Race 12 Day 4: Split fortunes as Atlantic storm divides fleet

24 June 2016

A dramatic Atlantic storm stalled progress for some teams yesterday, widening the margin between the front and back of the fleet, and it is the boats to the south which are still enjoying the added power of the Gulf Stream which have made best progress over the past 24 hours.

ClipperTelemed+ reported a great day’s racing and has taken the lead after seeing its southerly position in the Gulf Stream pay off progressively over the past 48 hours, where it has climbed up from ninth place. Garmin, also positioned south is second, 7NM behind, and yesterday’s leader Derry~Londonderry~Doire is now third, but still making strong progress 9NM behind the leader.

Dan Smith, Skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire states his team is aiming to get back into the full power of the Gulf Stream current in their quest to regain the lead in their race home. He says: “It's been a day of squally weather with plenty of wind most the time. We've had the full range from about 10 knots to 35 knots of breeze with lots coming through with the darker clouds overhead. Despite the changeable wind we've always been able to hold onto the power because our course is slightly off the wind which has meant few sail changes other than a spinnaker drop earlier this morning.

“We are now pushing slightly south of the rhumb line course in order to get ourselves back on the conveyor belt that is the Gulf Stream. We've now picked up 1.5 knots of current and hope to use it to stop the boats that have been south and sitting on it for a bit longer from getting away and creeping ahead.”

GREAT Britainis fourth, southerly positioned Unicef has continued its climb back up the leaderboard and is now fifth.LMAX Exchange is sixth,Mission Performanceseventh,Da Nang – Viet Nam is eighth, Qingdao is ninth, and Visit Seattleis tenth.

Mission PerformanceSkipper Greg Miller reports that his team were struck by lightning in the storm but that no one board was harmed. He explains: “Yesterday was a mixed bag! We were overpowered, underpowered, struck by lightning, wet, dry, warm and cold!

“The wind has been 'alles uber de platz'! (All over the place) We have been working flat out to react to the weather and its changes. Luckily the lightning strike only took out our wind instruments and a battery voltage monitor, could have been much worse! So after a large squall and lots and lots of rain, the wind dropped to nothing, now, as I write this is it just starting to fill in. Fear not, we intrepid Warriors are ready for whatever the North Atlantic can throw at us!”

Further back PSP LogisticsSkipper Max Stunell, in eleventh position, explains the force of the storm that hit and the affect it had on his team: “It was a morning of sail changes, the kite was up for a few hours until but there was a wind shift and we were unable to sail the required course. As it was dropped it was as if the gates of hell appeared to open in the sky accompanied by crashes of thunder and bolts of lightning.

“We were then subjected to an onslaught of torrential rain that lasted for the next four hours testing our waterproof clothing to its limits and beyond. This cloud was large enough to effect a group of boats around us but it looks as if the leading pack escaped and were able to stretch their lead.”

Skippers have been sending their best wishes to IchorCoal today after the team diverted towards Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada to medevac crew member Chris Drummond, 62, who complained of chest pains yesterday.

Deputy Race Director Mark Light has just provided the following update: "We can confirm that the helicopter medevac of Chris Drummond has been successful and completed at 0914UTC today. The boat has turned around and is now making best course and speed towards the position where they ceased racing and is awaiting further instructions."

The team, which has two on board medic crew, had been liaising with PRAXES, the Clipper Race’s Emergency Medical Support Partner, and the Canadian Defence Department which despatched its Cormorant rescue helicopter to the boat as soon as the team was within flying range. The latest update from on board said that Chris was stable and we shall provide further updates on his condition as we have them.

In his detailed report today, IchorCoal Skipper Rich Gould makes best efforts to reassure as he praises the actions of his crew saying: “I would like all friends and family at home to know that all is well aboard, everybody is in good spirits and despite our situation there is still laughter in great supply. Fear not, the amazing IchorCoal crew have got it all under control.”

*All positions correct 1000 UTC

The Clipper Race fleet is due to arrive in Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland between July 7 to 11.

Click here to find out more about the stopover, which will mark the third and final time the Clipper Race fleet will visit the city.

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