The first Sunday back at sea was no day of rest for the Clipper Race fleet, though it has certainly been more enjoyable than the preceding week’s unpredictability and harsh, contrasting wind conditions. Day 7 brought far more consistently strong winds of between 30 to 40 knots, allowing most of the fleet to pick up some excellent cruising and surfing speeds.
GREAT Britain skipper Simon Talbot commented: “Well what a fantastic 24 hours sailing, the wind gradually built during the day yesterday, bringing our average boat speed and maximum surfing speed up along the way.
“On a human level, the crew seem to be really enjoying these conditions, I think the baptism of fire from a couple of days ago has served them well and they are now able to see some of the beauty of the conditions and actually step back enough to see just how special this experience really is.”
Henri Lloyd skipper Eric Holden echoed these sentiments, adding: “The team are loving these conditions and doing everything I could ask of them. I don't know how we can be labelled an amateur team any longer, considering all we have been through together and how they have risen to every challenge. Many top sailors will have gone their whole careers and never experienced conditions like these.”
A potentially nail-biting battle is now on to reach the first bonus point opportunity, the Scoring Gate which stands between 40 degrees south, 55 degrees east and 45 degrees south and 55 degrees east. It is not compulsory but the first three yachts through the gate will be awarded 3, 2 and 1 points respectively, which can make a significant difference in the overall race standings. Whilst there is no current change at the top of the leaderboard, GREAT Britain has now joined right behind the front three and will be looking to challenge for the points.
At 1200 UTC, Qingdao lead the fleet (3138.8 miles to finish) and are under 200 miles away from the Scoring Gate. Henri Lloyd are in second place (3217.8) and OneDLL (3243) remain third, with GREAT Britain chasing hard, less than 20 miles behind them.
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