Race 3 Day 23: Plenty left to play for as stakes heat up for remaining teams

23 November 2015

With podium places secured for LMAX Exchange and Derry~Londonderry~Doire (crossed finish line at 0932 UTC/ 1732 local) with Qingdao estimated to cross finish in approximately two hours, the competition continues in Race 3: The Wardan Whip for the rest of the teams which are fighting hard to close each other down in the final miles to Albany.

Garmin, currently fourth, and GREAT Britain, in fifth place, are giving everything they have in their final approach in short, sharp, wave slamming conditions. Not only facing challenging conditions on the sea, with under 160 nautical miles to go and less than 30 miles separating the two teams, it looks like it will remain tough to the end for the rivals who have battled each other closely throughout much of this race.

GREAT Britain Skipper Peter Thornton may be behind but has not quite given up the chase just yet, as he says: “I would like to think that this time tomorrow we will be navigating carefully close inshore towards the finish line. Still a bit of work to yet of course - it's still a near Gale 7, gusting 8 out here but you feel that the edge is off it and now we're waiting for it to bend around and take us with it to make for an easier sail in towards Eclipse Island and round the corner into Albany.

“The winds will be much lighter and shifty inshore so it will not be easy. Garmin has a healthy lead which is unlikely to change much in the time we've got left…BUT...you never know!”

Over 300 nautcial miles behind, the back half of the fleet is very closely competed and has been making slower progress in light winds over the past 24 hours. Just 70 miles separates currently sixth placed Mission Performance, Visit Seattle in seventh, and PSP Logistics in eighth, which means we should see another exciting battle to the finish line with important points still all to play for. IchorCoal is currently in Stealth Mode until 1200 UTC this afternoon and Da Nang – Viet Nam has also donned the cloak of secrecy and will race in Stealth Mode until 1200 UTC tonight.

Mission Performance Skipper Greg Miller says: “Although we achieved a staggering 94 nautical miles today in light winds, we are not downhearted! We are still moving towards our goal of Albany, Australia. Albeit slowly but surely.

“Our only concern is Skipper Darren on IchorCoal, when I wrote this he was only 33 nautical miles behind us! We are hoping that as he starts making more north and heading up towards Albany that he will encounter the small high that sits between him and Australia which will slow him down and keep him behind us. As our winds pick up and our speed increases so do our spirits!”

As the wind and spirits pick up, so too do the temperatures as teams move north, every further from of the icy clutches of the Southern Ocean towards the sunny Albany coastline.

Twelfth place ClipperTelemed+ which has found progress especially tough furthest north in the light air centre of a high pressure weather system, has 980 nautical miles still to go. Race Director Justin Taylor has made the decision to retire the team and allow it to start motorsailing to Albany to give maximum rest time in port. Skipper Matt Mitchell has accepted twelfth place and will receive one point.

Stay tuned to the website today to see all the team arrival images and find out the latest on ETAs.

All positions correct as of 10:00 UTC.

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