Just one mile separates Global Challenge yachts Spirit of Sark and Team Stelmar with less than 500 miles to the third leg finish
Global Challenge yachts Spirit of Sark and Team Stelmar may have crept ahead of the fleet by 6nm today on the third leg of the race from Wellington to Sydney but there are nine yachts placed third to 11th separated by just five miles in terms of distance to finish.
Andy Forbes, skipper of BG Spirit chatted from the boat: “The wind has increased in strength throughout the day and the fleet has been averaging speeds over 11 knots.
“We’ve got about 25-30 knots of wind from the south-south-east, a moderate sea, probably about 2-3 metres, and we’re romping along at anything up to 15 knots.”
The high-pressure system that was north of the fleet yesterday has moved off to the east as expected and is dissipating rapidly, ceasing to be an influence on the area.
The main feature is still the low-pressure system now centred over the fleet, which is moving rapidly south-east and intensifying, feeding the fleet with fresh south-south-east wind.
A very well-formed high-pressure system to the west of Tasmania is currently moving east, which will cause the wind in the Tasman Sea to veer from the south-south-east to the west-south-west this evening.
“We’re only about a mile and a half away from each other and literally going wave for wave,” continued Forbes, describing the proximity of BP Explorer, “It’s going to be a fight to the finish, no doubt about it.”
They may only be just over a mile apart, but on the leader board they are separated by 3 places; testament to the close racing that shows no sign of abating as the teams pass the halfway mark – now within 500 miles of Sydney Harbour.
“It’s going to be a very difficult leg,” said David Melville, skipper of BP Explorer, “because the fleet is running down a fairly narrow zone, to date the gains and losses that are being traded are fairly small so 1 or 2 miles is significant.”
Despite lying in 11th place on the leader board, David still sees BP Explorer as a serious contender, judging by his response when asked how he rated his chances of a top three finish at this stage: “Getting on the podium is always our plan and we’ve done alright so far, so with 500 miles to go I don’t think anyone has written us off.”
Spirit of Sark 481nm to the finish at Sydney
Team Stelmar 482nm to the finish at Sydney
Samsung 488nm to the finish at Sydney
VAIO 488nm to the finish at Sydney
Me to You 489nm to the finish at Sydney
Team Save the Children 490nm to the finish at Sydney
Barclays Adventurer 490nm to the finish at Sydney
BP Explorer 492nm to the finish at Sydney
SAIC La Jolla 493nm to the finish at Sydney
Imagine It. Done. 493nm to the finish at Sydney
BG SPIRIT 493nm to the finish at Sydney
Pindar 502nm to the finish at Sydney