​Race 12 Day 9: Brakes off as westerly propels fleet forward

29 June 2016

A strong westerly served up by the Azores High is propelling the yachts forward after a frustrating few days of light airs from the same high in the North Atlantic Ocean.

ClipperTelemed+ is leading the fleet again after emerging from its Stealth Mode cloak of invisibility last night; and boat speeds have been high throughout the fleet as the teams enjoy steady trade wind conditions with spinnakers flying in building winds.

LMAX Exchange is in second place with Derry~Londonderry~Doire chasing hard now just 10 nautical miles behind in third despite a problem with its medium weight spinnaker.

With approximately 1000 nautical miles to go in The LegenDerry Finale, there are still plenty of tactical opportunities open to the teams.

After home port entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire lost its medium weight spinnaker over the side when the halyard snapped yesterday, there is now a 24/7 sail repair operation going on in the sail locker which Skipper Dan Smith says will be finished today.

LMAX Exchange Olivier Cardin is feeling the pressure to maintain the lead over the Northern Irish entry, and thus maintain its overall top leaderboard position with just 10 points separating the two teams.

ClipperTelemed+ reappeared on the position report after its Stealth Mode. It was 5.7 nautical miles ahead at 1800 UTC. That's a very good target to keep the team focused. We are about 20 nautical miles ahead of Derry~Londonderry~Doire. Not a lot with this wind picking up and the team doesn't want to let us get away. They will push hard,” he added.

Unicef has climbed up to fifth place, six nautical miles behind GREAT Britain in fourth. Its Skipper Martin Clough described the exhilarating conditions in his report today.

“We have just started experiencing a consistent swell and are surfing along at a respectable speed.

“Based on the demands of today it’s going to be a very absorbing four days of sailing and sail management as we punch our way towards Derry-Londonderry and the team is going to be working hard to maintain our current placing,” Martin added.

The teams will start the Ocean Sprint section of the course in the next 24 hours, too, providing an incentive to push even harder in hope of an extra two points.

On the south of the race course where the winds are still extremely light, it appears that IchorCoal will cross the Scoring Gate today and be the only boat to do so, thus gaining three bonus points.

Despite slow progress, IchorCoal Skipper Rich Gould said the mood was good on board.

“Progress may be slow but morale is still good, some music on deck has helped the watches keep going today,” he said.

“Once we have rounded the corner it looks like we will have to endure several days of very light wind associated with the North Atlantic High before we manage to break free in to the trade winds that should then carry us to Derry-Londonderry,” Rich added.

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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