Tidal current in the river Elbe can run at more than 4 knots and negotiating a foul tide takes considerable skill. Tonight Snow Lion and Tempest may just hit the Elbe entrance for the last of the flood tide to carry them at a fast pace up to the finish line. If they miss
the flood they will have to seek shallow waters at the edge of the river where the tide is slack, or even in places that have a small counter-current. This will be a breathtaking time needing maximum concentration, for a 'touch' on the mud on a falling tide could mean a boat becoming stuck for hours until the flood returns. After a pause in Cuxhaven, the boats will go on up the Elbe to Hamburg and the terrific welcome at the Race Village prepared in honour of the fleet.
In the North Sea, northerly winds continue to provide ideal sailing conditions for the growing number of DaimlerChrysler yachts coming from the Atlantic.
The fleet is now spread over more than 1,000 miles and for the majority still west of Great Britain, the outlook for the next several days is for light, generally northwesterly winds, though these could give way to variables and some calms.
On board Bank von Bremen, 350 miles from Fair Isle, skipper Karol Smotawa and his crew may be glad of the light conditions. Back in the gales of June 27, their main boom and spinnaker boom were broken, and the crew worked hard to make repairs. Usually on board repairs will stand up to light or moderate winds, but more gales are a test they prefer not to have.
At Fair Isle the crew of Zwerver are hoping to catch sight of lighthouse keepers, preferably female. Alas, the Skroo Lighthouse on the Island is fully automatic but holidaymakers may well be on the beach…