After gybing yesterday afternoon, race leaders Cheminées Poujoulat are now on a straight-line sprint towards Australia. Bernard Stamm and Jean Le Cam lead second placed Neutrogena by 177 miles this morning, making 18 knots in 30-knot north-westerlies with a 4-5 metre swell. They have another 48-50 hours of similar, tactically straightforward Southern Ocean sailing before they pass Cape Leeuwin on the south-western tip of Australia.
Full power to Australia
NEWS FEB 5, 2015 07:03
Neutrogena is shadowing the leaders around 1° further north, and experiencing similar conditions, possibly a slightly more westerly wind, hence this morning’s slightly north-easterly heading.
GAES Centros Auditivos and Renault Captur in third and fourth respectively are riding the back of the same system as the leaders. These two are in unavoidable direct westerlies, and are making great pace – GAES Centros Auditivos at over 19 knots this morning – but at the cost of some seriously intense crew work, both gybing frequently overnight in order to make ground to the east.
Equidistant between Renault Captur and One Planet One Ocean Pharmaton, fifth placed We Are Watercontinues to sail in their own system, around 600 miles behind Renault and 600 miles in front of One Planet, the Garcia brothers are reaching in 18-20 knots and making 13-14 knot boat speed averages.
Behind them, One Planet One Ocean and Spirit of Hungary are together battling their same frontal system. After a series of headwinds they this morning have brief respite with the wind shifting to become more southerly, but can expect it to resume its south-easterly onslaught by this afternoon, with 20-knot upwind conditions reducing boatspeed to an uncomfortable 11 knots or so for at least 24 hours.