One of my favourite things about the Clipper Round the World race is that anyone can do it, and the crew have a wide range of abilities from salty old seadogs to complete novices. The same applies to the race supporters and while we can follow the position of the boats on the Clipper Race Viewer or on Marine Traffic, some, or actually in may case quite a lot of explanation is needed for the non-sailors.
For instance, viewing the race so far, as shown below, are the boats being driven by the weather, tactics or just blundering around at random? Should we worry about what the other boats are doing or just that Dare to Lead (the not quite black one in the bottom left) doesn’t appear to be in the lead yet?
Over on the Dare to Lead supporters Facebook page we have some real experts who have taken the time to explain what is really going on. Louis Andors, who will be with us on Legs 7 and 8 has just explained about all the zigging and zagging, and Joe Schamuhn, who will be sailing Leg 6 on WTC Logistics, updates us about changing winds and Ian Molesworth talks tactics.
Looks like our fleet will be making a decision on whether to make for the scoring gate soon. A gybe ( wind comes across the stern and the boom is moved to the other side of the boat ) and a change of tack towards the gate will show up on track.
Of course the front runners may just decide to run for the full prize of line honours but if a boat further down the line decides to take the score now it could change the final overall! …… Gripping stuff!
Some may notice that the boats rarely sail directly downwind with the wind straight over the stern and will actually zig zag slightly downwind. This is because the boats are slightly faster when there is additional lift provided when sailing with the wind slightly off the stern. You make better overall progress and as we all know, this is a race!
Wind has dropped off somewhat and from the tracks it looks like it has been a long single tack so a chance of some rest for the off duty watches.
Weather for the area looks completely benign for the period, a great relief to those fearing the dreaded Biscay area which can deliver some rough weather!
A huge part of our Dare to Lead ethos is about encouraging the kind of leadership that enables others to reach their full potential (as opposed to charging off ahead without looking back). In this case it involves helping everyone else appreciate the skill and courage involved in the race as much as the ‘experts’ do.
A few more weeks of this and I’ll be sounding like an expert myself!