​Race 3 Day 12: Downwind Sailing Conditions Kick In

12 November 2017

Following the grueling upwind slog which has dominated much of Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race, a wind shift overnight has meant that for some of the most southerly teams, downwind sailing conditions have kicked in.

This came as music to the ears of the Skipper and crew on board Visit Seattle, which has crept up to fourth place this morning after a frustrating wind hole hindered progress yesterday. Speaking from on board Skipper Nikki Henderson said: “When the position reports came in yesterday and we saw everyone was moving - even GREAT Britain which was only about 25 nautical miles north of us - ah it was pretty heart breaking. But nothing we could do except soldier on and try and head south to find more wind.

“In the middle of the night we found it - queue big sigh of relief. Now we are finally, finally, cruising along downwind with a spinnaker up. Here begins some mile crushing in the direction of Fremantle.”

Elsewhere, PSP Logistics, Qingdao and Sanya Serenity Coast still hold the top three positions on the leaderboard after picking up bonus race points for the Scoring Gate yesterday, though they are holding out for the wind to shift. Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck comments: “It’s hard to think that the boats behind and down south will have kites up now, they will be having a lovely time if the weather file is correct.

“Our time will come soon, but I can’t keep saying just 24 hours more of his on-the-nose stuff!”

For fifth placed Unicef, which is also eagerly anticipating some downwind sailing conditions, morale remains high as they head towards Fremantle. Skipper Bob Beggs explains: “At last the wind has freed off sufficiently so that, although we are still on the wind, we can point to our destination. Hurrah!

“Hopefully in a couple of days the good ship Unicef will come upright as the wind comes aft, so we can enjoy some downwind sailing.”

Following Unicef is Liverpool 2018 in sixth place and GREAT Britain, which has benefited from the wind filling and backing at 04:00 UTC this morning, is in seventh place.

Still holding out for the much-needed wind change is Skipper Dale Smyth on eighth placed Dare To Lead. He explains: “We were forced right over the top of the scoring gate and we really need this wind to change or we are going to have to go backwards and tack South. We run the risk this far north of not getting Westerlies at all so we keep praying for it to change.”

On board ninth placed Nasdaq, racing is taking a back seat this morning to mark Remembrance Sunday. Skipper Rob Graham says: “This being Remembrance Sunday, Nasdaq will hold a short ceremony and silence at 1100 UTC, and hope that our friends and followers around the world will have joined us in this important occasion, as we turn our thoughts to those fallen in conflicts past and present.”

Despite starting Race 3 towards the top of the leaderboard, Garmin holds tenth place today but is by no means settling at the back of the fleet. Skipper Gaëtan Thomas comments: “It is quite frustrating to be at the back of the fleet, but it is far from the finish and now is the time to keep focus, not give up.”

And for eleventh placed HotelPlanner.com, weather should be backing and building as it progresses towards Fremantle.

Looking ahead, weather systems may continue to be tricky for the fleet. Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, explains: “There’s a fair amount of wind around between the incoming weather systems, which will be generally going in the right direction, but the progression of the high and then the ridge South of it in two to three days’ time will stretch the fleet’s tactics.”

To stay up to date with the Clipper Race fleet, keep an eye on the Race Viewer. All positions were correct at time of publishing.

Visit the Team Pages to read the Skipper Blogs in full, and to hear the latest news from the crew.

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