As the fleet continue to fight the challenging fickle, light winds and continuous unpredictable squally conditions in the ever rising temperatures in the Solomon Sea, positions on the leaderboard remain a juggling act as Old Pulteney have pulled away from the pack determined to win its sponsored titled race - Race 8 the Old Pulteney Navigator Cup.
After Jamaica Get All Right made a spectacular comeback yesterday placing it in first place until Derry~Londonderry~Doire clawed back the lead, the Jamaican entry has now slipped back into eighth place. However, headline grabbing Old Pulteney look set to give the fleet a tough time during the 4,500 mile race to Singapore after the teams tactical sail plan and resolute focus has seen the team climb into second place.
Out of all the races to be won Old Pulteney know that it is not just points at risk but also the teams pride as Race 8 - Old Pulteney Navigator Cup remains anyone’s for the taking. Skipper of Old Pulteney, Patrick Van Zijden describes the unsettled and challenging conditions his team has had to contend with in the last 24 hours.
“This part of Race 8 is very tactical, with literally a lot of tacking involved. Making sure we are on the best tack towards the way point and dodging squalls. Particularly this morning we encountered some large squalls with 40 knots of gusty wind to welcome to and eye blurring rain. Quick reefing or dropping the Yankee kept us in the right sailing mode; on the other hand this squall gave us a beautiful lift towards our way point.”
There were also several encounters of the close kind for the fleet with Mission Performance narrowly managing to dodge a kamikaze cargo ship, while Team Garmin successfully rounded a half-submerged uncharted wreck in the ‘lost world’ that is the Soloman Sea.
Skipper of Team Garmin, Mark Burkes describes the challenges of the head current, and the continuous change in wind direction as his team try to make progress to the Vitiaz waypoint.
“Trying to choose our tack based on current and forecast changes in wind angle now fills my day and I am constantly torn between taking a good Velocity Made Good (VMG) now and re-crossing current in the middle of the race track, re-joining the back of the southern group, or persisting north on Henri Lloyd's track in the hope that a better approach to the Vitiaz Strait will result.”
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