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Clipper Round the World Race - Tactics play out in mighty Pacific race    
Fri, 28 Mar 2014

In the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, with 3,500 miles of racing across the North Pacific to go until the welcome sight of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the 12 teams have positioned themselves for the low pressure system that is developing as it draws ever closer 10 days into Leg 6.

Tactics are currently playing out for the yachts in the treacherous North Pacific Ocean where a lot of the time, the closest other humans to the teams will be those on the International Space Station, highlighting the extreme challenge of Leg 6.

The majority of the fleet has positioned itself to the south to aim to avoid the worst of both a giant wind hole and the strongest winds of the impending, northerly front, whilst hoping to hold on to the potentially fairer but more steady winds that are expected to pay first dividends.

Simon Rowell, the Clipper Race meteorologist, said the 925 hPa winds are showing between 50 and 60 knots, he expects to see gusts in the 60s, and up to the 70s depending on where the teams are.

Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, chairman and founder of the Clipper Race, said: 'The teams have had some fantastic sailing with favourable winds on Leg 6 so far, the boats have been sailing really fast.

'The boats that are furthest south such as Jamaica Get All Right are best placed to benefit from the strong winds on the beam which will make for perfect reaching conditions over the next three days.

'The yachts that took a risk and stayed further north will lose out as they face strong headwinds.'

Simon Talbot, skipper of Great Britain said he took the decision to throw away his team’s lead and head back south to attempt to avoid the worst of both the wind hole and the headwinds.

'This has meant sacrificing a number of positions on the leaderboard, which was expected but still a very bitter pill to swallow.

'So has the plan worked? Well as with anything that is based upon the weather forecast, it is still really too early to tell.'

The teams are around 250 miles/24 hours from the Scoring Gate, and 450 miles further down the race track from the Scoring Gate is the International Date Line.

Clipper Round the World

by Marina Thomas

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