PSP Logistics remains in top spot on the leader board for Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race to Fremantle, Australia, but the real race at the moment is who can reach the Scoring Gate first.
Only the top three teams to cross the Scoring Gate will claim the three, two, and one bonus points on offer, though currently, five teams are in the fight.
PSP Logistics has held onto first place for a second consecutive day, ahead of the second placed Visit Seattle. PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell is feeling good about his team’s chances despite a tough night, explaining: “We had a bit of a slow few hours last night, I was thinking maybe we had gotten a little too close to the ridge of high pressure sitting just to the south of us but, thankfully, the wind has filled in and we have been making over ten knots for the last few hours.”
The biggest threat to PSP Logistics in terms of the Scoring Gate is Sanya Serenity Coast. Whilst Sanya Serenity Coast has dropped back fifth, the team is currently the favourite to claim the maximum three points. Skipper Wendy Tuck reports: “At the moment, our main focus is the Scoring Gate. We are keeping a watchful eye on PSP Logistics and Visit Seattle. They have a much better angle to it then us, but we have a little buffer zone. The question is will it be enough?”
Great Britain and Qingdao, in third and fourth place respectively, are also both aiming to claim the crucial Scoring Gate bonus points, with Great Britain Skipper Andy Burns commenting: “We are still beating towards the lower end of the Scoring Gate and it will be close.
“Sanya Serenity Coast is due to reach it first if the team isn’t pushed north, Qingdao is ahead of us, east to west, by around 20 miles, and PSP Logistics is coming in hot from the south. It really could go either way at the minute.”
Away from the Scoring Gate, Liverpool 2018 and UNICEF are locked in a tight battle for sixth place. Liverpool 2018 currently has the edge on UNICEF and are enjoying the fight, as Skipper Lance Shepherd explains: “We currently have UNICEF (Skipper Bob Beggs) on AIS (Automatic Identification System) about six nautical miles in front of us and to windward. It’s great to have the live feedback of another yacht as it inspires our crew to drive harder and push a bit harder. It really gets excitement levels up.”
Dare To Lead has dropped from sixth to eighth place in the last 24 hours, and is followed by Nasdaq in ninth. It remains hard going for Nasdaq, whose Skipper, Rob Graham, comments: “We’re still slogging away, and still waiting for that wind shift.
“It seems the boats further south have had a favourable change, whilst up north, we’re stuck with southeast winds of roughly gale force, blowing across a lumpy confused sea under gloomy grey skies.”
Garmin continues to hold the most northerly route, chasing the wind. Skipper Gaëtan Thomas says: “The wind should turn soon, I really hope that we didn’t lose too much ground on the fleet. There are still lots of miles to go, a sprint which I hope this time will be an acceleration with best course towards Australia.”
HotelPlanner.com continues to make good ground after re-joining the race, with Skipper Conall Morrison reporting: “We made some good speeds yesterday evening and decided to tack south again last night as the sea state became rough near the centre of the low-pressure system. This morning we are on starboard tack again, we have shaken the reefs from the mainsail, and are just about to hoist a bigger yankee.”
Looking ahead on the weather front, Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell says: “The welcome news that the low is starting to fill and so the conditions for the northerly yachts should start to ease during the day and overnight.
“Down south, the boats will be skirting the ridge. Looking ahead, the Jet Stream is heading south again, so lows will start to pass south of the teams over the next few days, bringing some quite changeable conditions – but at least with the wind not on the nose!”