​Race 4 Day 5: Teams jostle for position in challenging conditions

06 December 2015

The constant headwinds and necessary tacking when battling against them may have slowed the fleet’s progress to Sydney, but in the last 24 hours the front runners have hit their first milestone of the Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup, by putting 1000 nautical miles between themselves and the race start in Albany.

Mission Performance’s tactical routing of staying close to the rhumb line (see the Race Viewer), saw it regain the lead after finishing the Ocean Sprint 24 hours ago and it remains at the front of the fleet, albeit very tight at the top, as Skipper Greg Miller explains: “The last schedule we got said that we were first but Garmin in second and LMAX Exchange in third were on the same distance to the finish line, there was just decimal points separating us.

“We were situated a lot closer to the rhumb line and we were fairly level which meant that, theoretically we should have a better angle when the winds come round later in the race. Fingers crossed that that is the case and we can capitalise on this position.”

Skipper Greg’s summary is based on the 0000UTC positions of the yachts, which is the last time Garmin’s co-ordinates were shared with the rest of the fleet having entered Stealth Mode, meaning its position is hidden from the Race Viewer and its competitors for 24 hours. Garmin Skipper Ashley Skett says: “This is probably the first time that we have had the opportunity to use Stealth Mode as it was intended, to make a tactical play and escape the cover of a rival.

“In this case, that rival is LMAX Exchange which was 'covering' our tacks. This is a technique which boats will use if they are ahead of a competitor, they will tack each time the boat behind tacks when beating upwind and it means that both boats will always be in the same wind conditions and therefore there are limited opportunities for the boat behind to get ahead. The timing of our entry into Stealth Mode will hopefully enable us to escape the cover of LMAX Exchange and put ourselves in a good position for the run down to Tasmania.”

With eleven of the teams now through the Ocean Sprint course, LMAX Exchange has recorded the fastest elapsed time and pending verification by the Race Office will be awarded two extra points upon arrival in Sydney.

The elapsed times for the Race 4 Ocean Sprint are as follows:
37 hours 47 minutes: LMAX Exchange
37 hours 54 minutes: Garmin
38 hours 19 minutes: GREAT Britain
39 hours 27 minutes:Mission Performance
41 hours 17 minutes: Visit Seattle
47 hours 28 minutes: Qingdao
48 hours 18 minutes: IchorCoal
48 hours 57 minutes: Unicef
50 hours 08 minutes:Derry~Londonderry~Doire (late declaration)
No declaration (no start photo taken): Da Nang – Viet Nam
No declaration given: ClipperTelemed+

PSP Logistics
started at 2346 UTC on 3 December so its time in the sprint has exceeded 48 hours and therefore it will not be challenging LMAX Exchange’s time of 37 hours 47 minutes. Skipper Max Stunell admits this race has been frustrating for the PSP Logistics team: “Distance from Albany as the crow flies is just under 700 nautical miles, distance we have covered so far is 950 nautical miles. Basically we are just treading water until we get a favourable wind angle, i.e. anything that is not coming from vaguely the direction we want to go.

“Over the next 24 hours we expect a low pressure system to pass over us meaning strong headwinds and larger seas. As it passes we should then experience a period of light variable winds and it should hopefully fill in from behind us. Then it will be a case of who puts up the biggest sails and doesn't break the most that will decide the places.”

As the teams continue to battle the headwinds and look forward to rounding the southern tip of Tasmania, in the hope that more favourable winds await for their final passage towards Sydney, stay tuned to the Race Viewer, where Garmin’s next position will also be shown at 0000 UTC on 7 December.

DON’T MISS: Your chance to win a limited edition watch as worn by the Clipper Race Skippers in their global endurance challenge in this race’s Elliot Brown Timekeeper Cup Competition.

All positions correct as of 1000 UTC.

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