At last night's sched Bristol Clipper were rejoicing as they had finally managed to catch up with and overtake Liverpool. Since then however, it has been all change again! We now have a new leader, in the shape of Hong Kong Clipper.
Having sat consistently mid-fleet throughout the race, Justin Taylor and his crew finally pounced on the top spot, reeling in just over 5 miles to overtake both Liverpool and Bristol. Richard Butler and his Bristolian crew are bitterly disappointed, but as they proved last night by clawing back miles on Liverpool, they are not willing to let their favourite first position go too easily.
The winds have lightened considerable overnight and this is illustrated by the dramatically lower daily runs. Bristol Skipper Richard Butler reported that the crew were a little low after a disappointing sched, and thought that Hong Kong Clipper had managed to escape into different winds and different weather. He did also report that the wind was slowly filling back in where they were sailing so all is not lost… but there was a certainly an element of "where did they come from?"
The rest of the fleet has had its fair share of excitement too. Jersey Clipper utilised the lighter winds taking the opportunity to dive overboard to look at their prop they were sure had been fouled by something. Sure enough they discovered that it had a large amount of fishing net wrapped around the prop along with the remains of the mediumweight spinnakers leech line. With this now cleared and feathering properly once more, Simon and his crew will be ready to take back some of the previously lost miles.
Glasgow Clipper has had a surprise visit over the weekend. Not from the usual dolphins though, a different form of wildlife completely - Cape Town Clipper. Cape Town has suffered from steering gear failure. Cape Town ceased racing in order for the fleet spare steering cable to be passed from Glasgow Clipper whom they had turned arranged a rendezvous with. This is a huge blow to Roger and his crew who had managed to stay mid fleet and were looking to get their highest finishing place to date.
Finally, New York and London. Having separated after their Indian Ocean tango together, both boats are doing well. New York has remained in fourth position and has a strong placing in the middle of the pack as they track west towards Rodriguez Island. London Clipper have taken heed of Hong Kong's sudden burst of speed and once more made a strong move to stay established as the fleet's northern most boat; although this does not look great on the 'Distance To Go,' Rory is determined to stay in the North. Will this finally pay off for him in the coming days?
The wind is now blowing a South-South Easterly 10 knots and Justin on board Hong Kong reports that 'nursing boat speed' is the key to this part of the race. Close hauled with his Genoa it certainly seems to be working as they have shot ahead, but once more we get the feeling that it would all change again, a mere 30 miles separating the fleet and a tense 600 miles to go, this is going to be an exciting week!
Clipper 2002 - Race 11 Positions
||Distance to Finish (nautical miles)