Race 3 Day 9: Excitement for teams as Southern Ocean sleigh ride finally delivers

09 November 2015

The wind has finally backed around and is allowing the Clipper Race fleet to get its first real taste of the Southern Ocean sleigh ride that teams have been craving since leaving Cape Town nine days ago.

ClipperTelemed+’s Matt Mitchell, in tenth position, reports: “Today has been an awesome day, we've had great wind, spinnakers flying and high boat speeds. We definitely had our first proper taste of the sleigh ride today with winds in the 20s and 30s, meaning that it’s been heavyweight kite most of the day.”

Whilst the excitement levels pick up, temperatures are plummeting however, as Garmin Skipper Ash Skett explains: “It is freezing down here! Being quite far south probably has something to do with it but the boat is currently enveloped by a freezing-fog which seems to pierce the skin in any exposed areas. Gloves and hats are a necessity and the average number of layers of clothing among crew has doubled over the last 24 hours.”

At the latitude of 44 degrees 30 minutes south, the Race Office has cordoned off a ‘virtual beach’ which the yachts are forbidden to cross. This is because of the dangers of icebergs that have calved off Antarctica and made their way north. Previous Clipper Races have proven that this limiting line is a sensible precaution and the chances of encountering ice above that line is minimal however the Race Office will be monitoring the position of any ice that might prove a risk to the fleet and advising the teams accordingly.

IchorCoal Skipper Darren Ladd details: “Conscious of the virtual ice limit, we take the sea temperature every hour and look for a sudden dip, the harbinger of ice.” He adds: “What an adventure! It was only weeks ago on Leg 1 that the deck was too hot to stand on in bare feet and shade was of a premium. We're on our third ocean now and the thermals are out, mid-layers are on and goose-pimples adorn the under dressed.”

Race leader LMAX Exchange is expecting to cross the Scoring Gate at 0400 UTC to pick up the first three bonus points, with Derry~Londonderry~Doire, still in second, and Qingdao, third, appearing set to pick up the remaining two and one points respectively.

GREAT Britain continues in fourth, Mission Performance has managed to gain some mileage on sixth place Garmin overnight and Ichorcoal is still seventh. A gap of approximately 180 nautical miles has now widened between these front teams and the back of the fleet which includes Da Nang – Viet Nam, PSP Logisitics, ClipperTelemed+, Visit Seattle, and Unicef.

Will the ride continue as the fleet prepares to experience a new weather front? Stay tuned to the Race Viewer as Race 3: The Wardan Whip continues.

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