Global Challenge leader benefiting from northerly position

As expected, the leading pair (BG SPIRIT and Spirit of Sark) have benefited from their position further north and west and edged ahead of their nearest rivals to the south and east.

The wind has shifted, currently approximately 20 knots from the northwest – relatively calm compared to the winds up to 47 knots reported late yesterday afternoon.

There is a high-pressure system to the north of the area at present, dominating the South Pacific. But, in immediate terms, the low-pressure system centred just southwest of the fleet will track towards the southeast and once past the teams, light and variable airs will follow.

However, this will only last until the next low travels across from the west, when the winds will rise and the multiple sail changes will begin again in earnest!

BP Explorer currently has no heating onboard. John Bass described the agony of sail changes: “Sail changes on the foredeck can be likened to trying to sew your initials into a parachute while clinging to a cliff face upside down under a freezing waterfall.”

Robin Phillips simply said: “If the fires of Hell went out, this is what it would be like”. However, their cold and wet misery is doing nothing to dampen their endless pursuit of first place, with BP Explorer still lying in solid third and chasing hard.

There are also water maker problems onboard Me to You, as skipper James Allen explained: We have now discovered that the high-pressure pump that is essential to the watermaker’s operation is leaking and therefore not supplying water at a high enough pressure.

“The good news is that we have a set of spare seals for the pump so we should be able to fix it. We are now waiting for some calm weather, as we need to remove the pump and dismantle it to replace the seals, not an easy job in a workshop let alone on the saloon table of a yacht bouncing around in the Southern Ocean!”

In other areas of the race it has been an emotional roller coaster for Team Save the Children?s Iain Parr, first passing the sailor’s Everest of Cape Horn and then immediately becoming a father for the first time. His wife, Catherine gave birth to a baby girl, Amy, so there has been much celebrating onboard.

Team Stelmar have been partaking in a spot of ‘Extreme Ironing’ onboard to keep spirits, warmth and fitness up! See photos for proof. It must be working for them as they have now overtaken Pindar, despite being out of the race for around 20 hours earlier on in the week, due to a medical emergency onboard.