After a day of scorching speeds in the south, Fila has succumbed to the inevitable and begun to converge on the rhumb line route favoured by Kingfisher and Ecover
It’s the morning after the day before for Sill and Fila. After a day of potentially record-breaking speeds of 18-20 knots sustained, the southerly option is about to close. Fila is already making the dirty dash north in readiness for a new Atlantic low approaching from the Gulf of St Lawrence and Sill is following, 64 miles astern. This new system should bring 20-30 knots from the west-southwest, from the front to the back of the fleet over the next 24 hours.
Kingfisher and Ecover are now back in second and third place respectively after Sill rocketed into second last night at over 20 knots. Nick Moloney’s decision to gybe south, away from the rhumb line, about 36 hours ago – reversed after losing 30 miles in a few hours – does not seem to have cost the Australian skipper too dearly but he could have built a tidy lead with those miles. At 1749 this morning, Kingfisher was 59 miles behind Fila, pretty much the same as yesterday, while Ecover was keeping Kingfisher on her toes from her position three miles astern.
Race router George Caras believes Moloney and Golding are in the box seats if they can stick with the good decisions they have already made. “I think you will see that by Monday the boats north are going to be getting into the best winds.” With good breeze and the shortest distance to sail, the decision to head north is fast becoming a no-brainer.
Gartmore’s attempt to cover the entire fleet is easing her gently out of the back door. Josh Hall’s 1998-generation boat is now fifth, 183 miles off the lead and 120 miles away from fourth. The girls of the 1993-vintage AlphaGraphics, still following the southerly path, are 80 miles behind Gartmore but have yet to make any moves north. They will need to do so pronto if they are to keep tabs on Gartmore and maybe even get off the bottom of the leaderboard.