Race 3 Day 14: Hide and Seek in the South Atlantic

06 November 2019

The fourteenth day of racing to Cape Town on Race 3: The Spinlock South Atlantic Showdown is providing great sailing conditions with Qingdao currently leading, followed by Punta del Este second and Imagine your Korea in third having emerged from Stealth Mode yesterday evening.

This race was always destined to be close and it is a thrilling watch to see the places chop and change on the Race Viewer as tactical routing comes into play for the final stretch across the South Atlantic.

WTC Logistics is looking to climb from eighth place but the team has a decision to make, as Skipper Mark Burkes explains: “As the southernmost boat in the fleet there is now a dilemma for us. Do we go now and head straight for Cape Town, burning our angle advantage on approach, or do we follow our routing software and keep on keeping on just south of east and ride the backing winds northwards and therefore reach into Cape Town when others are beating?"

IMAGE: Waves crash over the deck of WTC Logistics

Whilst conditions are somewhat brisk for the fleet, dreams of sailing into a sunny Victoria and Alfred Waterfront with Table Mountain as a spectacular backdrop are soon to become a reality and all eyes and minds are on the sought-after podium positions. Visit Sanya, China’s Skipper, Seumas Kellock reflects: “So, we are not far from the end of Leg 2 now, it's been a great couple of days here, winds in the region of 30 knots, the boat cruising along at an average of 11 knots with some great surfing opportunities for the crew to compete for the top speed. It's going to be a close run race right up until the notoriously fickle winds of table bay and the finish.”

While Skipper of Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Josh Stickland reports: “We are currently 684 nautical miles from Cape Town at the time of typing, 0412 your time and there are six boats including us, all vieing for those elusive podium spots and it's still anyones to win or lose. I’m very impressed by the concentration and focus of the crew.”Elsewhere in the South Atlantic, Unicef is currently in Stealth Mode, and will be visible on the Race Viewer again at 00:00 UTC on 7 November. Whilst during the 24 hour period, they are only visible to the Race Office, they seem to have been spotted...

Skipper Ian Wiggin has reported: “The standout event from yesterday was nearly hitting a great white shark. The shark was spotted at the last minute heading under our bow. I have seen many sharks before but nothing like this. The biggest sharks I had seen before were hammerheads and basking sharks. This monster dwarfed them all.

“At first, the thick muscular dorsal fin reminded me of an Orca (killer whale). The wheel was turned hard over to try and avoid hitting it. Luckily, it passed close down the port-side of Unicef, and, as with all good fishy tales, size estimates vary according to different eye witnesses. I would estimate that the dorsal fin was around 4ft and the shark to be around 20/25ft long. Put it this way, I feared we were about to lose a rudder.”

The Punta del Este team have also declared their wish to hide in Stealth Mode, making the last update of their position on the Race Viewer at 1200 UTC today, returning at 1200 UTC on 7 November. How will this affect their second place position? Find out tomorrow, and keep an eye on all the action from the fleet via the Race Viewer. All ETAs for the fleet’s arrival into Cape Town can be viewed here.

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