29 April 2012|
Chasing pack close up for the final 400 miles
For the Global Ocean Race (GOR) leaders, Cessna Citation, there’s high pressure agony tantalisingly close to the finish line in Charleston as the three chasing Class40s, Financial Crisis, Phesheya-Racing and Sec. Hayai thunder north at high speed parallel to the Bahamas.
Having made major gains on Saturday, the brakes went on for Conrad Colman and Scott Cavanough on Sunday morning as Cessna Citation ran into a high pressure system swelling over the final 254 miles to the finish line. “Things have slowed a lot since last night,” reported Cavanough on Saturday evening. “We have to be careful as we still have one more zone of high pressure to cross before we get to the finish line in Charleston and fresh food and drinks…mmmmmm!”
Since speeds dropped at 01:00 GMT on Sunday, Colman and Cavanough have moved west as the chasing pack makes impressive speeds to the south in stable ESE breeze: “The rest of the fleet will carry breeze with them most of the way, so we have to be careful not lose too many miles,” Cavanough continues. “We’ll put in a covering gybe at some stage in the next 24 hours before reaching the high,” he adds. At 12:00 GMT on Sunday, Marco Nannini and Sergio Frattaruolo with Financial Crisis were trailing Cessna Citation by 310 miles with the Italian-Slovak duo looking over their shoulders as Phesheya-Racing moves into 40 miles off their starboard quarter.
For the three first generation Akilaria Class40s, the past 24 hours have delivered some outstanding sailing as the trio push hard, logging every fraction of a mile gained or lost as the boats bunch together for the final miles to the finish line after 28 days of racing. On Phesheya-Racing in third place, it has been some of the most enjoyable sailing of the entire circumnavigation. “We have been sailing the boat really hard over the past day and have been rewarded by a 52.8 mile gain on Financial Crisis,” confirmed Phillippa Hutton-Squire on Sunday morning. “But to be fair, our efforts were partly fuelled by the need to keep Sec. Hayai at bay as they continue to gain incrementally on us,” she adds as the Dutch team of Erik van Vuuren and Yvonne Beusker close in to 90 miles of the South Africans at midday GMT on Sunday.