The sun is shining and life at sea has been brighter and steadier, however a powerful incoming front, likely the strongest experienced so far in this race with gusts forecast to reach 80 knots, will soon put drastic change to this idyllic scene.
PSP Logistics Skipper Max Stunell, in tenth place, warns: “The next 36 hours are going to be tough. A strong front is moving across us and we are expecting some very gusty conditions. We have taken some precautions and luckily the past 24 hours has been smooth so everyone has rested.
“When it gets rough the conditions down below, especially in the galley, are akin to being on a roller coaster with jolts to the left and right and elements of free fall chucked in.”
In preparation for the storm’s arrival this evening, many teams have been taking the opportunity to rest in the currently steady conditions and are preparing meals in advance, as well as making extra boat maintenance and sail checks.
At the front of the race, LMAX Exchange, Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Qingdao have all now started the Ocean Sprint phase of the race course. With two bonus points on offer for the team which completes the 90 to 95 degree east course in the fastest time, it is all to play for.
Bob Beggs, Qingdao Skipper explains the tactical complexity of the Ocean Sprint, which he says poses the questions: “Do you (a) abandon your race strategy to square off across the start and finish line to cover the shortest possible distance in the fastest possible time? Or (b) continue with your overall race strategy to get to Albany before the competition? Either way the Ocean Sprint can be a bit of a lottery as those behind may have much better wind conditions when they start. Choices, choices…”
LMAX Exchange is expected to complete the Ocean Sprint this evening. Fourth placed GREAT Britain and fifth place Garmin will be next to cross the start line later today, still just 7 nautical miles apart.
Ocean Sprint completion times will be announced on the race’s Facebook and Twitter pages as we get them. Also stay tuned to the Race Viewer to find out what the storm brings.
Race standings are current as of 0900UTC.