A wind hole held up the leading pack of the Clipper Race fleet on Day 7 of Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race with the teams now back beating upwind. The downwind sailing conditions, that had been expected as part of a Southern Ocean sleigh ride towards Fremantle, Australia, are noticeably absent.
The podium positions have remained the same over the last 24 hours and, with under 3,500 nautical miles to go, Sanya Serenity Coast continues to be in front with Dare To Lead in second and PSP Logistics in third.
Sanya Serenity Coast was the first to break through the wind hole, with Skipper Wendy Tuck explaining: “The crew worked really well keeping the boat moving. We had the Code 1 (lightweight spinnaker) up and managed to keep it flying.
“It’s now back on the nose. We have the really weird situation of nearly being able to surf upwind. It will change and get a bit messy as the sea and then swell turn and match where the wind comes from but, at the moment, it’s not too shabby.”
Dare To Lead Skipper, Dale Smyth, is lamenting the lack of downwind sailing, reporting: “The wind filled in later last night from the east and we are now close-hauled living at 45 degrees again. There has been a serious lack of nice downwind surfing conditions since we left a week ago.”
In third place, PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell remains relatively upbeat despite the upwind conditions: “The forecast has us in headwinds for the next 24 hours or so too so progress won't be amazing. We shouldn't be beating into the horribleness first seen on this leg though.”
With around 3,600 nautical miles to go, Visit Seattle remains in fourth place just ahead of GREAT Britain and Qingdao, who have leapt up to fifth and sixth place respectively and can now see each other on AIS (Automatic Identification System).
GREAT Britain Skipper, Andy Burns, reports: “As far as I can see from the position reports we get we are still very much in the mix and are now heading our best course east after our second wind hole in the Southern Ocean hit just behind Visit Seattle who we have on AIS.
“The weather is already showing signs of a serious eat, sleep, sail, repeat approach to the next few days as we begin our lengthy beat to somewhere near the Scoring Gate.”
IMAGE: Latest positions at time of writing
Liverpool 2018 has slipped a couple of places to seventh place after a break in the weather whilst Unicef has climbed up to eighth after the wind returned on the nose. Unicef Skipper Bob explains: “Back to life at 40 degrees, further south than yesterday with a wind direction that has a southerly element means it’s time for helming gloves.
“The downwind sailing under spinnaker slowed to a standstill in the afternoon, the wind dropped and then disappeared to return on the bow. With a tacking angle of 100 degrees, we are now 50 degrees off course until the next wind shift.”
Garmin fell to ninth position after significantly feeling the effects of the wind hole whilst Nasdaq remains in tenth and HotelPlanner.com in eleventh although the latter is catching up fast as it has been dealing with different weather conditions from the rest of the fleet. Skipper Conall Morrison reports: “Top speeds were beaten again and again with a record of 22 knots. It is nice to have Greenings crew onboard and their racing attitude and experiences brings a freshness to life on the good ship.”
Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, has explained the unusual conditions for the Southern Ocean being due to the Jet Stream being quite far north, which is why the low-pressure system is so far north. The fleet should begin to see the influence of the following high-pressure system and the wind should gradually veer and ease as the ridge approaches from the south.
Stay tuned to the Clipper Race Viewer, with its hourly position updates, to see how the changing weather conditions will affect the fleet! Read more on the Skipper Reports and Crew Blogs available on the Team Pages.
All data correct at time of writing.Join The Race