Light winds for Clipper fleet

News from the Caribbean Sea

Monday December 16th 2002, Author: Nick Gray, Location: Transoceanic
Adam Kyffin and his Liverpool Clipper crew still lead the Clipper fleet this morning, but with Jersey and Hong Kong less than a mile behind on a DTG (Distance To Go) basis there is no room for complacency.

Interestingly, Jersey and Hong Kong are actually just over 9 miles to the northwest of Liverpool, which could result in a slightly different angle to the wind. This might make a difference as the wind becomes lighter ahead; as a general rule of thumb, the closer the yachts sail to the wind in light conditions the greater their apparent wind and thus boat speed.

Ed Green, skippering London Clipper, leads the chasing pack but with still only 14 nm separating the first and last boat, and lighter winds forecast, there could be many changes in positions over the next few days.

The Clipper 60s can keep moving in as little as 2 knots of breeze, however once they have stopped it takes about 5 knots to get them moving again. Every action on the boat has to be done slowly so that sudden movement does not knock the wind out of the sails and stop the boat, even a crew member moving quickly from one side of the boat to the other can have a negative effect on boat speed.

The typical view of crew sitting on the windward rail (high side) is also reversed in light winds, weight is needed on the leeward (low) side in order to heel the boat and help the sails catch the wind. As you can see the only rest for the crews on this race, comes after they have cleaned and performed maintenance on their boat at the stopovers!!

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