This morning sees Glasgow once again leading the Clipper fleet, although only by a very fine margin. This is an impressive result as they remain to the south of Hong Kong and therefore one cannot just put it down to north/south proximity to the finish.
That said, they have not had the fastest day's run and several of the trailing boats have managed to narrow the gap. Glasgow Clipper skipper, Rupert Parkhouse, and his crew will need to keep on their toes to maintain their lead, but as one of the boats yet to clinch a race victory they will be pulling out all the stops to make this one count.
The boats are all enjoying light but steady winds from the south east. In a dazzling display of total luck, the wind filled in from the east as predicted, carrying the teams with it. Therefore, although most have had slower days than of late, none have dramatically ran out of wind.
It is interesting to note that the highest run of the day came from London Clipper in the middle of the fleet's north south split. Despite having suffered spinnaker problems over the weekend, the Londoners seem to be really on the pace, a fact not lost on the other skippers.
It is also interesting to see that their track over the last 24 hours has been almost due west, whilst the other boats have left far greater zigzags as they gybe back and forward in the easterly winds. Skipper Rory Gillard and his crew are certainly making the most efficient use of the prevailing conditions by travelling as little off their desired track as possible.
Cape Town Clipper has taken quite a steep climb north, but otherwise there is little change in the current mid-ocean section of this race. But it will not last. As the race progresses the boats will all have to turn north at some point and here the northern most boats will definitely have an advantage.
The important question is, "At what point will the first boat decide to break north?" But also, "At what point will the rest decide to follow?" When they do, they can be sure of one thing; that it will start getting cold. A prospect Liverpool skipper Adam Kyffin, for one, is not looking forward to. He said: "It'll definitely be difficult to adjust to cold and bad weather again."
The sights of mid-ocean continue to amaze with a pod of Pilot Whales visiting London Clipper, and Jersey seeing their first Albatross. As the southern most boat this is quite appropriate, but actually the Laysan Albatross is the northern most member of the family and actually breeds on Hawaii.
Jersey skipper Simon Rowell can also claim a small personal victory having finally taught Belgian crew member Frank to make a decent cup of tea! Continuing the culinary thread, not only have Glasgow Clipper gained the lead but have also managed to catch a large Yellow Fin Tuna, which has improved the menu no end. Eating fresh fish obviously really is good for you...
03:00 GMT 18 February 2003
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