Published: Tuesday, 28 June 2016

A wind hole at the centre of the North Atlantic High could engulf the fleet, with weather reports and tactics being analysed carefully on day 7 of The LegendDerry Finale.

Clipper Race Fleet Surviving North Atlantic High Wind Hole 1

(Photos: Clipper Race)

The winds started lightening considerably June 26, and boat speeds are getting low in the fluky airs at around the halfway mark of the race to Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland.

ClipperTelemed+ is leading the fleet, with former race leader Derry~Londonderry~Doire in second and LMAX Exchange in third after coming out of Stealth Mode as it attempted to bluff the other teams regarding going for the Scoring Gate.

Garmin, which also came out of Stealth Mode and didn’t go for the Scoring Gate either, is in seventh position, one place below its big rival GREAT Britain.

“It's been a bit of a tense day wondering if we are going to avoid the clutches of the ridge of high pressure due to form over the fleet,” describes ClipperTelemed+ Skipper Matt Mitchell. “Not making it far enough along the race course could spell disaster as we would be sitting in light and fluky airs for well over 24 hours before starting to move again.

Clipper Race Fleet Surviving North Atlantic High Wind Hole 2

“We have managed to keep moving all day but are by no means out of danger yet. The wind is doing all the right things at the moment - veering towards the west is a sign that we are to the north of it as well as increasing slightly so there is a glimmer of hope. The barometer has risen a little though, which is a concern.

“The next few hours will make the situation clearer. Fingers crossed at this time tomorrow we'll be sailing at 12 knots towards Derry-Londonderry,” he adds. The team entered Stealth Mode and would conceal its position from the rest of the fleet for 24 hours.

LMAX Exchange Skipper Olivier Cardin states his intention to gybe north as the wind veered to attempt to escape the centre of the high and the lightest winds.

“We are now entering the extending ridge coming out of the Azores High,” says Qingdao Skipper Bob Beggs. “We hope the rest of the fleet is also under the same influence and slowing down. Our Nobletec weather routing software encourages us to pop into the ice box to escape the light winds, this would of course lead to disqualification and possible ice so we will give that option a miss. 

Clipper Race Fleet Surviving North Atlantic High Wind Hole

“So we should all be battling our way through the light airs at the moment this hopefully will bring a shakeup of the fleet time will tell, but there is always one escape artist.”

The Clipper Race fleet is due to arrive in Derry-Londonderry, Northern Ireland July 7-11.