Crew aboard Hong Kong Clipper have managed to extend their lead by 10 nautical miles over the past 12 hours, sailing at almost a knot faster than their immediate rivals aboard London Clipper.
In fact, Hong Kong have sailed faster than the whole fleet, extending their lead over everyone except Bristol Clipper who gain 8 miles on the leaders.
This might at first seem strange, how have Bristol sailed less miles and slower than Hong Kong and still gained on them? The "Distance to Leader" gain is based on miles to the finish, not to the leader. As Hong Kong have sailed almost due West during the last 12 hours, their distance to the finish NW of them hasn't reduced by the same distance as they've sailed - allowing Bristol who have been sailing directly towards Yokohama to gain on them.
The rest of the fleet have all stayed in similar positions to one another over the last 12 hours and have all recorded an average speed within 0.3 knots of each other. As all eight boats in the fleet are identical it is not surprising that given similar weather conditions there is very little to separate them.
This, however, is not good news for New York and Cape Town as they try to gain on the rest in what is now almost a drag race to the finish. Although nothing in ocean racing is certain and both New York and Cape Town have enough distance from the rest that a wind hole or adverse wind direction could allow them to close the gap rapidly. This race is by no means decided yet!
Meanwhile Jersey skipper, Simon Rowell, reports: "Picture the scene, rattling along at 8-9 knots, 20-23 knots apparent just aft of the beam, thinking "Maybe time for heavyweight?" Something, however, wasn't quite right; namely faint lightning flashes off to windward. We looked at the radar, nothing at 6 miles, nothing at 12, but what looked like the Isle of Wight at 24 miles! Look again 6 minutes later - it's got 4 miles closer. Quick bit of mental arithmetic (luckily the crew are much better at that than me) gave a closing speed of 40 knots. So - change to Yankee 2 just in time to test the galley stowage regime! Only 3 books, 4 oranges and a lone ranger potato got loose... Would have been interesting with the HW."
And finally, to conclude today's account of events over the last 12 hours, we also hear from Mark Osgood (a round-the-worlder aboard London Clipper) with an in-depth analysis as to what life is like crashing to windward on a Clipper 60:
"From a wet and windy London Clipper. Hellooooooooooooooooooooooo. Waether is veryy windy and the good sihp London is copping vrey well. But ist vrey drifficult ot tpye. Keep falling uot of the nav station. Pot Noooooooodles taste very good though. Osssssie!"
03:00 UTC 3 March 2003
||Distance to Finish (nautical miles)