The anticipated weather front will move over the fleet imminently, with the majority of teams already in winds of 30 to 40 knots, and still anticipating 50 knot gusts.
Progress has been good for the most, with race leader Garmin covering 140 nautical miles over the last 12 hours in the westerly breeze, coming close to the holy grail of 300 nautical miles in 24 hours.
The windy conditions also had current third placed team Mission Performance reporting its top speed of the race so far, recording 23.4 knots surfs yesterday.
Skipper Greg Miller describes the on board surfing experience: “We had Khaleesi up (the heavyweight spinnaker), and there had been a number of rollers (long smooth waves) following us.
“Anyway the stern and I seem to keep going up and the bow goes down even more, then the acceleration begins as weight and gravity take over and off we go, surfing! I can’t imagine that standing on a 6ft board and doing the same is as exhilarating?!”
The crew on board Derry~Londonderry~Doire, in sixth, have also been enjoying the fast conditions under spinnaker, and as the most southerly boat, are currently in the best winds. Skipper Daniel Smith explains: “Yesterday we spent th
e day doing great mileage under our medium weight spinnaker. After seeing the forecast we changed to the heavyweight spinnaker which we carried through the afternoon.
“After dark the wind grew and tricky sea conditions led to some excitement with the spinnaker,” he added.
Based on average speed over elapsed time, LMAX Exchange and Qingdao, which both set sail 83.167 hours after the rest of fleet, had been calculated to be in first and second place respectively. However their progress slowed overnight due to the South Atlantic High which is developing either side of them and they are now estimated to be in fourth and ninth place respectively.
On his team’s Scoring Gate decision, LMAX Exchange skipper Olivier Cardin states: “The weather files received this morning gave an answer about turning towards the Scoring Gate: We will not go.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire, Da Nang-Viet Nam and IchorCoal deserve the points won against cold and humidity. We will take the north route allowing us to support the thermic chock.”
Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell predicts that once the front passes over, the wind will back round to south of west, and the gusts will ease to the low 30’s.
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