Today's message from Jersey Clipper says it all: <I>"The wind built and veered today, and we have 20-30 knots from the WSW now, so are reaching under yankee No. 2, reefed main and staysail. Lots of squalls and very good fun!"</I>
After a sporting pause whilst they passed through a ridge of low pressure, the Jersey team are now well and truly off again and have snatched back any gains made by the others. It is now the turn of the rest of the Clipper 2002 Race fleet to stall once more as they struggle to do better than half Jersey's average speed.
Glasgow Clipper, skippered by Rupert PARKHOUSE, has faired particularly badly; sailing 53 miles in the last 12 hours compared to Jersey's run of 109.
However, in the short term things will get better for them all as they head further north and one after the other they will pop out into the stronger winds. The advantage therefore will go to the leaders first, a classic case of the rich getting richer.
By now Hong Kong Clipper should already be there and Bristol is likely to be next, though with typical thoroughness, skipper Richard Butler comments that they need to make sure this happens to retain their lead over Liverpool and Glasgow.
With only 12 miles between them, the next 24 hours could be crucial for the Scousers and the Scots and both will be keen to grasp any possible advantage. Though a further 18 miles back, Cape Town Clipper's position nearly 200 miles to the southwest puts them in potentially different conditions, which could work in their favour. There is still a long way to go, which is keeping the competition in the middle of the fleet very intense.
There will also be some serious competition towards the back of the fleet. New York Clipper are determined to keep racing, despite their planned stop in Bermuda to take on extra fuel and water. With old rivals London Clipper alongside, who have also suffered engineering problems, the New Yorkers will have much to spur them on to their namesake port.
After their refuelling pitstop in Bermuda, these boats will then both officially resume racing and have their own private Bermuda to New York race, a first on the Clipper route. Though unlikely to affect the overall points, this will provide the two boats with a focus that would be missing if they were purely passage making. They are expected to arrive in Bermuda in the early hours of Thursday, 21 August and will plan to leave again as soon as they have refuelled.
Clipper 2002 -Race 14 Positions
||Distance To Finish (Nautical Miles)