Despite having raced close to 3,000 nautical miles across the South Atlantic Ocean, most positions remain up for grabs in the final days of Race 2: Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms, with little separating the bulk of the fleet.
The tight battle at the top between Greenings and Dare To Lead continues. Whilst the latest position report has Greenings in first place, the margin remains less than three nautical miles.
Dare To Lead is yet to drop out of the top three so far in this race, but the loss of the Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker) for the homeward stretch continues to worry Skipper Dale Smyth, who reports: “We have been making decent progress but have been seriously hampered by not having our Code 3 available, as the wind has been upper Code 3 conditions and we are forced to sail under Yankee which is significantly slower.
“We have a ridge of high pressure that will pass over the fleet between now and Cape Town so that will slow us quite a lot before the final north-westerly to take us home.”
Garmin, in third, also continues to battle its own problems in the final stretch to the Finish Line in South Africa. The team, which has dropped back to be almost 39 nautical miles off the pace, is balancing racing hard with boat preservation, as Skipper Gaëtan Thomas explains: “We still on the edge of flying the spinnaker, but nasty gusts and our rudder issue would make the task very critical. So, it is frustrating not to sail 100%, but if we broke something we might lose even more.”
Liverpool 2018 emerged from Stealth Mode at 0600 UTC this morning in fourth place, around 26 nautical miles off Garmin. But the team failed to make significant ground on the chasing pack, led by fifth placed Visit Seattle.
The bulk of the fleet is racing in a tight bunch, with just 33 nautical miles separating fourth from eighth. Sanya Serenity Coast dropped from fourth to sixth overnight, but is neck and neck with Visit Seattle. Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck comments: “I can’t believe how close most of the fleet is still. We have one little pesky light patch to negotiate, so anything can happen, must be nail biting to watch from home.
“We passed a big mile stone yesterday. Our log reset itself, which means we have sailed 10,000 nautical miles since leaving Liverpool.”
Nasdaq is just seven nautical miles behind in seventh after overtaking Qingdao, who experienced a ‘kitemare’, as Skipper Chris Kobusch explains: “The Code 2 (mediumweight spinnaker) wrapped around the forestay three times, and around the inner forestay once as well. Thanks to the joined forces of both watches, and Andy Krapf climbing up the rig, we managed to get the spinnaker down without any mayor damage and all we lost is some time and mileage.
“We regrouped quickly and are now well under way again with the kite up and a beautiful sunny day ahead.”
Little also separates HotelPlanner.com and GREAT Britain on the leader board, with the teams in ninth and tenth respectively. But while the former remains on the rhumb line, GREAT Britain Skipper Andy Burns is persisting with the southerly tactic, explaining: “The southerly approach into the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint was our best opportunity to get through there as fast as we could. We have no idea on the other timings but considering a slight wind shift and drop 200 miles into the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, I think we did ok.”
The results of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint will be revealed after the remaining two boats, Unicef and PSP Logistics complete the sprint. Whilst PSP Logistics is still some days away from beginning its Ocean Sprint, Unicef is approaching the eastern gate, on the back of a band of strong north-northwest to northwest gusts of up to 50 knots.
That ridge of high pressure will also impact the boats to the east as they approach Cape Town. For an idea of when the fleet is expected to cross the Finish Line, please see the Estimate Arrivals Time on the Clipper Race website.
You can follow Clipper Race Viewer to stay up to date on the fleet's progress. All positions were correct at time of writing.
Want to catch up on the action and news from life on board during Race 2? Then read the Skipper Reports and Crew Blogs, which are all available on the Clipper Race Team Pages.
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