Race 11, Day 8: Tropical Storm Colin Packs Punch for Fleet

08 June 2016

Tropical Storm Colin blasted over the fleet, packing a little more punch than forecasted yesterday. Winds gusting 70 knots, and exhilarating surfing speeds into the high 20s, provided a thrilling show in the Atlantic Ocean.

In the race for the New York line honours, Garmin has edged ahead of ClipperTelemed+ this morning and now leads by 10 nautical miles after match racing within sight of each other for the past 72 hours.

Detailing his team’s experience of the storm Garmin Skipper Ash Skett reports: “It's been an extremely long, hard day today as Tropical Storm Colin arrived and gave us a good hiding. It hit sooner than initially forecast as the system picked up speed over Florida.

“With Colin's eye due west of us, the wind peaked at about 60 knots and it was rollercoaster sailing with the wind directly behind us and our boat speeds reaching the high 20s. ClipperTelemed+ was just a few hundred metres away the whole time and the competition was fierce.

In his report ClipperTelemed+ Skipper Matt Mitchell’s explains his team were caught off guard this morning by a big wind shift which caused them to bear away and change their sail plan, losing miles to rival Garmin in the process.

However Matt vows defiantly: “We have Garmin just a few miles off our starboard bow and are determined to make up the miles that we gave away earlier on in the day. I know they are just as determined as us and I'm sure I can speak for both of us when I say that we are more than keen to hold off the guys to the south. At 300 nautical miles to go as I write it's looking possible, but there are some very good teams breathing down our necks who won't give us an inch.”

The chasing pack, consisting of GREAT Britain in fourth place, fifth placed Derry~Londonderry~Doire, Unicef in sixth and LMAX Exchange in seventh place remain hot in pursuit, all within 10NM of each other and looking to capitalise on any errors ahead.

Third place Visit Seattle’s lead over the group has been cut to just 25NM and the team’s Skipper Huw Fernie is feeling the heat. He says: “As it was all calming down we were getting ready to hoist more sails and continue our pace when we took a horrible wind shift and for two or three slow hours we battled our way into a gale instead of away from one. What's worse is that by looking at our race reports we seem to be the only boat who found this little section and so once again we lose miles to the leaders and are now being chased by an alarmingly close group of yachts who are all intent on sneaking ahead of us.

“This LMAX Exchange RACE of THE AMERICAS is really turning into a series of hurdles for the Visit Seattle team and right now we hope that our lead is enough to last out the remaining day or two of this leg.”

As the Skippers recount their stormy experiences, one comparing it to a short and nasty ex-girlfriend, and another to watching their favourite band play in concert, Qingdao Skipper Bob Beggs in eighth place, provided this grand illustration.

Bob reports: “It was a brief visit but he (Tropical Storm Colin) left us in his awe. For those crew who joined Qingdao in Seattle, they have managed to see first-hand the Atlantic Ocean in her powerful majestic and ferocious beauty. Tropical Storm Colin was forecast prepared for, arrived quickly and left just six hours after he appeared.

“The power and strength of these Clipper 70s never lets you down in these testing conditions. We are now under full main sail and Yankee 1 maintaining a healthy 11 knots boat speed as we head up towards New York less than two days away. Those beers are waiting at the dockside and for once I feel we have earnt them.”

In the race for the Ocean Sprint, twelfth place Mission Performance looks set to take the two bonus points after a blistering effort. Skipper Greg Miller explains: “The wind was perfect and we blasted through the seas at breakneck speeds. Fortunately the wind remained like it all day and we crossed the other end of the sprint just over 10 hours later. We are still waiting for the confirmation, but by my calculations we were 40 minutes faster than any other boat, bar PSP Logistics (morning Skipper Max and team), which we hadn’t seen any time posted for.”

PSP Logistics had yet to declare its Ocean Sprint at time of reporting.

As the Clipper Race fleet covers the final nail biting miles of the US Coast to Coast Leg, it is not just the crew at sea who are giving it their all to make it to the New York finish line.

Cycling his way solo across the USA after leaving the boats in Seattle, Garmin Leg 6 crew member Simon Parker is digging deep in the Appalachian Mountains on his final 250 miles, aiming to beat his former team mates to New York.

Read his latest blog and stay tuned to find out if he ends up beating the fleet to the finish after 4,000 miles and almost 50 days cycling across the USA.

Can ClipperTelemed+ catch Garmin? Can Visit Seattle hold off the threat from the chasing pack? Follow the action on the Race Viewer here as The LMAX Exchange RACE of THE AMERICAS reaches its thrilling conclusion.

*All positions correct as of 0900 UTC.

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