The Clipper Race fleet is currently heading towards Cuba to the finish line of the first leg of the race

The Clipper Race fleet is currently heading towards Cuba to the finish line of the first leg of the race. With good boat speed, Bristol (currently lying in second position) has managed to close the gap between themselves and New York Clipper (the leader) by over 10 miles in the last 12 hours, in a steady 20-25 knots east-sou’-easterly breeze.

The whole fleet has made good progress over the last few hours, with all but New York and Glasgow making over 200 miles towards the finish. As the wind is predicted to ease from the west, there could well be a further concertina effect as the boats in the lead slow up, allowing those further behind to catch up. This will be a hope for many, but none more so than Cape Town Clipper who have sailed valiantly to catch up after their initial slow start from Cascais.

Hong Kong’s continued dive to the south-west is an interesting development. Whereas yesterday they guarded the northern flank with New York and seemed to be potentially in a strong position to take on London and Bristol, today they are well down in the southern group just 17 miles in front of Jersey Clipper.

One possibility is that the skipper has made a conscious decision to cover the boats behind, rather than risk his fourth place by tackling those further ahead. If this is the case then they have made a sound move as they now sit directly in front of the Jersey boat.

And finally, Spinnaker prize of the day is awarded to Liverpool Clipper who managed not only to lose the sheet from the corner of the spinnaker, causing it to fly straight out from the boat like a flag, but then to watch helplessly as it proceeded to lovingly wrap itself around the forestay. The crew must have succeeded in sorting it fairly quickly though, as they have still produced a very respectable mileage. With Rupert Parkhouse and the Glasgow Clipper crew waiting to capitalise on this sort of hitch, a repeat performance will not be welcome!

Latest Positions

04:00, 3 December 2002

1 New York 705.8nm to finish

2 Bristol 821.5 nm to finish

3 London 834.2nm to finish

4 Hong Kong 854.2nm to finish

5 Jersey 870.7nm to finish

6 Liverpool 912nm to finish

7 Glasgow 924.7nm to finish

8 Cape Town 935.8nm to finish