They are back into fourth position this morning after tantalising us with a glimpse at third at the 15:00 sched yesterday, fantastic progress from the team who took the chances and headed west early on.
The skipper of Cape Town Clipper, Roger STEVEN-JENNINGS, reports however that they are still negotiating swirling winds and strange weather patterns. "The weather here is hot and not playing ball. The wind at the moment is from the SE F2. Yesterday the wind was from the NNW. I have scanned the weather forecasts and it is not the East to Northeast that was forecast - which is what I want. I would also like a bit more than the five knots true we are getting at the moment - nag nag, moan moan."
It doesn't look like it is doing them too much harm though as their Westerly course leads them towards New York and towards the currents that lie along the coast. Yet again, this race looks as though it is going to be a thriller until the bitter end.
Whilst Cape Town sail their own race out west, the rest of the fleet are trying desperately to catch Jersey Clipper who seem to be thoroughly milking the opposition. Simon ROWELL and his crew are in new wind and are using every knot of it to their advantage. Sailing in light ENE to ESE breeze of around 8 knots during the day, the wind picked up for the Jersey boat overnight. Reports of "Beam reaching with the mediumweight up on a glorious night smattered under small puffy cumulous and a very nearly full moon,"
depict the wonderful sailing they are experiencing.
Richard BUTLER and his Bristol crew are taking a very positive attitude towards the fleet positions. In his daily report home, Richard told us how he sees the spread of the fleet: "The midday sched had a mixture of good and bad news. Firstly, we actually did 8 miles better than Honkers. However, most of the others did a bit better than us, and so we have slipped from 3rd to 6th place. However, there isn't much in it! Jersey gained another 50 miles. We are going to pick up some wind, they are going to stop and we are going to win this race. However, looking at the weather faxes, I've no idea where this wind will come from nor where Jersey are getting theirs from."
Frustrating conditions for the Bristol team, who know that every point in the closing stages of the race is going to count.
The rest of the fleet seem to be slowly coming together at the eastern end of the pack with second placed Hong Kong Clipper being the only other boat 'out on their own' at the moment.
Liverpool Clipper won the fight with Bristol yesterday and managed to squeeze away from them after days of close competition and take the place on the podium in third - for now. It is a close run battle in the middle of the leaderboard with only 12 miles separating third places Liverpool and sixth placed Glasgow Clipper. With over 1,800 miles to go, these positions will change and change again.
At the back of the fleet, Duty boat, London Clipper has picked up the pace slightly too. Having the second highest run of the fleet over the past 24 hours the Cockney Clipper reported sailing in a pleasant ESE 8 knots of breeze. Being the most easterly boat in the fleet, Rory added that "It's beginning to feel a bit lonely out east - if any of the others want to come and join us they should feel free!"
Not an invitation I think we will see Cape Town taking up, but New York look as though they might try to catch your wake Rory.
Throughout the fleet, the sailing is proving tough but enjoyable. The stars are out in full glory at night and during the day the sun beats down while a gentle breeze helps to cool life down below. It is these moments that, as the race sails into its final stages, the crew will cling onto for months even years to come.
As the rest of the fleet get ready to "Tie the Knot" over the course of the day, the Round the Worlders of the fleet really will become so. Crossing their outward paths is an amazing moment, which signifies that the fleet truly has sailed around the world. Knowing that you are in waters that are bringing you home holds many thoughts and emotions for the crew, but for all marks the achievement of something amazing and the lifetime membership to a truly exclusive Club. CONGRATULATIONS!
Clipper 2002 - Race 14 Positions
||Distance to Finish (nautical miles)