Yesterday was a bad day for Jersey Clipper. They started off by losing their long held first place to New York Clipper, but as if that wasn't bad enough by the afternoon radio schedule they had been overtaken by both Liverpool and, worse still, Bristol.
Skipper Simon ROWELL and his Jersey crew did the only thing possible; harnessed the returning wind and went for it! After a twelve-hour run of 110 miles, they now sit in second place - just one mile behind Richard Butler's Bristol team.
The mood on board Jersey is good, as Simon explains: "A very grey day today! But no complaints at all, as the wind built gradually into a beautifully steady SW Force 4 or 5, allowing us to spend the last 16 hours broad reaching under the medium kite."
Meanwhile the New Yorkers have been less fortunate. After their blast to the front of the fleet skipper Ross Daniel knew the importance of heading north to consolidate their lead, but the wind would not allow it. Firstly its direction was wrong; blowing from the north north east it forced them to sail to the east, then after dying off completely it returned to favour the boats in the north first, so explaining Liverpool and Bristol's success.
So this morning sees New York in fifth place, although their push to the north should at least enable them to cover the boats behind. Hong Kong and Glasgow have also concentrated on heading towards the stronger winds by pushing to the north east, running almost parallel to New York's track, and though a sensible strategy to get further onto the conveyor belt to the finish line in Jersey, in the short term it has caused them to lose miles to the rest of the fleet.
Cape Town, in contrast, are continuing to push to the east in the hope that the stronger winds will continue on down towards them. If this does happen, they will have saved wasted miles to the north and could well jump Glasgow and New York, though we won't know that for another day or so.
At the front of the fleet, Bristol have certainly earned their first place with one sail change flowing swiftly into another as they fight to take full advantage of every wind shift. Currently flying their heavyweight kite, the Bristolians are reaching in about 20 knots of apparent wind, a very useful force five to six from the northwest.
The Liverpudlians are just off Bristol's port quarter whilst further to the south, London Clipper is in hot pursuit of Jersey. Yet again we have good breeze, excellent sailing and only six miles separating the first three boats. And if that wasn't enough the icing on the top is a knot or so of favourable current, helping to push them to the expectant crowds on the island of Jersey.
Clipper 2002 - Race 15 Positions
||Dist To Finish (Nautical Miles)