After beating upwind to the south, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race fleet is now heading eastwards towards the Great Australian Bight and Sanya Serenity Coast has maintained its lead on the pack over the last 24 hours despite the wind weakening in its current location.
Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck reports: “What a surprise – we have a bit of a wind hole. It’s not really a surprise, as always could see it and just had to try and figure out the best way to get around it.”
She added: “We have spent until now in the breeze on the same tack as the wind bent round so we could nearly aim where we wanted to, but it seems now we have to pay for this. Blue skies, calmish sea now so, but for the lack of wind, all would be good.”
After heading out further west compared to the other teams in search of more wind, PSP Logistics has moved into second place and Skipper Matt Mitchell said: “Phase 2 of the grand plan is now in effect as, after a short lull in the wind, we are finally on the other tack heading towards Tasmania.
“After having spent the last couple of days on port tack with a lot of heel, being on the other tack always takes a bit of getting used to as items that were happily stored on one side promptly fall out of their ‘secure’ positions…”
Looking ahead, he added: “If the forecast follows as it should then we should now have a bit of a clear run all the way to Tasmania at least, before we turn northwards into Sydney.”
Having slipped to third place and holding off a challenge from fourth, HotelPlanner.com Skipper Conall Morrison remains upbeat: “Today we are happily sailing towards the waypoint south of Tasman Island in a light southerly breeze and the sun is shining. We have been battling with Liverpool 2018 and are still within one nautical mile.”
Meanwhile, Liverpool 2018 has had an eventful morning and Skipper Lance Shepherd reports: “Inspired by our friends on PSP Logistics, who have taken a flyer to the west, we may have tried to emulate them. Now I’m not saying that we hit a whale… but we may have hit a whale. Just a small whale. And it was a very little nudge.
“We did a check of our steering cables as well as a hull inspection at the bow and everything is tickety-boo.”
With the crew and yacht safe and well, Lance added: “Sorry mate. I hope your head doesn’t hurt too much in the morning.”
At the time of writing, the fleet has roughly split into two groups with Dare To Lead and Nasdaq, in fifth and sixth respectively, making up rest of the southern group of the fleet.
Garmin, in seventh, is leading the northern group with Unicef not far behind in eighth, with Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs reporting: “We are now on our easterly starboard tack heading towards ‘Virtual Waypoint Mitchell’ which is the next mark on the course almost due south of Hobart, Tasmania.”
In ninth place, GREAT Britain Skipper Andy Burns tried to steal an early march on the rest of the fleet and explains: “We started with a tack in the early hours and tried to get a head start east, unfortunately this didn’t work for us and we are at the back of a pack of five of the northern most boats.”
He added: “Being technically from the north myself this doesn’t bother me so much just as long as the current southern pansies don’t get as much wind. The next 24 hours is really just a case of let’s see what happens until the wind fills in from the south.”
Bringing up the rear of the northern group of the fleet is Visit Seattle in tenth and Qingdao in eleventh, whose Skipper, Chris Kobusch, reports: “Despite all efforts, reef in, reef out, traveller up, traveller down, sheet in, sheet out, change of helmsman and so on, we somehow kept falling back and could not keep up with the rest of the fleet. With the first sign of a wind shift we then decided to tack and see, if we could gain some miles heading east.”
Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, reports that although the fleet has hit a light patch of wind, the new breeze should fill in from the south and west and should build over the next 24 hours or so.