Global Ocean Race: Buckley Systems extends lead in race to Gibraltar

Ross and Campbell Field - Global Ocean Race 2011-12 start

At the 0600hrs position sked, the father and son crew of Ross and Campbell Field led the Global Ocean Race by almost seven nm from Campagne de France (Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron).

In third place, within a few hundred metres of Campagne de France is Phesheya Racing (Nick Leggatt and Philippa Hutton-Squire).

The green balloon indicates the position of Buckley Systems at the 0600 sked on the morning of 26 September. The Race started in Palma, Mallorca visible to the right of the graphic.

Conditions are believed to be light - around 8-10kts with a breeze from 065 - a favourable direction.

Course options - Buckley Systems - Global Ocean Race 0600 26 September 2011
According to www.predictwind.com!PredictWind, the boats would be travelling at about 9kts (the actual position shown on race reports from www.globaloceanrace.com show BSL making 8.7kts at the time of the sked). They were sailing just under half a knot faster than the second and third boats.

Over the next few hours winds are expected to increase to the mid-teens but still coming from behind, on the red northerly course, and BSL is expected to pass through the Straits of Gibraltar around 1800hrs on 27 September UTC.

Predictwind shows two course options for Buckley Systems - a more inshore (northerly option) or a turn south. The attraction of the more southerly route is that for the next few hours winds are predicted to increase to 25 kts, with BSL predicted to be averaging 15kts offsetting the slightly longer distance. The predictions come together at about the same point around 1900hrs on the 26 September. The point being that a rhumbline course will not be as successful, according to the current wind projections and data.

Update at 6.00pm UTC 12 hours later on the next sked, Buckley Systems had extended her lead to 10nm, and had taken the northerly course option shown in the graphic. Her surrounding competitors had made the same move and the leaders had made a move towards the French coast.

From Gibraltar the yachts will head for the first stopover in Capetown, South Africa.

Oliver Dewar reports for Global Ocean Racing:

Following a light-airs start on Sunday afternoon, the six double-handed, Global Ocean Race Class40s are now in stable, following breeze, running down to the Straits of Gibraltar with Ross and Campbell Field on BSL at the front of the fleet.

Holding fifth place east of the main group of boats, Marco Nannini and Paul Peggs on Financial Crisis were leading the fleet momentarily: 'The early part of the race was very tiring and frustrating, playing light winds bingo,' reported Nannini on Monday morning. 'Everyone was trying to get away from the island of Mallorca and into the offshore wind, all very close to each other, but sometimes sailing completely different angles,' he explains. 'We had a lucky break at some stage and overtook first BSL, then Campagne de France and Cessna Citation, technically taking the overall lead before grinding to a halt.' Their time a the front of the fleet was short lived: 'BSL and Phesheya from the back went off to the M25 motorway and found some wind and circled us like we were stuck in a central London traffic jam.'

Meanwhile, The New Zealand duo of Ross and Campbell Field continue to make the best speed on BSL, averaging 10.7 knots in around 14 knots of north-easterly breeze with Halvard Mabire and Miranda Merron just over eight miles astern with Campagne de France in the 09:00 GMT Monday position poll. 'It was a pretty light start to the race, involving quite a few sail changes,' confirms Merron. 'We were swearing at clouds - no wind, handled better by some of the competition - but now it is a rather nice Monday morning at the office, sunny, 15-18 knots of wind, under spinnaker.' Holding third place, the South African duo of Nick Leggatt and Phillippa Hutton-Squire on Phesheya-Racing are just one mile off Mabire and Merron’s port beam, with Conrad Colman and Hugo Ramon on Cessna Citation trailing Campagne de France by three miles in fourth place.

While the pack of five boats are separated by under 23 miles, the Dutch duo of Nico Budel and Ruud van Rijsewijk trail the fleet leader by 40 miles in a lighter band of breeze on Sec. Hayai. Although this early deficit for the team may be a setback, it is unlikely to dim the atmosphere on board as Budel celebrates his 72nd birthday today. Happy birthday Nico!