Over the last three polls the fleet has compressed east to west. Brasil 1 has traded some of their early lead for westing and sacrificed position down the track as a result. The spread is just 57 miles across the fleet now, down from the 170 or so it was a day or two back. All the boats are heading towards lighter winds, though there is a hint that slightly more breeze is to be found to the west.
At 2200GMT last night the difference in 24 hour speeds was ABN AMRO ONE 16 knots to 13.8 for Brasil 1 and at 0400GMT it was 16.2 knots for the leader and 14.5 to Brasil 1. At 1000GMT the speeds were 16.8 and 14.9 respectively. The big difference though shows in 24 hour run distances, ABN AMRO ONE showing 401 miles, Brasil 1 358 miles and Ericsson 362, ABM AMRO TWO slotting in 377 miles over the 24 hour period up to this morning’s poll.
Overnight Ericsson slipped back from Brasil 1 and now sits 29 miles behind the leader and just two miles ahead of ABM AMRO TWO. Ericsson must have been working hard in the shifty wind, although with little chance of a gybe for a while they must be concentrating on sheer boat speed. Interestingly, the change over point between the Farr boats and the Juan Kouyoumdjian boats was initially thought to be close to these wind speeds – 15 knots or less – but the ABM AMRO team seem to have been working hard to get their acknowledged big wind flyers to keep going as the wind speed falls.
Sunergy and Friends are battling their way along, gybing on every shift and looking to make westing as fast as they can as that’s where the stronger winds still lie, even back where they are. Sunergy and Friends are making 12 knots or so through the water, but still have to improve their VMG down the track. Unfortunately for the Aussie boat, the weather gods don’t seem to be smiling on them. Lighter winds and a big veer to the east won’t help their cause and looks like being their situation for the rest of the day.
Make do and mend was the order of the day for most of the boats yesterday, but the pleasure of fast sailing in trade wind conditions – tee-shirt and shorts – will have put the smiles back on the faces of the crews still out on the course today.