Overnight the story of our gallant sailors has changed dramatically. From feisty seas and huge waves, we now have a situation of calm patches, frustrating squalls and boats slowing down. It seems that Friday 13 is indeed unlucky for some
The miles covered over 24 hours have been encouraging. The fleet all covered between 114 and 159 miles, which is pretty good going in the current variable conditions. We can see from the position charts that yesterday's predictions have evolved into a real life scenario. Bristol, New York and London have escaped the Madagascan coastline at the right moment. Unfortunately, the rest of the fleet has become somewhat stuck.
Ever the optimist, Richard BUTLER, although excited about this turn of fate, has already put the lid on his crew thinking that they are on the home straight from now on. He has sensibly split the race to Cape Town into three phases; i) the charge to the bottom of Madagascar, ii) across from Madagascar to South Africa and iii) the Agulhas current. The travellator down the coast of South Africa.
All in all, the Bristol skipper knows that although it appears that the race is won on paper in reality, there is a long way to go and many other weather patterns and currents to play.
No to put too much of a dampener on it however, phase one has been completed rather successfully by the Bristolians. Another boat to mention is the stealthy London Clipper. They have been quiet of late but obviously because they have been racing hard. Jumping up to third place, they have done very well.
The rest of the fleet still need to get round that tip of Madagascar, one that I am sure they will not want to see again - EVER! News from Roger aboard Cape Town Clipper, who are currently sailing close to Glasgow and Liverpool, is of a frustrating night's sail.
"Had a frustrating day yesterday and last night. The day started off with wind from the SW fluctuating between Force 4 and 6 so you could not settle down with one sail plan. In the afternoon the wind dropped down to zero and has remained so till this morning with no improvement in sight. The current we have picked up is reminiscent of Dahl's Great Green Greasy Limpopo River, flowing sluggishly and selfishly in its own direction. The wind also has an independence of her own...very typically like a woman she takes her prerogative to change her mind on a whim to the letter!"
Of course we can't forget Jersey and Hong Kong. Having lost 20 miles to the frontrunners, this was not a good sched for the boys at the back who looked as though they might have been able to get back in the game yesterday. With the barometer still rising onboard Jersey, Simon knows that there is a high pressure building in front of him and he has no where to hide from it.
Currently with winds of South-South East, 8-10 knots Simon is a worried man, with his immediate competition at the front of the fleet and Hong Kong, the boat he may have hoped to have knocked Bristol down a peg or two, sailing next door to him his three point overall lead currently hangs in the balance.
The weather for the weekend does not look too encouraging. Winds will remain light and variable for the next 12 hours and the high pressure appears to stick right in the path of the fleet. Trying times lie ahead of the Clipper 2002 fleet.
Clipper 2002 - Race 12 Positions
||Distance to Finish (nautical miles)