The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet is making good progress in some fairly gruelling conditions, with strong winds and gusts around 50 knots predicted for the eastern group over the next twelve to 24 hours.For the two western boats, Qingdao and LMAX Exchange, it is the opposite problem, with a new developing South Atlantic High getting in the way of progress.Garmin has re-taken the lead, and is just 2.9 nautical miles ahead of second-placed GREAT Britain, with Mission Performance now in third, 55 miles behind the leader.

Huw Fernie, Skipper of Visit Seattle, in seventh, described the last 24 hours. “A change from the strong white sails to the more fragile but faster spinnaker let us set some good speeds throughout the day. It was tough work on the helm.

“There is nothing quite like driving a large ocean racing yacht down big waves; you’re on the edge of control and going like a freight train. Frightening at the time but guaranteed to bring out a smile when the surf is over,” he added.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire, IchorCoal and Da Nang-Viet Nam – the three boats which headed further south and faced headwinds when going for the Scoring Gate, have dropped back in the rankings; while Qingdao and LMAX Exchange must decide whether to head for the gate or not. Will their risk be worth their reward?

Mission Performance Skipper Greg Miller said the last 24 hours had been a day of fast speeds, but with some kite issues too. “We have been stuck on a mainly easterly heading towards Cape Town with strong to medium winds and mainly following seas which is nice after the confused sea state we had yesterday.

“We are currently running on white sails, with no visual aids, much the same as last night it is safer and faster to sail on Yankee and mainsail only and we only have 332 nautical miles to go to Tristan da Cunha. Then after that, there are 352 nautical miles before the Ocean Sprint, and we only have 1843 nautical miles to go until Cape Town, very exciting.

“I last saw some resemblance of my bed around 0300 yesterday morning and have been working since sorting ‘stuff’,” Greg added.

All positions correct as of 0800UTC.

Note: Ten of the 12 boats started on schedule on October 7, while LMAX Exchange and Qingdao did not start until October 11 due to damage incurred while in Rio after the first leg. All twelve boats will compete together based on elapsed time over the same distance.

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Background: 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 second leg started October 7 and takes the fleet 3387 nm from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town, South Africa. The fleet is due into Cape Town between October 21 and 25 and will be berthed at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront until October 31.

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.

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