The Clipper Race - Derry~Londonderry~ Doire regains the lead

Photo finish in store as Derry~Londonderry~ Doire regains the lead
(c) Clipper Ventures Plc
2013 - 14 Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - With just over 24 hours left in Race 14, Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Team Garmin are currently neck and neck as the Northern Irish entry continues its campaign to break the home port curse. Having regained a marginal lead, Derry~Londonderry~Doire is doing all it can to keep its closest rivals at bay as Race 14 looks set to be one of the closest finishes so far in the Clipper 2013-14 Race.

It’s been a spectacular night of tight match racing as just nine miles now separates the top four boats at the top of the leaderboard. Team Garmin played the perfect tactical manoeuvre yesterday resurfacing from Stealth Mode in first place, which saw Derry~Londonderry~Doire relinquish its lead for the first time in Race 14.

With the pressure building, skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, Sean McCarter describes how the fleet is beginning to bunch up, making the final stages of Race 14 anything but straightforward:

'This morning’s 00:00UTC position reports were nothing short of shocking! We had a pretty slow 6 hour run, in particular the final three hours where our average speed was less than 3.5 knots. Our only consolation at the time was that the boats further south were in less breeze and going as slow if not slower.

'Apparently not! We lost over nine miles to Team Garmin and Jamaica Get All Right, 11 miles to PSP Logistics and over 18 miles to Old Pulteney.'

Meanwhile, Old Pulteney continues to make steady progress having climbed from the back of the fleet into fifth place, with the potential to challenge for a podium position. Skipper Patrick Van Der Zijden explains how he and his team have successfully negotiated the high pressure system:

'We sailed on full mainsail and the medium weight spinnaker while we semi circumnavigated the high pressure area, we are still in good form and closing in on the boats in front of us while the gap opens with the boats behind us, only Henri Lloyd’s position according to us is doubtful as they are still in Stealth Mode until this morning.'

All eyes will be on the Race Viewer this afternoon when Great Britain will emerge from Stealth Mode. Will the tactical gamble have paid off? Or will the British entry have been left wallowing in light winds? All will be revealed at 13:00 today.

The final positions in this 2,850 mile race from New York to Derry-Londonderry will be decided at 13:00 BST (12:00 UTC) tomorrow, Sunday, when places will be awarded on the basis of distance to the original finish line off Greencastle, Northern Ireland.

This will enable all boats to then make best speed, using their motors if necessary, following the unusual weather patterns and lighter conditions experienced in this race.

The first boats are estimated to arrive at Derry-Londonderry on Monday morning, with the full fleet on the Foyle by Tuesday afternoon.