Lurking off the Isle of Wight
The fight is fully on between the 40ft monohulls in the doublehanded Shetlands Round Britain and Ireland race after a slow 24 hours crawling along the Kent and Sussex coasts.
At the latest sched (0900) race leader Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs on Sungard Front Arena are due south of the Nab Tower and will be passing to the south of the Isle of Wight over course of this morning. Nannini and Peggs have done well to fend off the attack from second placed Fujifilm, sailed by Alex Bennett and Malcolm Dickinson, and supposedly the faster boat in the light, but the big threat is coming from the boats astern.
In the last 24 hours Solo, sailed by Norwegians Rune Aasberg and Arild Schei, and Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire’s Phesheya-Racing have caught up dramatically – now just 14 and 16 miles astern of Sungard Front Arena. But the big big threat for these Class 40s is from the Open 40 Roaring Again, sailed by Dutch duo Hans Plas and Robin Verhoef. For those wondering, Class 40s must comply with Class 40 rules, while an Open 40 merely has to be 40ft long and so Roaring Again is built in carbon fibre, etc. While Solo and Phesheya-Racing have peeled off to the south while the race leaders are taking the shortest course along the coast, Roaring Again has dived out into the middle of the Channel and at the moment is some 40 miles southeast of Sungard.
At present the wind speed is light – although the live data from Greenwich Light Vessel was reporting 11 knots at 0700 – but is from the due west, right on the nose. However the GRIBs seem to indicate that where Roaring Again is the wind in more in the northwest providing them with a better opportunity to lay Start Point, the final headland before the final run into Plymouth.
But this race is far from over with the forecast showing another mid-Channel park-up later today before a very light northerly fills in tomorrow morning.