellest card. Decision time now looms for the front runners - will the leaders continue to battle on in the favourable winds, but risk being becalmed in the forecast wind hole? Or will they join the rest of the fleet further north, in hope of finding the north east trade winds? With so much at risk at this stage, skipper of OneDLL Olly Cotterell knows that his lead could soon disappear:

“If the weather goes the right way for them the boats to the north pose a real threat even though they are hundreds of miles to the east of us. If we stop and they get fair conditions, as has been shown in previous legs, our lead now is no lead at all, so it is all to play for. As it is the northern yachts are making steady gains every schedule on us as they get a more favourable wind direction.”

Both Mission Performance and Team Garmin received a royal visitor in the shape of King Neptune, to anoint the new Shellbacks, as the new crew members crossed the Equator for the very first time. Matt Mitchell, skipper of Mission Performance describes his team’s unconventional royal ceremony:

“Over our lunchtime session today Queen Neptuna (round the world crew member Sophie Hetherton) hosted her court to welcome our Pollywogs into her domain and grant them the title of Shellbacks. The forfeits were suitably gross involving the fools halter, last nights dinner mixed with grey tank water, bilge water, coffee grounds and pancake mix, as well as a good flouring for good measure. Everybody held themselves with great aplomb and earned their new title!”

To keep an eye on the fleets progress and to view the Official Race Viewer click here

To read all the skipper reports click here