Race 8 Day 19: A game of snakes and ladders as the finish line approaches

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It’s been a frustrating 24 hours for the Clipper Race fleet, as the predicted lighter winds have played havoc with the teams progress, and with just a few hundred miles left until the Sarangani waypoint every knot of wind and mile covered counts at this stage of the race.

With the wind expected to fill in first to the north, OneDLL, Old Pulteney and Derry~Londonderry~Doire decided to follow the rest of the pack and head further north in search of the favourable winds. With the wind proving tricky to predict at this stage, skipper of OneDLL OllyCotterell who has led for the majority of Race 8, knows that in the last 100 miles any of the teams could win the race.

“As the boat speeds have decreased (along with the wind) not for the first time this race, the current is playing havoc with our course and at the moment we are trying to stay out of negative VMG (Velocity Made Good) or going backwards. The next 24 hours or so will be a bit of a lottery for us in terms of wind while others in the fleet will get  steadier conditions. Brace yourselves at home for some snakes and ladders...I have a feeling the last few miles of this race may be exceedingly close.”

Meanwhile, Qingdao's tactic seems to be paying off as the most northerly yacht in the fleet has climbed into second place, with skipper Gareth Glover and team enjoying, 'some of the best racing yet for us, our north tactic and finding a different weather system has paid off '. 

Henri Lloyd which is currently in the middle of the fleet continues to make steady progress. Skipper Eric Holden describes the conditions which have led the team into sixth place, just 40 miles behind the leader OneDLL.

“The last 24 hours has been some of the best racing yet for us, our northerly tactic and finding a different weather system has paid off for the time being, but we just need the forecast to stay the same and we may make a few more miles yet. There is still a long way to go on this race and all it needs is for us to find a wind hole or make a mistake for the last miles to the waypoint.”

In other news Invest Africa and Team Garmin have now both anointed their new Pollywog crew members after crossing the Equator into the Northern Hemisphere several days ago. After a traditional and slightly messy initiation ceremony the new crew members became trusty honourable Shellbacks. 

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