Jamaica leads Clipper fleet through scoring gate in the Atlantic
Jamaica Get All Right has crossed the Scoring Gate first, provisional results show, with Derry~Londonderry~Doire second and Switzerland third. The teams receive an additional 3, 2 and 1 point respectively.
The fleet is now past the Ice Mark Hollis after the Race Office moved its position a further two degrees south following GREAT Britain’s report that it spotted a growler on Friday (a smaller piece of floating ice protruding out of the water).
Air and water temperatures had plummeted as the fleet neared the ice fields and the yachts were instructed not to proceed north of 43N as a precautionary measure.
Several other yachts reported spotting ice yesterday, so full ice lookout watches are being maintained. The wind has shifted round to the north/north-west and yachts are now flying heavyweight and medium weight spinnakers in breezy conditions and a swell.
But further challenges await the fleet with the weather forecast, as Invest Africa skipper, Rich Gould describes.
“The passing of Ice Mark ‘Hollis’ has seen us alter course, the next mark of the course is the finish line some 1,500 and something miles away. Looking at the weather forecast I think those miles are going to be anything but easy!
“In the not too distant future it looks as though the most dominant factor of the weather we will have to deal with is a ‘blocking ridge’. Basically the top edge of the North Atlantic high has been squeezed in between two low pressure systems resulting in a very long unavoidable band of no wind lying between the fleet and the finish.
Once clear of the challenge of no wind it looks as though, to further add insult to injury, we will then be faced with headwinds coming from pretty much exactly where we want to go. On the upside this could prove to be what we need for a big shake up in fleet positions.”
Derry~Londonderry~Doire skipper Sean McCarter said once through the Scoring Gate, the routing options for the second half of the race were wide open so it and Jamaica Get All Right activated Stealth Mode to shield their tactics and position from the rest of the fleet for 24 hours.
As a result, Switzerland is now in first on the leaderboard, GREAT Britain is second and Jamaica Get All Right is in third.
Meanwhile due to the current conditions Mission Performance, Old Pulteney and PSP Logistics have been experiencing what is known within the fleet as a ‘kitemare’ in the last 24 hours and has seen the teams try to keep up the pace and not lose miles to the rest of the fleet.
On board Switzerland, skipper Vicky Ellis and her team have been celebrating as the fleet has passed the longitude of Rio and have completed a circumnavigation.
“Today has been a great occasion on board Switzerland as our nine round the world crew and I crossed the line of Longitude 43W (Rio de Janeiro) meaning we have sailed every line of longitude on the planet. A big achievement! We will complete our circumnavigation in full when we cross our outgoing path in London and land back in St Katharine Docks on 12 July.”