In the last 24 hours, seven teams have completed the Ocean Sprint course in the LegenDerry Finale, in a bid to pick up the final bonus points on offer in the Clipper 2015-16 Race. So far, it is the team racing to its home port which has set the pace, with Derry~Londonderry~Doire recording an impressive time of 8 hours 28 minutes, over an hour quicker than Garmin which is second fastest so far.

“We had a slow start getting the heavyweight spinnaker up but we were soon up to speed and we hope that we managed to lay down a competitive time. It certainly felt like we were pushing on,” reports Daniel Smith, Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper, for whose team, victory in the sprint would see LMAX Exchange’s lead over them in the Overall Race Standings reduced to 8 points.

“After the sprint we dropped our spinnaker and have been under white sails since which has improved now that the wind has increased. The second half of the night was very quick with winds in excess of 40 knots. Today we hope for more of the same to keep us in the front pack and keep us in front of some lighter weather,” he added.

At 0900 UTC, Daniel’s team holds a 1 nautical mile lead over ClipperTelemed+ which has chosen a more northerly route, and has stretched to 14NM over third placed LMAX Exchange, whose Skipper Olivier Cardin is looking forward to big surf off the west coast of Ireland.

“Yesterday was a fast day but not enough to win the sprint and to maintain Derry~Londonderry~Doire behind. The wind is picking up since the evening and the sea is now big enough to take some good surfs. Tory Island is less than 500 nautical miles away and we should leave it on port in less than 48 hours. Before that we will enter on the Continental Shelf. It will be interesting to see how the sea will grow. The surfs promise to be huge!” Olivier wrote in his daily blog.

The fleet will begin rounding Tory Island on Saturday at approximately 2100 local time (2000 UTC). The boats will be very close inshore and only about six miles from the north-west coast of Ireland, providing a rare opportunity for locals in County Donegal to see the Clipper 70s in full race mode. Estimated times for this will be updated on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.

With the Ocean Sprint still to be decided, IchorCoal has won the first bonus points of Race 12 by being the only team to cross the Scoring Gate and collect the maximum three points available. The twelfth placed team which has struggled in light winds the last couple of days should start to move out of the centre of a high and will be hoping for a decent wind band from the following low.

For the main pack, Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell says that the most westerly boats will already have experienced a drop in breeze as the low front passes ahead of them but forecasts that the strong westerlies should last another day or two until the teams round Tory Island allowing all to make reasonable progress.

With less than 1000NM to go for the front boats, the arrivals are expected to start in Derry-Londonderry on Wednesday 6 July. Click here to see the latest ETAs.

A jam-packed, fun filled stopover awaits the crew on completion of the LegenDerry Finale. Click here to read more about what they and you could be getting up to at the FoyleMaritime Festival.

If you are inspired by our courageous crew and feel like an adventure of your own, speak to our recruitment team about joining the 2017-18 race. Click here for more information.

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