Glasgow: Scotland with style hold onto lead in light conditions and thick fog 30/4/08

Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper continues to hold on to a slender lead as both Hull & Humber and New York push the team hard in the light and difficult conditions. In addition to the lighter winds most skippers reported that they also had to deal with thick fog yesterday. Marcus Cholerton-Brown, skipper of Qingdao, says, “We’ve had some great sailing over the last 24 hours in a mixture of weather conditions; one minute in full thermals in the night then down to swimmers the moment the sun comes up. We could have done without the fog which dropped visibility down to about 50 metres, but it did bring with it a bit more breeze.”

Joff Bailey, Race Director, says, “The racing does not stop because of the fog. When the teams are in fog or reduced visibility one member of the crew will be allocated to radar watch to spot any hazards that may be around.”

This was certainly the case onboard Jamaica according to skipper Simon Bradley who says, “As it became dark this evening it was quite eerie as the fog seemed to close in from all sides. The crew are keeping ultra alert on deck maintaining lookout by sight and sound, while down below decks a radar watch is in place – so far we’ve been on our own.”

The inshore tactics followed by do not appear to have worked as they drop further behind the leading group, all of whom have taken the middle ground. Skipper of the WA team, Martin Silk, says, “Dense fog stole the pressure from our sails overnight as we headed for the coast, the wind remaining light until Isla Cedros appeared this morning with a huge orange sun in silhouette. Whilst almost becalmed, the light airs off Isla Cedros hounded us for most of the day and have cost us dearly. Fortunately, the afternoon arrived bringing more wind pressure and it was away with the windseeker and up with our medium weight kite. Since sunset, we have performed a few more evolutions whilst we pray for the pressure to hold as the race to catch up has now begun.”

Liverpool 08 is still hopeful that their bold move to stay offshore will pay off but the closer the teams get to the southern tip of Baja California the less likely this is. Ben Galloway, skipper of Liverpool 08, ponders their tactics saying, “To follow the pack or not to follow the pack? That is the question.”

Joff Bailey says, “Due to the North American land mass the race course has a dog leg at the southern end of Baja, California, where the teams can begin to steer the yachts in a much more direct route towards the finish in Panama.”

Expecting a fast run down the coast of Mexico is Durban 2010 and Beyond. Skipper of the South African team, Ricky Chalmers, says, “The course is good, and I am expecting more west in the wind tomorrow which should give us a better apparent wind angle and resultant speed. Then it looks like we have another light day before the wind picks up a bit and also backs to the west. So it might actually be quite a quick passage past Mexico.”

Positions at 0600 UT, 29 April 2008:

1. Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper: Distance to Finish (DTF) 2327
2. Hull & Humber: DTF 2330 (Distance to Leader 3)
3. New York: DTF 2331 ( 4)
4. Qingdao: DTF 2344 ( 17)
5. Uniquely Singapore: DTF 2360 ( 33)
6. Nova Scotia: DTF 2364 ( 37)
7. Durban 2010 and Beyond: DTF 2383 ( 56)
8. DTF 2391 ( 64)
9. Jamaica: DTF 2401 ( 74)
10. Liverpool 08: DTF 2470 ( 143)