The Derry clipper last night remained in first place in the race to Singapore.
Having moved into the pole position for the first time in the round the world race on Monday the Derry team remained on track for its first podium finish in the gruelling competition.
New York and Geraldton Western Australia currently make the other podium positions with more than 1,500 nautical miles to go in Race 7. And last night as the Derry clipper was slowing due to fluctuating wind patterns and the immediate rivals were picking up speed with the gap between the local entry and New York closing to just 23 nautical miles (down from 38 nautical miles on Wednesday).
But skipper Mark Light was happy to be holding on to the coveted top spot.
“We have had a very mixed bag of weather in the last 24 hours which has seen all three spinnakers in use plus the Yankee 1 and staysail. We had a very good run through the night with our heavyweight kite, making some good progress. This definitely seems to be the trend - lots of varying weather by day and more grey and towering clouds, bringing steadier winds after dark. We passed to the north of the Sonsorol Islands during the dawn and then as the wind strengthened and moved forward we changed to white sails. Within 45 minutes the wind had almost deserted us so we re-hoisted a spinnaker, this time the lightweight variety. As the wind increased steadily, throughout the morning we peeled to our medium weight kite, showing the battle scars of six and a half months of ocean racing,” Mark added
With their competitors in sight, Mark is all too aware that such dynamic races can be won and lost in a matter of minutes. “We are now making very steady progress, although mindful that the rest of the Clipper race fleet closing in on us. One thing’s for sure, this is going to be a very close run thing as the fleet converges for the final approach to our next waypoint, the Celebes Sea gate.”