The Clipper 2002 racing yachts are romping along with 22- 26 knots of wind on their starboard quarter as they head up the African coast.
What a great breakout they have achieved compared with other races leaving Cape Town, which have often been becalmed and then become widely dispersed as a result.
The fleet has definitely cleared its account with the Great Wind God this time, as the yachts have avoided a good three or four day beat against the usual Nor'westers. As a result they are well up on their schedule for the predicted 22-day race to Salvador in Brazil and this will stand them in good stead for their planned arrival date of Monday, 21 July.
The winds are due to lighten, but nevertheless the teams will be working out that they could arrive early into Salvador. With their current daily runs around 230 miles, this may well prove to be the case.
Rory GILLARD, skippering London Clipper, thinks that it will be worth the extra miles going further north and he has now been joined by Cape Town Clipper and, somewhat predictably, by Ross DANIEL on New York - the heavenly twin brothers are together again!
Conversely Rupert PARKHOUSE and the Scots in Glasgow Clipper follow the national tradition of heading south and are the lone guardians of the southern flank. This is possibly a slightly higher risk strategy but there is nothing to say it is not going to work and if it does full credit to them.
Bristol and Jersey are tearing up the middle of the course with a nose ahead of Hong Kong and Liverpool. Overall the fleet is only spread out in a 45-mile front and a mere 25 miles covers the DTG basis (Distance To Go) between the yachts. Because they are still heading well north of the direct line to the finish, the spread between first and last is more like 13 miles.
While the crews swath their tracks down the Atlantic rollers in the bright phosphorescence under their heavyweight kites, it is a timely moment to reflect on the fleet's visit to Cape Town. Without exception the crew loved
their time in the South Africa and a large number will be returning to see more of this wonderful country and its friendly people.
Race 13 Positions at 03:00
||Distance to Finish (nautical miles)