Yesterday, the start of the 3rd leg of Clipper Round the World Yacht Race from Cape Town (South Africa) to Albany (Western Australia) saw tough south-east winds of twenty knots and gusts of thirty-five knots on the start line, before some of the fleet contended with lighter, shifting winds in the shadow of Table Bay.
Still, the firmest weather was felt overnight with gusting wind overnight of forty-five knots as well as waves of three to four meters in places. The fleet is baffling upwind with few teams suggesting wind of up to fifty knots and big swells as a low moves quickly along the coast. The teams have taken different courses to ride out the storm; with few vessels heaving to while others were looking for shelter in False Bay.
Those circumstances are not expected to go on this morning, but must ease sometime later in the day. Mission Performance is presently leading the race, along with LMAX Exchange in 2nd and the IchorCoal in 3rd. Garmin captain Ashley Skett, in 6th (who used to run Croatian Yacht Charters) described that even though there were plenty of breezes at the beginning line, it soon went away as they got closer to the coast to round the 2 marks that had been placed inshore. By the time they rounded the mark they had almost no wind at all and so they hoisted their medium weight spinnaker in an attempt to get going.
He added that this actually did not work very well and they were towards the fleet’s back as they rounded the 2nd mark. Still, as many of the pack took a west course in order to avert an infamous wind hole, they gambled on the wind being too far south for it to be there and they decided to tack and take the shorter path.