After yesterday's speculation that London Clipper was heading north, they have now confounded the theory by returning to the west, and Glasgow Clipper is today's candidate for the great north run.
Looking back at the vessels' tracks over the last few days, the northern league of London, Glasgow and Honk Kong have been taking it in turns to tango with each assuming the lead as they step up to the north, then relinquishing it as they swing back to the west.
The weather has been fairly undramatic, slightly squally last night but predominantly light and mostly sunny. Adam Kyffin has now passed over duty to Glasgow skipper Rupert Parkhouse who is taking this morning's lead in his stride. The most taxing thing for his crew seemingly getting to grips with what day it is now they have crossed the date line.
In fact, the whole Clipper fleet has been remarkably quiet with even the normally talkative Bristol skipper reporting that there is no news.
Ocean sailing can be like that. Sometimes it is all go; frequent sail changes, intense competition and wildlife galore, and sometimes one just settles into the routine of watch keeping, 4 hours on then 4 hours off - down below to sleep, read or just potter before going back up on deck to steer, trim the sails, grind the winches, keep lookout for another 4 hours.
Meal times become the focal points of the day and every one hangs in suspense for the 12 hourly position reports. Sir Robin refers to this as the tyranny of a watch system and come rain or shine, wind or calm, you know that in 4 hours time you will be doing again pretty much what you are at the moment. Routine it may be, but it is good for the crews to take advantage of this quiet time to rest up and prepare for the winds to come.
It is also a good time to do all those necessary little jobs around the boat. Whilst the on watch crews will still be concentrating hard on racing, the rest will be checking the sails, the rigging, the generator and all the other myriad components that make up an ocean going yacht - so that when the weather does change and the levels of intensity increase the skipper can be secure in the knowledge that the boat won't let them down. For maximum performance a stitch in time can save much more than nine!
Liverpool Clipper have had the highest run of the day and are now the second western most boat after Bristol. Cape Town Clipper have maintained their 6th position but are threatened by both Jersey and New York who have both had higher runs. New York have also taken quite a turn to the north, so it will be interesting to see how this serves them over the next few days.
With all the fleet now in the eastern hemisphere, it is interesting to reflect that none of the boats have "fallen off." With the exception of a few brave souls in the flat earth society (sorry chaps, yet another blow to your theory) most of us would take this for granted, but whilst we salute the achievements of our modern day adventurers so too should we acknowledge the bravery of our pioneering ancestors who set sail in small ships when the dangers of coming to the edge of the world seemed real enough!
03:00 GMT 21 February 2003
||Distance to Finish (nautical miles)