Clipper Round the World Race: Nova Scotia and Durban fight for lead: Jamaica in third place

Tuesday, 02 October 2007

The crew of Jamaica are taking a typically laid-back approach to their overnight move into third place. “We’re chillin’ and jammin’” is the standard greeting from skipper, Simon Bradley. His team’s decision to stay out the west of Madeira and the Canary Islands has paid dividends and while the rest of the fleet have been drifting at a few knots, Jamaica has been powering south westwards and racking up the miles.

The crews that have been becalmed in the Canaries for the last 48 hours will now be breathing a sigh of relief as their boat speed starts to pick up.

With the 12-hourly runs of these boats now in the region of 50 miles the crews can concentrate on trying to catch the leaders. That will not be easy as Nova Scotia, Durban 2010 and Beyond and Jamaica have all posted more than 100 miles in the last 12 hours and are still clearly in stronger winds as they romp away from the rest of the fleet. 

Race Director Joff Bailey says, “The last few days have been a good, if not bitter, lesson to the crews about ocean yacht racing. Pushing hard early, possibly damaging equipment and then sailing into a wind hole is not the way to win races. The lead boats still have at least a day’s sailing, if not more, before they hit the steady trade winds. That means the chasing pack has more than two days to reach the trades and the wind forecast for that region still shows some light patches.”

Each of the tacticians on board will now be looking at the next obstacles ahead of them. There are now two hurdles to overcome: the Cape Verde Islands and the ITCZ (Doldrums).

Explaining the decisions facing the tacticians on board, Joff says, “The Cape Verde Islands with peaks at over 2800 metres can cause some of the same wind shadows the that Canary Islands cast so the tacticians will be trying to avoid that in light of their recent experience.”

One good thing after a day or so of drifting will be that the crews would have undertaken a lot of running maintenance and sail repair. Daily life on board revolves around a routine of eating, sleeping and working. From the outside it may appear that the crews only have to sail the boats, in fact the secret of winning ocean races, indeed any yacht races, is to keep all the systems and the sails in top condition with routine maintenance and repairs. So generators and water makers will be serviced, spinnakers repaired, chafe on lines will be repaired and the list goes on. It is a fact that the wining boats are also the best looked after boat with the least sail damage.

Heather Ewing

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 02 October 2007 )