Day 4 (Thu 7th Jan 1330 - Fri 8th Jan 1330)
Day 4 brought good news to the fleet, the North Westerly winds that have been pushing crews towards Africa have now swung around and are taking the fleet South and South South West, which means that those who have been on para-anchor can start to row again. This has resulted in the best performance yet for the fleet, having completed 707nm of DMG, an average of 24nm per boat.
Those keeping a close eye on proceedings will have noted the regular change at the top of the progress chart. As it stands, Karukera are leading the fleet and the pairs event, with Vivaldi (Rames Dames) currently leading the fours race and the boat JJ, rowed by Charlie Pitcher leads the solo class. With the conditions now favouring the fleet, the next few days should prove interesting with crews now deciding how far south they are willing to row to pick up stronger winds, at the risk of adding too many miles – tactics are now a key player as this race unfolds.
Several crews have already had encounters with ships. At present the fleet are crossing several shipping lanes, and while this is always a concern there are procedures in place to avoid any collisions. Firstly, all crews in the fleet have a GPS (Global Positioning System) and attached to this is an AIS (Automatic Identification System). The two electronic devices work in unison to allow a crew to know both their position, and the position of any ships within approximately 20nm of them, this allows both crews to take action early. However, should any crew remain on course for collision the units maybe set up to sound an alarm, if this fails crews are able to contact the ship using their VHF radio and take any necessary preventative measures. If all else fails, crews are advised to have a white handheld flare in there cabin. If a ship gets to close for comfort, competitors will set off the flare, which will alert the bridge off the ship bearing down on them and allow time for a change of course.
Britannia III are continuing to make good distance South, and as expected were slight shy of 30nm of DMG, but still managed in excess of 75nm of actual rowing. This bodes well for the coming days as the wind will finally help them, and they start to think about routing in a South Westerly direction.