Jersey Clipper, bound for her home port, has Bristol's west country breath warming her neck as The Times Clipper Race enters its final phase

Channel Islander Philip Jeune, racing onboard Jersey Clipper, reported that his crew has been smelling the coffee this morning as their only rival for the overall Times Clipper trophy, Bristol Clipper, hove into view.

“If the crew of Jersey Clipper need any additional incentive to gain that extra ounce of speed they now have only to look astern. There, about nine miles on our port quarter, lies the distinctive sail shape of a Clipper spinnaker – Bristol Clipper, to be precise. Still hundreds of miles from land, and after two weeks of determined ocean racing, the New Jersey-Jersey leg of the Times Clipper 2000 race has taken on the intensity of a match race in inshore waters.

“Now that we can see each other – not quite the whites of our eyes but certainly the whites of our sails – the duel has become that much more intimate. Tonight we shall see their masthead light in our wake, a constant reminder of their presence and the threat they pose. It will make us dig deeper and sharpen our concentration – the battle is on and there will be no let up until we cross the finish line.”

The gap between the two boats briefly widened from three miles to nine, but today’s figures once again put the two boats just three miles apart with a little under 800 miles still to sail. Jersey will be racing to make their homeport first but both crews, 0.4 points apart at the top of the leaderboard, will be very much aware that the Times Clipper trophy contains a cheque for £10,000.