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17 October 2005, 11:03 am
Westernaustralia Consolidates Lead
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Clipper Round the World Yacht Race 2005-2006

Although it is always dangerous to count your chickens before they have hatched, looking at this morning's positions David PRYCE and the crew on Westernaustralia must be feeling they have got themselves into a very strong position at the head of the fleet as the approach the finish of race two of leg one of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Conor FOGERTY and the crew on Cardiff are not that far behind in distance, 17 miles is not much when one has just sailed over 3,000 miles, but the crucial thing is that those 17 miles are directly behind WA meaning they will have to almost sail 'through' them to overtake. The same goes for New York a little further back. Third placed Liverpool are slightly inshore and so may benefit from slightly different conditions, but WA will be edging in that direction as well as they ready themselves to round the corner of the promontory that is Salvador. The finish line is close inshore so in the remaining 17 hours or so it will be very difficult for anyone to sneak past on the inside.

At present then the real battle is for fourth place with Durban almost neck and neck with New York, but just over 18 miles further out to sea. At current speeds, the four miles separating them in distance to go is just under half an hour's sailing time and with approximately 22 hours or so still to go, anything could happen.

About 20 miles further back, Singapore and Jersey are in a similar relative position though the distance between them is slightly greater, both in DTG and geographical separation. The main news is that Jersey has been the latest to suffer from the forestay problem highlighted yesterday, and so although skipper Mark TAYLOR and his crew dealt with it quickly and efficiently, they have lost some time. It remains to be seen whether this will continue to be detrimental or whether they have been able to get back up to speed quickly enough to give Singapore a run for their money.

Victoria have a fairly clear field for eighth place which considering their delayed start is a real achievement and something for skipper Ewan HIND and his crew to be justly proud of. Their ally was the ITCZ and ironically their late arrival into the doldrums gave them a faster passage through the zone than the boats ahead. They efficiently planning the next few days and have already issued the following invitation to, 'a sundowners party for all Clipper sailors, families and associated ragamuffins. Intended date Sunday. Exact time and venue TBC in Salvador. Dress code - Tropical.'

This shows the wonderful onshore camaraderie of the fleet, but even on the water the spirit of sportsmanship amongst the boats is huge, something wonderfully summed up by the following message from Durban skipper Craig MILLAR to the Cardiff crew who overtook them during a particularly calm patch in the ITCZ.

'To Cardiff Clipper. Congratulations on your excellent form of late. Yesterday you arrived in the same windless and glassy patch of water and in sight of us and still managed to go past us at a good pace and put a further 18nm into us. This is indeed an extraordinary feat of seamanship. Well sailed. Craig and crew of Durban.'

This sense of camaraderie will be very much present when Qingdao with their fluffy Panda mascot, and the kilt wearing Scots cross the finish line in about 36 hours time. The consolation for coming in at the back of the fleet is the strength of the welcome from the other boats. All we need to do now is to challenge any resident Salvadorean campanologists to salute Glasgow's arrival from the numerous local churches in response to the inevitable sound of the pipes that will herald their arrival.

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Westernaustralia:© Clipper Ventures Plc
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