With 1,000 miles left on this New Jersey – Jersey leg of The Times Clipper Race, the two boats disputing overall lead are just three miles apart

Yesterday, skipper Bob Beggs’ Bristol Clipper briefly took a three-mile lead over the long-time leg leader and their arch overall rival, Paul de la Haye’s Bristol Clipper. Today, de la Haye’s Channel Islanders – determined to reach their homeport first – have themselves taken a three-mile lead.

With just 0.4 points separating the two boats at the top of the leaderboard, this leg is wide open and whatever happens, the final leg to Portsmouth looks set to become the clincher.

Progress however is marginal with the leading boat, Jersey Clipper, returning a day’s work of just 57 miles and Bristol 69 miles, the final 1,000 miles might take some time.

While these two match race for overall glory, Stuart Gibson’s London Clipper is making excellent progress 180 miles south of the leaders. London caught up 70 miles yesterday in DTF terms and with a comparatively princely day’s work of 127 miles, leaving them just 17 miles off the lead in third place, the leader’s laurels could be heading south shortly.

Following their southerly wake is Matt Baker’s Plymouth Clipper. The second West Country entry recorded the best day’s work of 133 miles, reducing Jersey’s lead by 76 miles and leaving her 55 miles off the lead, and charging. Following suit, Simon Rowell in Leeds has closed up 60 miles and now has a useful 22-mile gap guarding his fifth place from Portsmouth.

Liverpool, Glasgow and Portsmouth are following a northern strategy in their endeavour to find some wind but although they have also faired better than the leaders the going is frustratingly slow. If the southerners lose their current breeze, these three could well regain their places.

The Times Clipper Race: Race 15
Positions at 0300 13 Sept 2001
Pos. Name – DTF (nm) – DTL (nm) – Day’s Run (nm)1. Jersey – 1,033 – 0 – 572. Bristol – 1,036 – 3 – 693. London – 1,050 – 17 – 1274. Plymouth – 1,088 – 55 – 1335. Leeds – 1,133 – 100 – 1176. Liverpool – 1,155 – 122 – 1037. Portsmouth – 1,163 – 130 – 988. Glasgow – 1,173 – 140 – 104