The eight Clipper yachts are not alone as they race down the east coat of China. Annoyingly the nice north-easterly wind for the start has deserted them and they have been frustrated by calms and light variable winds and to cap it all, drizzle.
To add to the fun and games the visibility has been poor and the fishing activity intense. Adam Kyffin reports that they were able to count 57 fishing boats around them catching a variety of fish.
The forecast does not show much improvement and it will be tense as they move down into the Taiwan straights through what Simon Rowell describes as, the biggest Christmas tree factory in the world because of all the bright lights on the fishing boats.
In these conditions the racing becomes harder than ever but a paten has emerged. First Jersey managed to break away well but 'those damn cider boys from the west country came up when the wind filled in from the north'. It would appear that Cape Town lost ground when they snagged a fishing net and Glasgow have been in fairly frank discussions with two fishermen who came up to the boat after they became tangled in another net. Luckily the breeze came up before the end of the discussion
This race has a series of waypoints spread down the coast and the yachts have to remain outside the line joining these. This 'virtual China seawall' is possible as the boats all have their tracks plotted on the ARCs electronic charts which is displayed by the SeaPro 2000 navigation software. It appears that both Hong Kong and Liverpool ended up by passing a waypoint and then drifting over the virtual seawall as they were becalmed. They have done exactly the right thing by reporting this to the Race Officeand a decision on this incident will be made by the Race Committee after the finish.
Meanwhile the Race Team have moved to the Royal Hong Kong yacht Club and set up shop here. It is a tremendous feeling to return to this magnificent club. There are so many familiar and friendly faces here and the welcome has been superb. The Club is extremely well organised and efficient and the crew members and supporters who visit it will not fail to be impressed. Once again it is a great honour for the Clipper crews to be hosted by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.
The crew will certainly be looking forward to enjoying the delights of the RHKYC but first they have to cover over 500 miles to get here. They are hoping for an arrival on Friday 28th which would mean they would be here for the Rugby 7s and the Rolling Stone's concert on 28/29th. Hopefully they may make that date but with the slow progress it might be a Saturday finish; let's hope is no later than that!
Positions at 0300 GMT, 24 March 2003