Day 3 (Wed 6th Jan 1330 - Thu 7th Jan 1330)
With the race now 72 hours old it is clear that the ocean can be a cruel place. Throughout the last day the fleet have travelled a total of 830 nm, but sadly as many of those miles were south and east, the fleet have made a net loss to the finish of a little over 100nm. This set back is only minimal. By navigating South all the crews knew that they would add miles to the race rather than take them away, but soon it will be for the greater good as the easterly trade winds will act as a conveyor belt across the Atlantic assisting the fleet to Antigua.
Due to the current conditions, a number of the pairs crews and most of the solos have now deployed their para-anchors – a 12 foot parachute designed to sit vertically under the surface of the ocean and hold a vessels position in adverse winds. While on para-anchor crews will be unable to row, which at first seems disadvantageous, but will actually give the early sores that are developing some crucial recovery time, along with some early boat maintenance, so every cloud has a silver lining.
The fours maybe able to cope with the winds as they should have 2 rowing at all times and may be able to overcome the effort required to make distance to the finish – Indeed, it is now the crews of Vivaldi (Rames Dames) and Limited Intelligence that are leading the fleet, albeit narrowly. However this does mean that unlike the solos and pairs, there is no time to rest those sore hands.
The winds on Thursday 07 January are due to turn Northerly and then North Easterly as the day progresses, and thus, come Friday 08 January all crews should by able to turn and head towards the South West again and get back to track.
Britannia III are continuing in a South South Westerly direction. While their gain on the finish is also limited they are covering in excess of 70nm per day so come tomorrow, when the wind has moved around into a favourable direction we should she her accelerate towards the finish and close the gap on the current record. As it stands she now needs an average DMG of 84 nm to break the current record. Watch this space.