​Race 12 Day 16: LMAX Exchange on course for sixth overall race win

06 July 2016

LMAX Exchange is on course for victory today after a fierce battle with Derry~Londonderry~Doire overnight, with positions changing often before the overall race leader managed to squeeze a two nautical mile advantage.

After struggling to make speed in very light winds overnight, LMAX Exchange is now making 8.1 knots, and is around 5 nautical miles ahead of home port entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire.

If LMAX Exchange can hold off the Northern Irish entry in the final dramatic denouement of the LegenDerry Finale to Derry-Londonderry, it will be the team’s sixth overall race win. The team is expected to cross the finish line at around midday today.

ClipperTelemed+ is in third position having also rounded Rathlin Island, with GREAT Britain to the west of Rathlin in fourth place.

Dan Smith, Skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire,described the last 12 hours of racing alongside rival LMAX Exchange in his Skipper report today, which has been frustrating and extremely challenging.

“Last night we raced in winds as low as 1 knot. This made racing difficult in currents that were running up to 4 knots at times. Positions between us and LMAX Exchange changed throughout the night, until the wind finally filled in closer to the shore and it managed to squeeze a 2 mile advantage.

“We are now fetching Rathlin Island with a small zephyr and a tide due to change within an hour and making steady gains. This may be our opportunity to make it round Rathlin Island. We will be working hard to make it round and back again without drifting into the Traffic Separation Scheme in the light winds,” Dan added.

Further down the fleet, conditions have been testing with the yachts heading upwind into unfavourable currents.

On board Garmin, in sixth, Skipper Ash Skett said the sea state was also set to get worse, with a quick moving low pressure system due to pass over the fleet soon.

“As predicted and rather annoyingly, the wind has now swung to the south so we are once again beating to windward, this time in the opposite direction to yesterday. With all these unfavourable currents, wind holes and wind shifts, lately it feels like we just can't catch a break.

“To add to our woes, I expect the sea state to deteriorate soon and the crashing and banging is sure to return as we pass over the continental shelf for the third time,” Ash added.

Qingdao is in eighth positon and nerves were showing with the team needing to defend its position ahead of Mission Performance to protect its leaderboard placing. The team is currently in Stealth Mode until 1759 UTC tonight.

Skipper Bob Beggs said: “We are still heading towards Rockall just two hours away and preparing for our rounding of the rock and dropping of the medium-weight spinnaker. The rain and the tempo of the work to be done on deck will hamper the sightseeing as we pass the rock. The beat back to Northern Ireland could be breezy with a small quick moving low due to pass over us soon. With Mission Performance behind us we need to stay focused to the line to defend our present race position,” Bob added.

Ichorcoal has accepted twelfthplace and one point. Combined with the Scoring Gate points, it has achieved four points this race.

In his report today, IchorCoal Skipper Rich Gould said his team had been working extremely hard and had made 299 nautical miles in 24 hours, and hoped to achieve the holy grail of 300 NMs today.

“The breeze has built over the course of the day, as has the swell. The combination of both factors has seen us achieving some brilliant speeds, which in turn is causing ear to ear grins on the faces of the on watch. As I am sitting in the nav station typing this I keep hearing the tell tail hiss from the rudders as we pick up speed down the face of another wave.....currently surfing well in to the high teens.

“The crew are doing an excellent job of running the boat hard and fast, long may it continue,” Rich concluded.

Click here for the latest ETAs to Foyle Marina.

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Derry-Londonderry is ready to host the fleet with a series of events to make this the biggest and best stopover yet in the city’s three-race history. Click here to read more about what the crew and you could be getting up to at the Foyle Maritime Festival.

Given how closely the teams are passing each other to and from Rathlin Island and Rockall, please be aware that we will be seeing some incorrect data from the Race Viewer whilst we have boats travelling the same course in opposite directions. In the event of this place follow the tracking lines to work out positions rather than the current race table.

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