Race 9.1 Day 5: Onerous racing pushing crews to their limit

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The crews are battling through headwinds of up to 60 knots with short, sharp waves, the yacht on a steep angle and cold conditions making for extremely demanding racing.  

Some teams have hoisted the Yankee 3, replacing the storm jib, but were forced to take it down again because the wind was too powerful.  

Small sail plans, a strong current and wide tacking angles pushing the yachts sideways means progress towards Qingdao is painfully slow.

 Old Pulteney skipper Patrick van der Zijden said: “Another day beating up the Taiwan Strait. We have now been in this weather system for 60 hours in winds of up to 66 knots and a rough short sea state which makes progress hard and tires out the crew. Due to the weather, helming conditions are heavier than normal, which means I substitute on our small watches a lot. 

“We are nearly out of the Strait, so hopefully the ride will become a bit smoother. The crew are tough although tired and are doing a great job keeping the boat moving and liveable inside.” 

Jan Ridd, skipper of Team Garmin, said his team has been hard on the wind since leaving Singapore with no reprieve. 

“The last few days have tested my and the crew’s resolve as we have tried to make Team Garmin sail to windward in 30 knots of wind in a short, sharp  sea. We still have over 600 miles to go which does seem like a very long way at the moment.” 

One of the waypoints of the course has been moved by 30 miles to the west.  This will allow the yachts to make a more direct course to Qingdao. 

As it stood the yachts would have had to beat to windward to round the mark on the correct side.  This potentially would have added anything between 70 and 100 miles to the distance sailed.   

Estimated arrival times into Qingdao is 10-13 March subject to the prevailing weather conditions.

To read all the skipper reports click here 

To track the fleet’s progress on the official Race Viewer click here