After hardly putting a foot wrong on this tricky race from Panama to Galapagos, Jersey sailed an inspired route and achieved a very fast passage to the equatorial Islands to take their second consecutive win.
Despite the threat of the wind tailing off they continued to make good speed on their approach to the finishing line, which they crossed at 00:19 UTC on Friday, 3 January
Simon Rowell is rarely without his trademark grin. Even on occasions when things didn't go to plan whilst skippering on the second half of last Clipper race, his grin was always to be relied upon. Those who know Simon do not need a photograph to say that his present grin is one enormous open-mouthed smile, stretching from ear to ear!
Simon took over command of Jersey Clipper in Cuba at the beginning of December 2002 and made an impressive start, clinching victory for the Channel Islanders on the race from Cuba to Panama. This latest race into Galapagos, the fourth in the Clipper 2002 series, sees Jersey as popular winners - AGAIN!
The scrap for 2nd place went all the way to the finish. The wind held and London Clipper, skippered by Ed Green, finished at 02:22 UTC closely followed by New York who took third place at 02:47 UTC - just twenty five minutes behind the Londoners after some 895 nautical miles of racing.
London Clipper now has 3 podium places out of 4 finishes and this result is just the tonic New York Clipper, helmed by Samantha Fuller, needed after finishing at both extremes of the fleet in the previous two races.
Tactics certainly paid off for the three leading Clipper yachts by heading south and not just taking the shortest, most direct route. Indeed this has been an excellent run by these three, beating all predictions and surprising everyone in the Galapagos Islands who thought they were arriving on Sunday. At daylight they will meet Clipper's old friend, our agent, Ricardo Arenas, who has hosted previous races so well.
Now all eyes turn to those still racing to see how the other five Clippers will do on their charge to Isla Santa Cruz in the Galapagos Islands. The remaining 5 boats are heading for Gate Darwin, but they still have 200 miles to get there and a further 75-mile run to the finish.
Richard Butler aboard Bristol Clipper is now duty skipper and reports that the wind is light and fluky, with an annoying swell from the South killing any speed. Liverpool reports 40 hours of continuous rain, so probably best no to mention the UK weather.
All the boats are spread over a wide front and only separated by 40 miles on a 'distance to finish' basis. There are wide fluctuations in places as the fortunes swing one way or another. Bristol Clipper has clawed back places well after dropping right back and poor Rupert Parkhouse in Glasgow Clipper has dropped from what seemed a comfortable margin in fourth - he will not wish to remember his decision to leave the others and it's probably best not to mention this either!