Jamaica leads Clipper fleet to Qingdao

by PR 
Hull & Humber’s Walter Oates on the helm - Clipper 07-08

In a change of fortunes, Jamaica continued to increase their lead on leg six overnight and they have managed to extend their lead to more than 60 nautical miles at the 06:00 hrs report today. Bottom placed after five legs of the Clipper round the world race have been completed, Jamaica is leading the fleet to the next stage port, Qingdao, China.

'The pressure of being in the front is very different from the pressure of being at the back,' reports Jamaica skipper, Simon Bradley. 'First of all you have to navigate! But it is a pressure that we are very happy to adapt to, given the chance. One Love!'

Behind Simon and his crew the battle for second place is intense. Currently Uniquely Singapore, Hull & Humber and Glasgow: Scotland with style Clipper are all showing an equal Distance to Finish and are so close they can see each other across the water. With New York only a further three miles back and second to tenth places separated by approximately 40 nautical miles.

Uniquely Singapore's skipper, Mark Preedy said, 'The crew are over the moon to be in the top three this morning. It has justified all the hard work they have put in. They have never questioned a sail change or a tactical decision. In fact they actively seek the risky strategies just to be different. And it has worked. We know that it is all very close and that things could change in one sched but ninth to third is just brilliant.'

All of the yachts have to keep clear of the exclusion zone around the Spratly Islands before they make a beeline for the southern edge of Taiwan which they have to leave to port.

The forecast winds for this region are influenced by the northeast monsoon so the fleet will continue sailing upwind for at least the next week.

Race Director Joff Bailey says, 'Upwind sailing is hard, physical sailing as the boats are at a constant angle of heel and constantly bashing into waves which break over the boat. So it is wet, uncomfortable and very hot and humid at the moment.'

The first of the yachts are due to arrive in Qingdao on 14 February where they will be berthed in the marina that has been constructed to host the sailing events of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games later this year.

Clipper Fleet - DTF and DTL at 06:00 hrs 2 Feb 2008

1 Jamaica 1759 0
2 Glasgow:Scotland with style 1820 61
3 Uniquely Singapore 1823 64
4 Hull & Humber 1824 65
5 New York 1828 69
6 Durban 2010 and Beyond 1830 71
7 Nova Scotia 1846 87
8 Liverpool 08 1854 95
9 westernaustralia2011.com 1856 97
10 Qingdao 1859 100

Clipper Fleet - Overall Race positions after 5 legs

1 Durban 2010 and Beyond 3 10 4 10 6 33pts
2 Hull & Humber 5 6 7 7 7 32pts
3 Liverpool 08 4.5 7 9 2 9 31.5pts
4 Glasgow:Scotland with style 4 9 8 5 5 31pts
5 westernaustralia2011.com 1 5 5 9 8 28pts
6 New York 1.5 2 10 1 10 24.5pts
7 Nova Scotia 3.5 8 1 6 3 21.5pts
8 Qingdao 2.5 3 6 8 1 20.5pts
9 Uniquely Singapore 2 4 3 4 4 17pts
10 Jamaica 0.5 1 2 3 2 8.5pts

Uniquely Singapore’s Lih Shiun (facing) and Raul work… - Clipper 07-08