After almost 48 hours of racing in the DaimlerChrysler North Atlantic Challenge, a core group of boats has charged out ahead of the pack of 58 entries.
The small group of boats trailing Zaraffa include Anny, Vita Bella, Tempest and Snow Lion, skippered by New York Yacht Club Commodore Lawrence S. Huntington. The online fleettracker (www.dcnace.de) calculates each boat' s IRC and IMS ratings and predicts an overall position in the fleet. At 14:10 UTC today Zaraffa is shown in first place overall in both classes.
All yachts must honor a "Point Alpha," which is set at 40N 50W and established to keep yachts safely out of the area off the East Coast of North America known as Iceberg Alley.
The weather data suggests a high-pressure system will be coming down over the fleet, bringing light winds for a day or day and a half and holding steady just west and south of Point Alpha making it difficult for most of the fleet to get to the mark. The leaders, however, may be able to escape the worst of it and continue on their way.
According to Bill BIEWENGA, who provided Huntington and crew with weather routing for the 3,600 nautical mile race, "Snow Lion has been doing a great job in getting to the waypoints we discussed. Winds have been a bit stronger than anticipated three or four days ago, and at times they have been further to the right."
Snow Lion had a picture perfect start and has been following the plan set by Biewenga.
"We had expected northerlies and wanted to get to the Gulf Stream quickly by sailing fast to the current. If the wind is out of the north and blowing across the east-flowing Stream, big seas aren't kicked up nearly as much as they would be if the wind was blowing directly against the current. When the wind turns northeasterly, though, the waves get quite steep and high and making the boat crash into the troughs. I think it's been pretty bumpy out there last night. The email I received from the boat this morning requested that I thank Cookson's (the builder of the boat) on behalf of the crew. She seems to be holding up fine in the strain."