Jersey take lead

As Clipper fleet head for Galapagos

Tuesday December 31st 2002, Author: Loretta Spridgeon, Location: Transoceanic
Glasgow's push to the front of the pack for yesterday morning's report did prove unsustainable and they had already been pushed off the top slot by yesterday afternoon, but worse was to come.

This morning, a mere 12 hours later, sees them in 7th position having been outflanked by the southern pack of Jersey, London and New York, but what must be even harder to swallow is that they have also been outgunned by Bristol and Hong Kong off to the north.

Jersey, London and New York are all within sight of each other and are experiencing steady winds of force 4 from the southeast. Ideal sailing conditions for their course towards the finish line. Bristol and Hong Kong are still in northerly winds and have yet to pass through to the southeasterlies, or in the words of New York skipper Sam Fuller, "they have the light flappy bit still to come."

Wishful thinking perhaps but with just over two miles separating the front four boats, even a slight reduction in wind will have a dramatic affect and Glasgow could yet find themselves pushing back up the fleet if Bristol and Hong Kong slow down. Sam adds "It has been wonderfully painless for us down south so far! Of course, I've done it now - haven't I?!" Let's wait and see.

At the back of the fleet, Cape Town Clipper currently has a good lead on Liverpool but they too have yet to pass into the southeasterly winds. Adam Kyffin and his crew aboard Liverpool will be hoping that their position further south will enable them to get there first and close the gap a little and the few days is likely to see some close racing for these two boats.

Whilst most of us think about New Years Eve, parties and resolutions, the Clipper crews will be sailing hard with little to remind them of the festivities most of us take for granted. No doubt for some it will be the first time in a long while that they greet the new year with a clear head!

Apart from being just another finish line, the Galapagos Islands are a nature lover's paradise and the boats are already getting a foretaste of this as Sam's report this morning shows.

"Had pilot whales today and 3 unusually pretty gulls have been with us all day, perching on our pushpit hopeful of food. Tonight dolphins dancing in the phossey (phosphorescence) and a lightening storm in the distance. And people ask "don't you get bored?" No, we don't!"

LATEST POSITIONS
04:00, 31 December 2002

Pos Yacht Dist To Finish
1 Jersey 495.36 (nautical miles)
2 Bristol 497.08
3 London 497.10
4 New York 497.50
5 Hong Kong 507.88
6 Glasgow 530.52
7 Cape Town 535.28
8 Liverpool 556.66

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