Clipper Round the World - Skippers examine weather routing info

Race 14, day 13
Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race
In the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race, Derry~Londonderry~Doire is hanging onto its lead of 14.8 miles on the distance to finish over second-placed Great Britain as of 1200 BST (UTC+1) despite choosing to bear away and run north over the top of the new high pressure system.

Yesterday, the Race Office announced the race to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland will have a time limit applied due to the challenging weather patterns hampering some of the fleet’s progress.

The fleet’s direct route to the finish passes through the centre of the high pressure system which will result in the yachts stalling and slowing down. The only alternative is for them to either go above or below the high pressure which will lengthen the time to finish.

The teams are now carefully analysing tactics to put their yachts in the best position by 13:00 BST (12:00 UTC) on Sunday 22 June when distance to finish at that time will be used to award places and enable boats to make best speed to Derry-Londonderry by motor-sail.

Sean McCarter, skipper of home port boat Derry~Londonderry~Doire, explained his team’s decision regarding the current weather system.

'On receiving our daily instalment of weather information yesterday morning, it was immediately apparent that an important decision was needed. We could either continue with our plan of sailing into the high until the breeze dropped and tack south to start a long slow beat under it.

'After going over the routing for both options, we decided that heading north would mean sailing less miles on faster angles whilst dodging the light patches on the west coast that are also hindered by tides.

'The unfortunate part was that we would have to sacrifice a large portion of our lead to reposition ourselves for the new strategy. The hope is to gain some of this back in a day or two as we pick up a more favourable heading before the chasing pack. Only time will tell...'

Great Britain skipper Simon Talbot said he was facing a routeing tactical nightmare as the forecasts have varied day on day about the exact location of the high and how it will move.

The yacht went into Stealth Mode at 1200 UTC today where its tactics will be hidden for a 24 hour period.

'Now we have the time limit on the race, the conundrum becomes slightly different, in that we now need a route that will minimize our distance to finish, rather than actually necessarily getting us to Derry-Londonderry. This has proven to be a source of great head scratching today as we go over and over the scenarios and keep re-reading the weather to see if there is something in there that we have missed.'

Simon Rowell, the Clipper Race meteorologist, added the high pressure system west of Ireland should start to edge slowly south in the next 48 hours.

'There should be a relatively narrow band of favourable winds to the north of this which some of the yachts are clearly trying to take advantage of, banking on faster boat speed to balance the greater distance involved, while to the south of it the yachts there will carry on beating into light to moderate headwinds.'

Meanwhile, Old Pulteney is provisionally the fastest team through the Ocean Sprint so far with a time of 13 hours 57 minutes and 36 seconds. Qingdao and Mission Performance are still in the Ocean Sprint section of the course.

The first boat is expected to arrive in Derry-Londonderry on the morning of Monday 23 June with the remainder of the fleet due on the Foyle by the afternoon of Tuesday 24 June.

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 Position - Team DTL
Derry~Londonderry~Doire0NM
Great Britain153NM
Team Garmin61NM
Jamaica Get All Right93NM
PSP Logistics66NM
Old Pulteney102NM
One DLL109NM
Switzerland167NM
Henri Lloyd173NM
Qingdao253NM
Invest Africa349NM
Mission Performance344NM
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