At sea. Clipper Round the World Race: Clipper fleet settles down to tight racing Print E-mail
Sunday, 09 April 2006
Catherine Green:


All ports seem empty after the fleet’s departure, but somehow the Olympic harbour in Qingdao took on a deserted feel quicker than most as with the dismantling of the race village the true extent of the construction taking place in the area became immediately apparent. There was still activity as Ellen Macarthur’s trimaran B&Q swarmed with school children and a fleet of Optimists buzzed around the harbour but as the hoardings and screens came down the wind whipped up the dust and sand from the building sites covering everything in a fine layer of grit.

A good strong breeze gave the fleet a fast departure from Qingdao. By midnight local time they had already covered around 70 miles, and continued to accelerate into the Yellow sea so that by now they have already covered almost a third of the distance towards the southwestern corner of Japan and the entrance into the North Pacific. The forecast shows the wind swinging round to the north north west so we should continue to see good progress, though it will ease off slightly over the course of tomorrow. This should mean some good spinnaker work as the boats pass the island of Cheju Do off the southern coast of Korea. Although the most direct route is south of this island there is a possibility of more wind to the north so it will be interesting to see how the fleet react to this.

As is common at the start of a race the positions throughout the fleet remain very close, with 4 boats currently in equal second and only 12 miles separating first from last. Those 12 miles however must hurt as they mark the dramatic fall from first to last for Cardiff Clipper, though with so many miles left to go the hurt will be more psychological than anything else.

The weather remains cold, and visibility is not great but at least there seem to be less fishing boats around than on the final approaches from Subic. This will no doubt be a welcome relief for all concerned.

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Last Updated ( Sunday, 09 April 2006 )
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