With the leaders still over 600 miles away and high pressure cloaking the fleet's approach, the penultimate leg of the TImes Clipper Race is taking longer than anyone had planned

While the battle between overall Times Clipper trophy contenders Jersey and Bristol Clipper rages on, the remaining six yachts have closed the gap slightly. Liverpool Clipper returned the best day’s run – 169 miles – hauling her from sixth to fourth and gaining 95 miles on the leaders. The Scousers’ run averages out at about six knots, making the last 700 miles into Jersey a bit of a grim prospect.

The leaders struggled yesterday, crawling along in light winds and making a paltry 70 miles in the day. Bob Beggs’ Bristol Clipper was forced into a move north in search of better breeze with which he could attack Paul de la Haye’s Jersey. The move paid off because, although he is still second, he has closed up to within six miles of the homebound Channel Islands’ boat.

Jersey had prepared a crew reception for this Tuesday but they’ll miss the crews. The reception will go ahead and the Clipper fleets’ guests and friends will toast their absence. The leading boat could arrive by Wednesday night but with high pressure moving slowly across the area, even that looks optimistic.

Most boats’ galley lockers will be looking pretty empty about now and rationing will be on the backburner if it hasn’t already been introduced. High pressure has compressed the fleet and at 1500 today the first boat and the eighth were a mere 120 miles apart.

The Times Clipper Race: New Jersey – Jersey
Position. Name – Distance to Finish (nm)1. Jersey – 6162. Bristol – 6223. London – 6784. Plymouth – 6985. Liverpool – 7046. Glasgow – 7257. Portsmouth – 7328. Leeds – 737