Race 12 day 8: Mixed fortunes for fleet as Atlantic High causes pain

28 June 2016

The frontrunners have managed to escape the grasp of the light winds associated with the ridge of the Azores High, but the back of the fleet is still suffering in its grip.

As the front of the fleet heads north the wind has been building, and the battle for positions is intense at the make or break stage of the race with roughly 1300 nautical miles to go until Derry-Londonderry.

Yesterday’s race leader ClipperTelemed+ is in Stealth Mode until 1759 UTC today, with LMAX Exchange now in first place after edging ahead of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, now second, and GREAT Britain in third.

Dan Smith, Skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, chasing a rare home port win, described the last 24 hours on board in the more favourable winds which has allowed spinnakers to be flown in the North Atlantic.

“We've finally managed to clear the wind hole and now as we work our way north-east the wind is gradually building. We are still slow in the light downwind sailing due to a less than perfect lightweight spinnaker so LMAX Exchange has managed to catch us and pull away gaining 20 nautical miles over the past day.

“The wind will come back though and we'll be keeping our fingers crossed for some breezy downwind sailing to allow us to claw back some of the miles.”

Greg Miller, the Skipper of Mission Performance, in seventh, said his crew were highly motivated due to being in close company over the last day as the team edges towards the more steady Atlantic trade winds.

“It has been a fun day catching to within a few miles of GREAT Britain and Garmin and working hard to stay with them and in some cases make some quite significant gains on them.

“It’s great to be back in the fight and the Warriors are relishing the close-quarters nature of this battle, where they can see the results instantly without waiting for the six-hourly schedules.

“So we have just gybed and are heading north now hoping to 'punch' through the receding ridge of high pressure and into the freshening trade winds north of us. At which point we can re-assess the damage done by the boats on the west side of the course, who have been sitting in more favourable winds for the last 24 hours,” Greg added.

Wendy Tuck, Skipper of Da Nang – Viet Nam, in fourth, said her tactics of sailing along the ice mark where the stronger winds were forecast had not gone entirely to plan.

“Our scooting along the ice box continues today. It looks like we were on a loser. We stayed out to the west of the course, we were looking really good there for a while. But it now seems the guys further east have done much better. It’s really hard and disappointing, but that’s yacht racing.

“Right, tomorrow is a new day, we have a lot of fight left in us, and it still is a fair way to Derry-Londonderry,” Wendo added.

Which position will ClipperTelemed+ be in when it emerges from Stealth Mode?

Keep following all the moves on the Race Viewer here.

*All positions correct as of 0900 UTC.

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

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