This report, received on 19 August, explans how the race to the finish line off Ambrose Point, New York was right down to the wire

DTG (Distance To Go) now reads 285 and things are hotting up – with New York so close we can almost taste it. Bristol Clipper has been far in the lead for some time now and with the last radio schedule I expected to hear that they had crossed the finish line at Ambrose Point. However it appears all is not well at the front of the fleet.

Bristol made only 46 miles in the last 12 hours, we took 63 out of them with our best-in-fleet 12-hour run of 109 miles. But at 0300 GMT on 19 August, with only 72 miles left, it’s hard to imagine that Bristol will not finish in first place.

At present we have comfortable (tempting fate?) lead of 120 and 106 miles over Glasgow and Leeds respectively and with the last radio schedule, we have taken a three-mile lead on Plymouth. Go on, the ‘Pool! London are only 30 miles ahead and Jersey just 34 so it’s all to play for for second, third and fourth places.

We had to work hard for these figures though. In the last few days our bad luck has come in threes. First the head ripped clear off the heavyweight spinnaker in not particularly taxing conditions. Within 24 hours we had mananged to put the pole through the mediumweight spinnaker and rip the clew and entire foot off. Almost simultaneously, the block on the main sheet went during a gybe. I suspect that Dom, Heather, Nick and Polly wondered what they had done to deserve all this on their watch.

So for a while we had two sick spinnakers under the sailmakers needle. The heavyweight has now been resurrected, the repair took 36 hours in total and it now resembles Bride of Frankenstein and 2300 local time, Tom put the final stitches in the AP (all purpose or mediumweight.) For a period of time, for each waking watch it felt like Groundhog Day, as they stepped bleary-eyed into the saloon to see figures huddled over the damaged sails, stitching furiously.

Needless to say, we are currently beating hard on the wind towards New York but atleast we have our full amoury of sails at the ready for whatever the weather gods throw at us.