Hong Kong Clipper have stretched their lead to 40 miles. A nice safety net to have, but Justin Taylor and his team will certainly not be resting on their laurels just yet.
Conditions with the fleet have been very unsettled over the past 24 hours with wind strengths varying greatly and the fleet may well encounter one more storm before they arrive in Japan. The race positions are likely to be decided on where each boat is when the weather catches up, and on when they tack on the headers it brings.
Bristol Clipper’s crew will be sailing with big smiles on their faces this morning, no matter how cold the water is (only 10 degrees centigrade at the last check), as they have played the weather well and have slotted neatly into second place.
Liverpool Clipper has followed and is in third place this morning. Adam Kyffin is obviously looking forward to getting to Japan, with reports of the cold conditions coming in this morning. Sail changes are now less than popular with his foredeck team as instead of getting a balmy shower as per the Atlantic, they are treated to a feeling similar to icicles shooting down your neck - not pleasant!
The highest daily run comes from Jersey Clipper, now in fourth. The wind conditions have turned lighter over the last 24 hours, and have also veered Easterly. This has been particularly good for Simon Rowell and his crew as they will have been able to reach North in these conditions, gaining not only a better position but also sailing faster than their competition. With a 24 hour run of 207.03 nautical miles, yesterday's frustrations will have no doubt been put aside as another pennant comes within the crew’s grasp.
The skippers and crew of both London and Glasgow will be reeling from this recent turn of events, having lost 53 miles and 18 miles respectively. In particular, Cockney Clipper will not have been enjoying these lighter easterlies; not only because they are already in the North, but also due to the lack of spinnaker gear after losing their heavyweight earlier in the race.
New York and Cape Town remain at the back of the fleet, but their avid band of followers will have noticed that they too have gained on the frontrunners. Their own private battle is hotting up and we should definitely not count them out.
Finally, our thanks go to Tom Earls and his fellow crew of Serica (now Bristol Clipper). Whilst they raced towards Yokohama in the Clipper '96 race they made up the following song and have been kind enough to share it with us now.
(To be sung along to the tune of Oklahoma)
"YOOOOK-AHAMA - where the wind comes rushing with the rain.
When we meet a Low, we won't go slow - and some extra distance we will gain.
YOOOOK-AHAMA - where we'll find a Nip -on in the air,
Just a thousand miles, and we're all smiles, as our woolly undies we all
We know we are nearing the land, and the land we are going to is grand.
And as we SAAAY- Nipon - we are on our WAAAY
You're doing fine Yokahama, Yokahama OK
Yoka-,Yoka- Hama-Hama, Yoka -Yoka-Hama-Hama - In the land of the rising sun
Is where Serica's first race will be won
And as we SAAAY_ - Nipon we are on our WAAAY.
You're doing fine Yokahama - Yokahama YK"
Thanks Tom! It is great to know that so many friends, family and crew of previous Clipper races are following the fleet on this current nautical marathon. The Race Office is now set up in Yokohama Bayside Marina and with the fleet now having under 500 nautical miles to go, it looks as though they will be especially this weekend...
03:00 UTC 6 March 2003
Pos Yacht Distance to Finish (nautical miles)
1 Hong Kong 240.59
2 Bristol 282.16
3 Liverpool 300.88
4 Jersey 310.93
5 London 312.91
6 Glasgow 321.65
7 Cape Town 451.28
8 New York 486.79