<I>"Aha, we've just seen our old comrades Liverpool Clipper due west on the horizon. Heavyweight up, I think..." </I>So wrote Glasgow Skipper Rupert PARKHOUSE last night.
It is remarkable that in a race that has seen a split in the fleet since leaving Salvador, there are now two boats in sight of each other.
Fortunes seem to seesaw with every sched at the moment. After blasting along in clear air yesterday, Jersey Clipper has slowed right up today and is sailing well to the west of where the crew want to go; whilst those behind are eating up the gap having surged free from the grip of the low pressure ridge that had acted as a hurdle for the whole fleet.
Only Cape Town Clipper off to the west seems to remain affected, with the slowest day's run of 92 miles.
The big news weather wise is that the wind has been steadily heading the fleet, hence Jersey's less than ideal course. As the wind has come around, so spinnakers have come further forward, peeled to the flatter heavyweights, and eventually replaced completely by genoas or jib and staysail.
Once again the debate over which combination is faster will be raging. Glasgow Clipper will be at a small disadvantage as their wind instruments snapped and fell off the top of the mast yesterday. This was not caused by force of wind but from the recoil of a snapping spinnaker halyard, which snaked back and neatly decapitated the wind wand. Luckily the sail was fine as the Glasgow crew were sailing with doubled up halyards for just such an eventuality. Experience pays dividends!
Two boats have commented on the amount of rubbish they have seen floating - a sad statement about the state of our oceans. Jersey Clipper actually diverted towards a large UFO (unidentified floating object) only to find that it was a large piece of polystyrene. This has to be one of the least biodegradable items of man's flotsam and jetsam and seemingly no part of the ocean is sacrosanct.
The New York and London teams continue to motor sail towards Bermuda. After the breeze slowly died, New York Clipper had to take the sensible but unwelcome decision to stop racing and motor with rival London to make best speed towards Bermuda, where they will have a quick refuelling pitstop before racing on to their destination of New York.
The race office team now await the fleet's arrival from their stopover base at the famed Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum. On arrival in New York, the eight Clippers will berth alongside the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid - one of the most successful ships in U.S. history.
Clipper 2002 -Race 14 Positions
||Dist To Finish (Nautical Miles)
" New York and London are showing distance to Bermuda