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13 November 2005, 02:58 pm
The Gap Widens
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Clipper Round The World Yacht Race 2005 - 2006

Conditions at 0400 this morning, clearly showing adverse winds ahead.The rich get richer whilst the poor get poorer is an expression often used in ocean racing, and is aptly demonstrated today. The lead boats have reached a stronger band of following winds and have accelerated dramatically, whilst those at the back of the fleet continue to languish in light and variable winds.

The net effect of this is to seriously stretch out the distances between the fleet with the difference between first and last now more than 200 miles, or over a days sailing.

So, is that now set for the rest of the race? Well, the good news for those at the back is that the wind is due to fill in and should soon be giving them the same conditions as those at the front (New York reported 17.4 knots of boat speed earlier today). There is also a small possibility that the boats at the front, most particularly WA, may slow down again as further up ahead the wind is actually blowing from the north east, with a variable area of light winds where the two airflows meet. If they are too quick they may become the victims of their own success and end up sailing into lighter winds or even into headwinds. I have to say though that this is pretty unlikely. At 0400 this morning the boarder into adverse winds was still 160 miles to the east of them, or a day and a half's sailing if present speeds continue. Luckily for them (and actually for everyone else as well) the band of wind they are currently experiencing is forecast to spread on up the coast and should expand with them. One could almost say that at the moment WA really do carry their own patch of favorable wind!

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