Day 5 (Race 7) had significant wind-shift from south to north, bringing with it decent breeze, has helped get the fleet moving again on a beat after progress came to a standstill yesterday for some teams.
The fleet is now well into the ITCZ (Inter Tropical Convergence Zone), or the Doldrums, and closer to the north-east Trade Winds that will eventually propel it towards Vietnam on the Da Nang New Discovery of Asia Race.
Garmin Skipper Ashley Skett describes in his blog how there is a low pressure system to navigate around before that though, and the yachts now face a few days of challenging headwinds with tactical choices critical.
Wendy Tuck, Skipper of Da Nang – Viet Nam, in sixth, touched on the frequent leaderboard changes in her blog with GREAT Britain now first,Derry~Londonderry~Doire second and Garmin third.*
“We are now sailing in some wonderful breeze. It looks like it might stay for a while, but we aren’t out of the light stuff yet and I imagine our game of snakes and ladders with the other boats will continue,” Wendy said.
“At the last schedule we were on the ladder, but at any time we could be on the slippery snakes. Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Garmin have popped up on our AIS (Automatic Identification System) so it is always nice to check out and track their speeds and course.
“The breeze is on the nose so even though we are living at an angle again it is really cooling the boat down which is really nice,” Wendo added.
Darren Ladd, Skipper of IchorCoal, in seventh, said the conditions had improved vastly from yesterday. “At sunrise this morning the good shipIchorCoal was finally set free. Two large squalls passed either side of us and we made 8 knots on an amazingly flat sea. On a leg that has already had many highlights, this may go down as the best.
“With a building wind and a big, black cloud ahead we have just dropped the windseeker in favour of the Yankee 1 and the staysail, and we are truly up and running again. What a relief to feel fresh breeze blowing through the boat and feel the sea moving rapidly under the hull. So glad to be moving again,” he added.
With 3,200 nautical miles to go, will the fleet keep clear of the windless grip of the Doldrums, or will the ITCZ follow the fleet up further north? To follow all the action, see the Race Viewer here.
The 40,000 mile Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on August 30 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The series is divided into 16 individual races, with the team with the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew.
The ports along the race route are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Airlie Beach, Australia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York, USA; Derry-Londonderry, Ireland; and Den Helder, Netherlands before returning to London by late July.