After the event started in light winds, the teams competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race are approaching the Scoring Gate on Day 11. The race leader LMAX Exchange will pick up three bonus points for reaching the checkpoint first. GREAT Britain is in second place followed by Derry-Londonderry-Doire in third and would claim two points and one point respectively. Qingdao is running fourth and Garmin is fifth, but both boats were said to be in striking distance of third.
The scoring gate is a line between two points at 19° N 26° W and 19° N 23° W and teams are not required to cross it. The decision to do so is a tactical one for Garmin skipper Ashley Skett who explained, “Do we go for points at the scoring gate or head straight to Rio? We have more distance to make up than both Derry-Londonderry-Doire and GREAT Britain, but potentially more wind which may get us there slightly ahead.”
The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race is made up of 12 teams from around the world racing 70-foot sailing yachts. The event is made up of eight legs and 16 races and teams have the choice of completing the full circumnavigation or picking the legs in which they want to compete. Race officials said that the fleet is making steady progress on Day 11 with all of the boats through the Canary Islands with Da Nang-Viet Nam furthest west on the course, leaving the islands to its port.
The yachts to the north will see squallier, gusty weather in the coming days while those to the south will see more tropical squalls, according to Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell.
PSP Logistics captain Max Stunell summed up the last 24 hours on his boat. “We had great fun blasting past Lanzarote and Fuerteventura in the baking sun. I was expecting a bit of an acceleration zone between Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura so we swapped early to our medium weight spinnaker, but bound the wind and sea state developed further so the heavyweight kite came out of its bag for the first time ever.”
He continued, “That proved to be too much of a handful in the confused sea at night and so it got returned to its bag fairly promptly and a reef went in. As we move away from the Canaries the sea is smoothing, the wind is becoming more constant and more sail is going back up. We are prepping to hoist again for the drag race to the Cape Verde Islands.”