This morning's surprise was not where the eight Clipper yachts were, nor the miles that they had covered. It was to see that the schedule details came in from Jersey Clipper instead of Hong Kong Clipper.
There is, despite fierce rivalry when racing, a camaraderie amongst the skippers and crew of each Clipper in the fleet and skipper Simon had volunteered to help out whilst Justin helped his crew sort out their boat after what sounds like a pretty 'interesting' night's racing.
At the time of the radio sched, the crew of Hong Kong Clipper were not eagerly waiting by the nav station to hear the positions, but were wrestling with a spinnaker wrap on deck instead. The squally nights continue. The extent of damage to the kite is not known, if indeed there is any, but I am sure Justin will let us know soon.
It might be suggested that Simon felt certain sympathy towards Justin's cause as he has now completed days of sail repair. "Bearing away with every gust and squall," the crew are learning to be extra cautious with their now fragile spinnaker. "We only have enough spi material left to patch a very small hole in my shorts," illustrates how keen Simon is to keep his kites intact all the way to Mauritius.
With well under a thousand miles to go, the end of Race 11 is well and truly in sight for the fleet but the pennants are still all to play for. Today's fleet positions may not have changed greatly (the only change being the swapping of positions between London and Glasgow), but the fleet is starting to manoeuvre into their positions for the final run into Port Louis.
Jersey Clipper has continued her dive South of the fleet. One reason for this could be because Simon has been keen to keep apparent winds low on the sails, but of course, there is the weather and approach to Mauritius to watch too; perhaps Mr. Rowell has a secret plan?
The racecourse does not specify which way they have to go round the island of Mauritius. All they are required to do is cross the line just off the harbour entrance. It is unlikely, but just possible, we could see someone take a punt and go the longer way round the south in the hope of avoiding adverse currents in the north.
Bristol and Liverpool Clipper have broken free of the main pack and are racing alone together. The Scousers are holding their own with just over a four-mile lead over the Bristolians, but they will be chasing as hard and fast as they can keen to reclaim the top spot that they held for so long across the Indian Ocean.
Further North the rest of the fleet has bunched up and the racing is close. New York, Cape Town, Hong Kong and Glasgow Clipper are fighting it out in the middle. Hong Kong Clipper, despite its sail damage, is doing well. They have logged the lowest daily run of 208 miles, but this is still a good run. Glasgow Clipper and New York Clipper deserve the prize for daily runs this morning however, logging 216 and 215 miles respectively. This has pulled them back into the picture.
London Clipper remain by their post in the North, determined to keep their Northerly position. With only 25 miles separating the whole fleet, this race is certainly hotting up.
Clipper 2002 - Race 11 Positions
||Distance to Finish (nautical miles)