First the good news. The six Clipper yachts chasing Jersey and Bristol have all done relatively well over the last 24 hours of light winds. Liverpool Clipper has shone with the best score of 169 miles which has moved her up two places into fourth position and a 95 miles gain on the leaders. Even so this is only 6 knots average speed and with some boats with over 800 miles to run it is obvious that many boats will not arrive until the end of the week. The race arrangements will inevitably have to be adjusted to take this into account.
Jersey and Bristol will not look back kindly on Saturday 15th September as they have both been frustrated by the light winds which have reduced their speed to that of a pregnant turtle going up hill with a shopping trolley. They have both covered around 70 miles with Bristol opening out to the north; Bob Beggs could see little chance of sailing through Jersey by following in her wake. The fate of the golden boys out in front has been viewed with a great deal of sympathy and understanding by the chasing fleet behind (true/false). Well gone is any idea that this dynamic duo might make a triumphant arrival in time to eat and drink everyone else's share at the big crew reception on Tuesday night. At best they will now get in late on Wednesday but they the high pressure looks set to dog them for some time yet.
Glasgow's optimistic prediction came good and they had a faster run along their northern route and moved up but as everyone benefited from the light SE wind they only gained one place - importantly for them this is their rival Leeds Clipper. Less than 40 miles separate all the boats in the second half of the feet and so there will be many more changes. London is having to guard their third place overall in the race and Liverpool, Plymouth and Portsmouth are all trying to fit into fourth place. All the crews in the fleet are racing hard with a purpose and their Herculean efforts will not be in vain, even if the race becomes more drawn out.
The progress of the fleet has not altered the first programme in Jersey which is a sailing regatta in the Clipper Reflex 38 fleet which is presently visiting the island. Yesterday, in perfect sailing conditions, the 38s charged around St Aubins' Bay with a variety of crews who had chartered the boats. Many of the companies taking part in the weekend regatta are shareholders in the 'Jersey Clipper' campaign which is a most efficient and well run group that have been backing the island's spirited involvement in The Times Clipper 2000.
The main reception on Tuesday night (previously called The Crew Party!) will continue as planned as this involves a large number of guests in addition to the Clipper crews - who have elected to be at sea for the event. The organisers are taking the situation in their stride and being a seafaring island this is not the first time they have known programmes to change for sailing races. For those families and supporters planning on coming over the late arrival will inevitably influence plans but rest assured there a great welcome awaits in this friendly island. The local radio station keeps everyone informed of the race progress and the local paper has an eight page supplement in addition to special features on Paul De La Haye - the cardboard cut out of Paul comes later in the week!!
The arrangements in Portsmouth will be reviewed in the immediate future and changes published as soon as possible. At present the chances must be against the boats being able to make their Friday arrival in Portsmouth. The picture will become clearer with time and a new plan issued.
Race 15 from New Jersey to Jersey
Positions 03:00 (GMT) 15/09/01
Pos - Yacht - Distance to Finish
1. Jersey - 661
2. Bristol - 669
3. London - 769
4. Liverpool 774
5. Plymouth - 791
6. Portsmouth - 807
7. Glasgow - 810
8. Leeds - 828