​Race 1 Day 18: Tropical Depression 9 brings strong winds for frontrunners

18 September 2015

Tropical Depression 9 has been sucking the south-east Trade Winds from the South Atlantic High across the Equator, giving some of the frontrunners unexpectedly strong southerly winds in the Doldrums Corridor.

However, the second half of the fleet is suffering in extremely light winds as the yachts make painfully slow progress towards – and in the first part of - the Doldrums Corridor.

Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell said due to the Doldrums moving north, conditions were not going to improve for Mission Performance, Da Nang-Viet Nam and Unicef – not yet in the Doldrums Corridor - for the next few days.

“Tropical Depression 9 is what has given some of the leading boats the strong winds. Behind it - as it goes westwards - a large synoptic wasteland of very little wind is developing over the next 24 to 48 hours. Those boats in the Doldrums Corridor will be able to motor through this, those not in it will have slow progress to get there. The Inter Tropical Convergence Zone should re-establish itself at around 6 to 7 degrees north in two to three days’ time,” he added.

At the front half of the fleet, Qingdao, motor-sailing in the Doldrums Corridor, has moved into second place and will be putting up its sails again shortly to head upwind.

Skipper Igor Gotlibovych said: “The Doldrums Corridor motoring phase wasn't quite what we expected. With the actual Doldrums so far north and a tropical depression to our north-west affecting the wind, we found ourselves heading south into headwinds and choppy seas.

“We are now well into the south-easterly Trade Winds, and are expecting the wind to back (change to a more easterly direction) by the hour.

“Meteorology basics learned in the last few days - the Doldrums are not always in the Doldrums Corridor, and the Trade Winds don't always come from astern. Soon the engine will be off until Rio, and we will resume full-on sailing - upwind at first, but not putting the spinnakers away altogether.”

Yesterday on GREAT Britain, round the world crew member John Charles was injured during a rig climb. He sustained a broken wrist and cuts on the side of his his chest. Skipper Peter Thornton received remote medical advice from the Clipper Race’s telemedicine service, ClipperTelemed+, which is staffed by doctors from the race’s Global Medical Emergency Support Partner, PRAXES. John was treated with advice from the doctors at ClipperTelemed+ and his wrist was reset and splinted. Peter also inserted stitches to the injury with the help of ClipperTelemed+, and administered antibiotics and painkillers. John is in a stable condition and is happy about how he feels. He states that he is not in any pain. GREAT Britain is continuing to race to Rio.

John’s condition will be continually assessed with the support of the doctors at ClipperTelemed+ using their remote telemedicine methods.

All positions correct as of 0900 UTC.

For the latest positions, see the Race Viewer here.

For more on the Doldrums Corridor rules, click here.

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