​Race 2 Day 25: Neck-and-Neck in Battle for First

10 October 2019

Leaders Qingdao and Visit Sanya, China remain neck-and-neck as the two teams enter into the final 300nautical miles of Race 2: The Commodore’s Cup to Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Although the current gap is just 2 nautical miles (nm), Visit Sanya has dropped into second place and SkipperSeumas Kellock reported: “We continued to battle with light wind just as we had done all night. It is very frustrating when there is only a wee bit of wind but even worse when it’s not coming from a direction you can use to your full advantage. Still we soldiered on and at some point, just after sunrise our good friends Qingdao appeared on the horizon.”

He went on to say: “Spirits are high and it’s still all to play for as we edge closer and closer to our destination. It will almost certainly come down to the slightly variable wind section that is forecast 60nm from the finish.”

IMAGE: All positions correct at time of publishing.

It’s not just the leaders who have been impacted by the light and patchy breeze on Day 25 of the race across the Atlantic Ocean. Dare To Lead heads up the chasing pack, after reappearing from Stealth Mode on the Race Viewer yesterday. Despite the team not having made as much progress as hoped, Skipper Guy Waites explained: “For the past 24 hours we've played a game of windseeker and for a while it looked as if the wind had won but we wriggled well, how well only time will tell.

“The wind is forecast to re-establish itself across the course, only then will the various strategies reveal their worth, the past 24 hours have provided us an opportunity to position ourselves to best advantage.”

IMAGE: It was a wet and wild 24 hours on Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam.

The patchy wind has encouraged three more teams - Zhuhai, Punta del Este and GoToBermuda,to activate Stealth Mode with the aim of hiding their tactics, speed, and potential wind from their rivals. Punta del Este Skipper, Jeronimo Santos Gonzalez, said: “If well used Stealth Mode can allow a yacht to not show its cards on a specific tactical course to find wind you don't want the other competitors to know, so they don't follow or cover you and one can gain some strategic advantage. It also creates a little anxiety on other competitors wondering where you are.”

Seattle used Stealth Mode to its full advantage and Skipper Ben Keitch has been revelling in the challenge that is light wind sailing. He reported: “Unicef is just to our left and Zhuhai is "visual" in front of us, giving us something to aim at. They are flying their Code 1 Spinnaker (we think, as our top sailing spy Carsten peers at them with binoculars) and we have our windseeker up. Every puff of wind must be played, and as the angle favours the windseeker, we close on Zhuhai and every knock (turning downwind) favours the Code 1 and Zhuhai pull ahead. We can play these games for hours.

“Now it's back to looking for wind, and fighting hard for fifth place. Though with so many in Stealth Mode, it's hard to know what the standings are.”

With the conditions forecast to remain the same and the next weather front looking slow moving, there will be lots of opportunities for position change right up to the finish line in Punta del Este. To follow all the action, keep an eye on the Clipper Race Viewer. The latest ETAs into Yacht Club Punta del Este will also be regularly updated here.

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