The sudden catch up of Jersey Clipper sees them now only 4 miles from Bristol Clipper and sailing happily parallel to them. Simon's Channel Islanders have caught up amazingly in the past 12 hours, gaining another thirteen miles on the sherry drinkers.
Simon ROWELL on board Jersey Clipper: "Saw another yacht this afternoon, we all convinced ourselves it wasn't Bristol, so I called them up for a chat, wondering which other madmen were out here sailing. 'Yacht in position XYZ, this is sailing yacht Jersey Clipper approximately 3 miles north of you...' Radio silence followed, before we heard a rather surprised reply of 'Jersey, this is Bristol Clipper!'"
Not to be out done, Richard BUTLER and his crew remain in defiant mood. Sailing in some very changeable conditions, they are still determined to find the current first and they are drawing near as both of the frontrunners report that they now have almost a knot of current in their favour.
The conditions are changing rapidly, with the winds varying from 20-30 knots yesterday afternoon causing the yachts to sail with Yankee 2 headsails and reefed mains, backing and decreasing overnight to an East North Easterly 6 knots. This means hard work for the crews.
"Think we have done more headsail changes in the past 24 hours than in two weeks training rolled into one,"
reported Round the Worlder Martine aboard Liverpool Clipper. It is exhausting stuff as the crews all rev themselves for their rounding of the Cape that draws nearer. Not only are they feeling tired this morning, the crew of Liverpool will no doubt be a little frustrated too. Having committed to the Southerly route yesterday, they are not gaining from the shortcut as planned. Instead they have been leapfrogged by London Clipper.
Rory GILLARD and his Cockney crew have had a great 12 hours run to the North, covering 186 miles towards the Agulhas current. This has made them jump three places on the race positions table and gain 10 miles to the leader when the rest of the fleet lost out.
Once more Rory is racing to knock his good friend Ross Daniel, skipper of New York Clipper, down a peg or two. Ross, holding onto his well-established third place, along with Cape Town and Glasgow, all continue to make more of a Southerly course towards the next waypoint at Port Elizabeth. Still making good headway, the race is truly hotting up mid fleet.
Never one to enjoy following in the wake of the others, Justin Taylor and his crew aboard Hong Kong Clipper remain in 8th position, but have chosen to sail west towards the coast.
Whichever way they get there, the aim of the fleet now is to negotiate the coastline and the Agulhas current, using it to their best advantage, but also remaining wary of the weather around them and approaching fronts. As weather fronts continue to shoot by down South, the weather will continue to chop and change. Rather like a procession marching past these Low pressure systems bring squally weather, gusting winds and as we know they greatly affects the sea state too.
As the next twelve hours passes, and the fleet draw closer to Port Elizabeth and the Agulhas current let's hope that they all get sleigh rides and not mogul fields!
Clipper 2002 - Race 12 Positions
||Distance to Finish (nautical miles)