Clipper 09-10 Race 2: La Rochelle – Rio de Janeiro Day 14

* California and Uniquely Singapore grateful to be moving again
* Team Finland's skipper proud of his crew's performance
* Doldrums loom ahead as teams plan their route across

With the fleet now clear of the Canary Islands, all of the teams are enjoying nice north easterly winds, allowing them to make good progress towards Rio.

Having been stuck in a wind hole for what seems like days, California's skipper Pete Rollason is pleased to get moving once more. “At last the wind has started to fill in and we are making reasonable progress
towards the scoring gate to collect the last bonus point and start the totally focused charge towards Rio,” says Pete. “Hopefully sailing in a different weather pattern to our competitors will allow us to make some
good gains over the coming days. We're totally motivated and ready to chase hard.”

His thoughts are echoed by Uniquely Singapore's skipper, Jim Dobie, whose team has also had a run of bad luck through the Canaries. “It's nice to hear the guys once again calling out speeds of 9 and 10 knots,” he says. “It has felt like a long time since we could get UniquelySingapore moving at any reasonable speed.

“Once again we are heading out west, keeping a very good eye on the leaders as they approach the Doldrums and trying to pore over the detail of all the weather info we have to pick our route. If we do this
right…the race is far from over,” Jim says.

The consistent downwind conditions are enabling the non-professional crews taking part in Clipper 09-10 to perfect their helming and sail trimming skills. At the front of the fleet and reflecting on his crew's
performance, Team Finland's skipper, Eero Lehtinen says, “The number of gybes we have performed so far must be getting close to a hundred and spinnaker drops – even unplanned ones – have also been numerous.

Yesterday our port spinnaker sheet/guy came off whilst in the middle of a two-pole gybe. The crew handled it fantastically well as they managed to catch the free flying clew behind the main, connect it to an available tail of a sheet, pull it through the letter box (gap between main sail and boom) whilst lowering the halyard. The sail was undamaged, got quickly packed into a launching sock and was flying again in less than 15 minutes.”

As Team Finland and the rest of the fleet head further south the wind pressure will begin to drop as they enter the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ICTZ), an area of light to zero wind commonly known as the
Doldrums. The current forecast indicates the Doldrums are situated approximately 300 – 400 nautical miles south of the lead boats, allowing the teams at the back of the fleet time to regain some of the miles they have lost.

Eero says, “The Doldrums are looking rather messy and wide in the latest weather files, so it will be interesting to see how this unfolds for each one of us. Stealth modes will be in busy use and the whole sail wardrobe will be getting some fresh air as we battle through the sailor's nightmare zone.”

Joff Bailey, Race Director, says “The Doldrums can really mix up the leader board as teams that are only a couple of miles apart can experience significantly different wind strengths. The general idea is
to cross the area of light winds as far west as possible, as the zone is thinner the further west you go. Although there could be a price to pay for this as once on the other side, the teams may find themselves
fighting headwinds to keep clear of the Brazilian coast.”

Positions at 1200 GMT, Monday 5 October

Boat DTF* DTL*
Team Finland 2577nm 0nm
Cork 2680nm 102nm
Spirit of Australia 2703bn 126nm
Cape Breton Island 2744nm 167nm
Jamaica Lightning Bolt 2773nm 196nm
Hull & Humber 2798nm 221nm
Qingdao 2823nm 246nm
Edinburgh Inspiring Capital 2854nm 277nm
Uniquely Singapore 2922nm 344nm
 California 3244nm 667nm

(*DTF = Distance To Finish, *DTL = Distance To Leader)

 Full details of positions, updated every three hours can be found at

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