Westernaustralia.com leads Jersey on Leg 3 of the Clipper Race while New York and Singapore battle it out behind

On the third leg of the Clipper race from Brazil to South Africa, the Clipper yachts New York and Singapore have decided that the way to go faster is to match race, with one boat pitted against the other all the way down the course. Currently Joff Bailey and his crew on New York have the upper hand in third place, but Richard Falk and the Singaporean crew are pushing him hard, and are getting closer all the time. The ironic thing is that New York actually sailed two miles further overnight, doing 84 miles as compared to Singapore’s 82, but as this was on a course more northerly than Singapore’s they ended up crossing just ahead of Singapore and finishing up closer to them.

Through the rest of the fleet the other yachts will all be out of sight of each other. Durban and Victoria (another two who seem to be joined by a long length of bungee) are just under 20 miles apart, so too far to be seen even from the masthead. Liverpool removed a length of barnacle-encrusted mooring line (not their own, Tim Magee was at pains to emphasise) from their keel. This would not have done their boat speed any good at all, and they will be hoping for an increase in daily runs from now on. They do not know when they picked it up, but are not putting the blame on sabotage at all.

The addition of even a hundredth of a knot to average speed can be very significant – that small increment adds up to 1.68 nautical miles per week, so about five miles over the course of this race. Remembering back to the finish into Salvador, five miles more or less would have changed the order of Liverpool and Cardiff finishing. This is why there is always such an emphasis on sail trim and concentration – it is the long term and continuous application of these which lead to consistent results. The occasional slice of good luck doesn’t go amiss either.

The yachts seem to have settled on to their new paths now after yesterday’s separation. The weather is proving tricky on board, with duty skipper Tim Magee on Liverpool reporting light winds (when they weren’t dragging lines off various underwater appendages). Western Australia have had an excellent day’s run, and overnight have extended their lead over second placed Jersey by 15 miles. Glasgow, Liverpool and Qingdao have all had the same 12 hourly run, suggesting that the winds were slightly lighter in the west of the fleet.

Over the next couple of days the fleet will pass over the mid-Atlantic ridge, the dividing line between the continents of Africa and South America. This will not have much, if any, effect on the surface conditions, as the water depth is still over a mile, but is of some psychological importance.

Current positions

1. westernaustralia.com

2. Jersey

3. New York

4. Uniquely Singapore

5. Qingdao

6. Durban

7. Victoria

8. Liverpool 08

9. Cardiff

10. Glasgow