At the front of the fleet Glasgow Clipper had the highest run and have managed to put over 20 miles between themselves and second placed Jersey, while New York languished at the back spending several hours drifting in the lee of the island of Tanega Shima.
Although not over yet, it is hard to see how they can now make up these lost miles and with 70 miles between them and seventh place they will have to push really hard to avoid another single point position. That said, their current position well to the south of the main body of the fleet will give them a marginally different angle of attack for the approach to the finish which could prove advantageous if the conditions change.
The same can be said for Cape Town Clipper who have taken the other option and are now slightly to the north of their competitors. The forecast shows the wind remaining force 3 to 4 from the north north east for the rest of the day, which should give them easy reaching conditions and may allow Cape Town Clipper a slightly faster wind angle if they choose to bear away a little with their spinnaker.
With Hong Kong Clipper a mere six miles ahead, a move up the position table is certainly within Cape Town's grasp. Meanwhile Bristol, Liverpool, Jersey and London remain close with only 12 miles separating them; Bristol just stealing a place from Liverpool in the last 12 hours.
For the moment Glasgow Clipper seem secure. Having suffered in the past from being the bridesmaid but never the bride, skipper Rupert Parkhouse and his crew will be desperately hoping to maintain this lead until the finish and will be balancing their desire to push the boat with the need to prevent damage. They have already had one spinnaker blow out on this race and another could cost them dearly.
03:00, 18 March 2003
Pos Yacht Distance to Finish (Nautical Miles)
1 Glasgow 231.35
2 Jersey 253.81
3 London 256.15
4 Bristol 263.05
5 Liverpool 265.58
6 Hong Kong 276.92
7 Cape Town 283.15
8 New York 351.38