Across the Indian Ocean

As Clipper round the world boats head for Mauritius

Wednesday May 21st 2003, Author: Loretta Spridgeon, Location: Transoceanic
The Clipper 2002 fleet has faced another changeable night in the Southern Hemisphere. The wind conditions continue to tantalise the sail wardrobe and many spent the night changing from Genoa, as the wind came forward and lightened, to heavyweight kite as it blew stronger again.

Now that most of the yachts are racing alone once more, without sight of another Clipper, there is the constant worry that it is only in your patch of water that the wind is dropping!

Positions have stayed the same throughout the fleet over the last 12 hours. Justin Taylor, skipper of Hong Kong Clipper, has now taken up the reigns of Duty Skipper so each twelve hours we will be waiting for his words of wisdom to come into Clipper HQ.

Today Justin reported that the only real excitement they had encountered was a small fishing exercise with their heavyweight spinnaker; amazingly they did not suffer any sail damage from this and are happily sailing along under partially cloudy skies with their mediumweight up.

Generally all is well in the fleet, although some of the crew have been reflecting perhaps a little too much on the length of time they have spent at sea. This week, Glasgow Clipper told us in their diary that they have been at sea for 200 days now - no mean feat! Today also sees Bristol Clipper celebrating being three quarters of their way around the globe. It is so easy to get caught up in each separate race that when one does take the
chance to realise just how far the yachts have travelled it is quite amazing!

The eight yachts are now trucking along in a near perfect North/South line across the Indian Ocean and the great debate remains open as to which end of this line will be most favoured.

We know from past races that Simon and his Jersey crew often like to go south at every possibility and Richard Butler aboard Bristol Clipper is seemingly pinning his hopes on the trades becoming more developed towards the ‘bottom of the map.’ There is, as always the middle pack, hedging their bets and staying open to dashing towards the better wind, hoping to jump on the conveyor belt and catch the Sleigh Ride all the way to Mauritius - be it in the North or South.

Then there are the boys in the North. Dedicated to their cause and their course, both London and New York think they are right too. Only time will tell, but maybe Rory and Ross did some bedtime reading before they left Singapore! In the Clipper 2000 race, the fleet took similar positions racing across the Indian Ocean. A more pronounced North/South divide developed of almost 80 miles. To reveal the results of that race would be too easy. One of Colin’s reports started however with the headline “Portsmouth’s Northern push pays.”

Lets just say, this race is certainly not won or lost yet and there is nothing to stop fortunes changing and our spectator sailing becoming even more exciting yet.

Clipper 2002 - Race 11 Positions
03:00, 21 May 2003

Pos Yacht Distance to Finish (nautical miles)
1 Bristol 1,643
2 Jersey 1,647
3 Liverpool 1,653
4 Cape Town 1,655
5 Hong Kong 1,655
6 New York 1,659
7 London 1,662
8 Glasgow 1,671

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