Leg 1 is coming to and end

Unicef_crewshot Unicef remains in a small group of boats at the rear of the pack. It seems that the boats in the front are getting all the strong winds and there is nothing left by the time the rear of the fleet reaches the area. But maybe I am too biased to consider other reasons.

From the race standings you can see that as Unicef are 1380 miles behind the leader LMAX Exchange who will heave berthed in Rio de Janeiro as you read this. Its shows how different ocean racing is to dingy racing. In smaller boats you are in a compact area where the weather is much the same. A little more wind from a little more favourable direction on one side compared to the other side maybe, but nothing much more. What we have seen in the last four weeks is that yachts are going backward on a current in very light winds while the yachts at the front are steaming ahead under spinnaker sails at 9 to 11 knots.

I explained about the new Doldrums rules where the yachts have to motor from 6 degrees of latitude to 2 degrees of latitude and the reasons why. This was all on the assumption that the Doldrums were in that location at the time the yachts would sail through that area. Although this was true for the first five yachts, the Doldrums moved north shortly afterwards and the pack at the rear had trouble reaching the 6 degrees of latitude. Unicef and others were stuck in the Doldrums for two days making no headway and going backwards on some occasions while the leader LMAX Exchange set the new speed record for this leg at 26.2 knots!!!

It is just not fare!!

The crew diaries are fun the read. There are twelve yachts racing and each write a crew diary every day. 12 crew diaries to read every day! It is interesting how the Unicef Crew diaries are slowly changing as the race progress. Just read the latest one from Henry Dale our media man aboard it gives a good impression of life aboard when the boat heels over.

Team Unicef are carrying a letter round the world signed by child survivors of violence as a reminder of the dangers that children face in every corner of the world. It has been signed by children from five countries that the Clipper Race will visit: Brazil, South Africa, Australia, the Netherlands and the UK.

The next event for the Unicef Team is the Ocean Sprint. The winner of the Ocean Sprint is the yacht that finishes the section between the lines of latitude 5 degrees south and 10 degrees south quickest. Not the first to do so but the fastest. The yacht with the shortest elapsed time for the Ocean Sprint will be awarded two points and will receive the Andy Ashman Memorial Plate which will be presented in Rio. So although Unicef is at the rear of the pack they could still be awarded two points for the fastest Ocean Sprint. The current the time to beat was set by Qingdao at 30 hours and 11 minutes.

Garmin went into Stealth Mode. Stealth Mode is a tactical card, which each team can play to hide their position from the rest of the fleet for the period of 24 hours. The Race Office team still track the team’s position every hour but their position is not displayed on the Race Viewer or sent to the fleet for the designated time. Stealth Mode does not have to be used by each team but can potentially give an advantage during a race, especially when the Skipper and navigators on board think they have spotted something in the weather reports that they think other teams may not have seen.

Estimated arrival for Unicef is 2nd October.

Flights are booked, the Australia itenary is taking form, kit is being transported to Sydney and three of my four VISA applied and received.

Just ten weeks before my departure to join the team.