Light, patchy winds and the strong tidal conditions north of Scotland are testing nerves and patience as the teams battle to clear notorious Pentland Firth and make it out into the North Sea.

The leaderboard has been changing regularly due to the light, shifting wind in the Firth that has delivered a concertina effect and mixed fortunes. The tides can reach in excess of 10 knots in the Firth, making it a slow passage in the Den Helder North Seas Challenge to The Netherlands.

ClipperTelemed+* has made it out of the Pentland Firth first after taking more of an inshore route, and is now making 8.6 knots in south, south-easterly winds.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire is behind in second place having passed John O’ Groats, with PSP Logistics in third and Qingdao extremely close behind in fourth position.

Qingdao Skipper Bob Beggs described the last 24 hours and the decisions to come in his Skipper report today.

“Today has seen the most exciting sailing. Tidal races and headlands produce lots of interesting tactical decisions. I am sure those watching the race on the Clipper Race Viewer will be wondering what we are all doing at times.

“We have seen our position fluctuate between the back and the front of the fleet as the wind died overnight. We are busy trying to keep going against a foul tide in the Pentland Firth.

“Now that the tide is turning in our favour we will soon be in the North Sea beating our way south avoiding the oil platforms and shipping lanes before our landfall in Den Helder,” Bob added.

With Derry~Londonderry~Doire currently ahead of overall race leader LMAX Exchange, and positions changing between Garmin and old rival GREAT Britain, the overall leaderboard could be shaken up in the battle for points.

Martin Clough, Skipper of Unicef, now in ninth position, has not fared as well, as Martin describes:

“For those of you watching our progress on Race Viewer, you will know that our fortunes seem to have changed this morning. After some great helming yesterday by the guys, we had battled our way into third position after some close racing with Visit Seattle and GREAT Britain.

“After nightfall, the wind died and we all entered the great parking lot on the north coast of Scotland. Our position now looks very unclear, and will depend on how we all fare with tide and steadily increasing wind.

“Tacking our way towards the Pentland Firth, with most of the fleet between us and the lighthouse, so the race begins again,” Martin added.

*Positions correct as of 1000 UTC.

How will Race 13 play out? Will ClipperTelemed+ hold onto the top spot and will Derry~Londonderry~Doire overtake LMAX Exchange on the overall leaderboard, and could Garmin overhaul GREAT Britain?

Follow every update here on the Race Viewer.

The fleet is expected to cross the finish line off Den Helder on 22-23 July.

There is a range of activities planned for the fleet’s stay in Den Helder, including a Summer Carnival and Nautical Festival.

For more information on some of the events happening, such as live music, DJs and a food truck festival, click here.

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