With the Clipper 2002 fleet now back in the northern hemisphere, the relative positions continue to change on Race 14 of the series, however the courses that the teams have been following seem much more settled.
A day or so ago, some of the eight yachts were going west whilst others were heading north, with the different outcomes providing great interest for the armchair followers. The reasons behind this were not so much down to differing tactics, as to the wind direction.
Blowing predominantly from the southeast, the skippers faced the choice of a gybe to the north or to the west. Some went deeper, more directly downwind, whilst others chose to sail slightly higher and faster and thus further from the rhumb line. Added to this was the favourable current helping those to the west, whilst those heading north were heading more towards their destination of New York, USA.
The result was to show a real spread in the fleet and some major position shuffles, none more evident than New York Clipper who went from third to first to third to eighth in less than 48 hours! Now, however, they appear to have regrouped somewhat and are all heading pretty much in the same direction and once again the reason is the wind. Now blowing steadily from the East at around force 6, the fleet is able to make good progress to the northeast; heavyweight spinnakers up, for some fast broad reach sailing. London Clipper has been the only major victim losing three places to sit in sixth position, thus benefiting Liverpool and Hong Kong who have climbed to fifth and third respectively.
Otherwise, racing life continues as normal with the slight exception that Neptune has been visiting the boats in turn to demand that those "crossing the line" for the first time pay due penance. Full details will no doubt be revealed in the individual crew diaries at www.clipper-ventures.com this week.
Positions at 0300 UCT
||Dist to Finish