The Grand Banks, as Jersey Clipper reported this morning, is quite big; approximately 300 miles from North to South. As the fleet approaches the Western side, reports are that the yachts are sailing in large swells, big surfs, and winds of Force 6 to 8.
The final Atlantic crossing of this 35,000 mile round the world race is one that the crews aren't going to forget easily!
Winds of this strength would, one would assume, make life rather unpleasant and a bit bouncy onboard but reports from duty skipper Adam KYFFIN are that the surfing, reaching conditions are being relished across the fleet.
When the crews are changing headsails often, putting reefs in and out in these conditions, it only means one thing - WET. As waves crash over the foredeck no matter how well zipped, velcroed and buttoned up their kit is, water will always find its way in.
This also means that when off watch down below, the crew are constantly climbing into damp sleeping bags and even simple tea-making chores become a major task. And yet the Clipper crews are still happy!
This is no better illustration of hard-earned miles under the keel, than when such conditions become just another inconvenience in a day's sailing rather than a major event! The now weather worn crew are happy to be racing fast and relishing every last bit that this trip has to offer them.
Back in the grey windy Atlantic, the racing is close with only 30 miles separating first and last. Binks and his crew on Bristol Clipper had "a good sched gaining on the fleet... even Jersey,"
as Richard reported in his daily diary of their second position.
Simon ROWELL and his crew on board Jersey Clipper do however remain eight miles out front, seemingly one boat on one mission and that is to get 'home' to the Channel Isle as quickly as they can.
In third place and sharing the same patch of Ocean as the Bristolians is Liverpool Clipper. Adam and his crew have their eyes set not only on a podium position in this race but overall too and with their main competition Hong Kong in the North and back in eighth this morning, Adam has reason to be enjoying his time as duty reporting skipper.
Mid fleet and a further eight miles from Liverpool are the Scots on board Glasgow Clipper who are chasing in the wake of Jersey Clipper's track. Fighting for fifth on the Southerly side of the fleet is New York, the acclaimed 'Kings of the Atlantic,' and Cape Town Clipper.
With over 1,800 miles still to cover, the weather, racing conditions and positions are, as we have all learnt this year, going to change and probably change again! At this point in time, all we do know is that this is going to be an exciting race to watch.
Clipper 2002 - Race 15 Positions
||Dist To Finish (Nautical Miles)