Race 4 Day 3: Conditions Liven up as the Race Remains Tight

20 November 2019

On the third day of Race 4: The Marlow Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride, the upwind slam has subsided for most of the Clipper Race Crews, but whilst the fleet is enjoying the somewhat gentle introduction as they head towards the Roaring Forties, there is much anticipation of what might lay ahead.

IMAGE: On board Zhuhai

On board Unicef, currently in sixth place,Skipper Ian Wiggin says of the conditions: “With a favourable current pushing us towards Australia, our average speed is good and the waves are being smoothed. With us quickly approaching the infamous Southern Ocean, there is a sense of anticipation on board. We are trying to get a feel for the weather patterns and do not want to be caught off guard.”

GotoBermuda’s Skipper, David Immelman reports: “The sea state and wind were just great and we had 20 knot surf, after 20 knots. So much fun! All the guys were standing on the wheel with silly grins, then a grimace, then a grin again as the boat slowed to 15 then up to 18-19 again.”

On board seventh placed Seattle, the sea reminded the team exactly what it could do without warning. Skipper David Hartshorn reported: “The boat rounded up to the wind with the Code 2 flying, bang. We were pinned down in a broach. After what seemed like forever, having let the vang go, and the normal tricks, up we came and we were away, thundering through a beautiful star filled night.”

Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam currently has around a 20 nautical mile lead on the overall race leaders Qingdao and will be looking to sustain this lead to take full advantage of double race points from playing their Joker Card. With new crew joining the team in Cape Town, Josh Stickland, Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam Skipper comments: “We are in full training-mode, so our course might be a little sporadic due to the helms having to get use to the sea state, it's a wee bit different from Level 4 training in the English Channel”.

IMAGE: On board Ha Long Bay, Viet Nam

Frustrations have ensued for Qingdao’s Skipper, Chris Brooks, as he reports: “The forecast has been for westerly breeze with some south in it. The reality has been a southerly breeze with some west in it. These two different angles make for a hugely different tactics and positioning on the course. We are not quite where we want to be right now.”

Whilst the exhilarating conditions are providing the crew with a joyful adventure at the moment, the teams are not getting too comfortable, as an intense downwind run may be lying ahead. Guy Waites, Skipper of Dare To Lead said: “We continue our march south east. There's a distinct lack of wind forecasted to emerge behind us and for now at least we race to stay ahead of the windhole as much as the fleet. If it catches us, there will be little, if any, escape.”

The Race Viewer shows a tight race - keep watching all the positions as the teams choose their tactical routes towards Fremantle, Australia.

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