Conditions settle as Clipper fleet prepares for the Wardan Whip

The worst of the storm is over with wind and sea state reducing overnight, and the teams are making some progress east at the start of the Wardan Whip race.

The gusty conditions, big waves and swell yesterday made life very difficult, but the seasickness amongst crews is also starting to dissipate, and sails/more canvas has gone back up.

LMAX Exchange is currently in first position, with Qingdao in second and Garmin in third as of 0900UTC.

Darren Ladd, Skipper of seventh-placed IchorCoal, said: “The good ship IchorCoal is finally heading east. The conditions so far have been somewhat challenging with winds varying from 0 – 50 knots in about 30 minutes, which makes sail selection tricky, and sail changes action packed. One minute bobbing in a sloppy residual sea, the next taking greenies over the top.”

The next dilemma is where to head as the high pressure cell slips around the bottom of Africa into the Indian Ocean. This will bring lighter winds, and the trick now is to minimise the time spent in them. This is, in many ways, more difficult than going quickly in strong winds, and it is likely that the teams will take some very different routes.

Peter Thornton, Skipper of fourth-placed GREAT Britain, described the last 24 hours.

“In the morning of 1 November we found ourselves in a strong position before getting slapped very substantially with the southerlies which came on hard and fast storm force 10 gusting violent 11 for a time – having to run with it to fully reef the mainsail and get sails down before trying to head up into it. The crew did well – albeit a little wide eyed.

“The wind was up and down, not quite round and round but it felt like it sometimes. After a few halyard krypton factor challenges in a rainy gale yesterday while trying to hoist the storm jib, we had a good recheck of things to try and avoid delays and mishaps – especially troublesome at night!

“So we set about tacking our way towards Australia and monitoring our closest competition – Garmin! It now seems strange to write that other than annoying wind shifts (especially I might add relatively recently which has seen a big change in advantage,” Peter added.

– Clipper Ventures

NOTE: The Wardan Whip is another name for the Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride:

Wardan means ‘ocean’ in Noongar, a dialect spoken by the Noongar people, traditional land owners of the south west Australia region; and the City of Albany naming competition winner Lisa Gwynn picked it due to the strong southerly winds anticipated on the race. Also known as the Southern Ocean Sleigh Ride, the exhilarating conditions will be some of the most testing of the circumnavigation. The fleet encountered two hurricanes and gusting winds of up to 100 knots during the 2013-14 edition.

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