Criterion Round Britain and Ireland Race - Day 15

4th September 2000, 11.30 by Mark Chisnell

Monday September 4th 2000, Author: Mark Chisnell, Location: United Kingdom
Primadonna is the only boat to have finished since Friday’s report, and she missed the time set her by Incisor of Wight (for an overall handicap win) by just under 12 hours. Finishing at 04.52 on Saturday morning, Christopher Bull’s crew were a picture of disappointment in the early hours, as they reflected on how close they had come.

For a map of the latest positions, click here.

They were forced to kedge for a couple of hours as the center of the high pressure passed over the south-east of England, overnight Thursday to Friday morning. Then, when the breeze did kick in (from the low pressure whistling in from the west behind the high), it held them on the wind for too long for them to hit the target speed they needed. That leaves Incisor the crewed mono-hull victor, with no one else in a position to beat her.

The clock has also stopped on the double-handed mono-hull prize. Water Music IV, with Chris Preston and Rob Gray aboard, ran out of time yesterday evening, leaving Emma Richards, Miranda Merron and Pindar, as the winners.

Water Music was close behind Aquadanca on Monday morning, who was just 20 nm from the Owers Buoy at 07.00. Both these boats should be looking at a finish by the afternoon, depending on how well the breeze holds up for them today.

Some distance behind the front pair is Act of Defiance. Richard Houghton’s Hustler SJ35 was 55 nm from Dungeness and just five miles ahead of Stealth, the Diva 39 of Tim Wright, at 07.00 on Friday morning. As well as the advantage on the water, Act of Defiance has a slightly lower handicap than Stealth. Both these boats should be in some time Tuesday morning.

At the moment, a high pressure ridge is sitting above the British Isles, with its center somewhere just west of the Solent. The breeze to the east of that - the position of our fleet - is generally northerly. The weather buoys show that it’s north-north-west off North Foreland and northerly off Brighton, as the wind rotates clockwise around the high pressure center.

There’s more wind to the east, 15 knots off North Foreland, only ten at Brighton and even less in the Solent at the moment. And it’s this light air near the center of the high pressure that our fleet must negotiate as they travel west towards the Royal Yacht Squadron finish.

Fortunately, the ridge of high pressure is going in the opposite direction, being pushed out of the way to the east. There’s another incoming low about to hit us from the west (yep, it’s going to start raining again). That will swing the wind round, probably through the south, and into the south-west. It will also start to pick up in velocity, and a south-westerly at about 15 knots is forecast by Tuesday morning for the south coast of England. That should speed the fleet home, and we hope to be able to bring you final results for everyone on Tuesday.

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