Bermuda 14 May: After three days into the Antigua Bermuda Race, strategic decisions have been few, but that is about to change. The fleet will soon feel the effects of a low pressure system to the east and whilst there should be no big difference in wind strength, the likelihood is that the wind is due to veer to the south. The strategic decision will be whether to stay near the rhumb line and reduce the number of miles sailed, or heat up the angle of attack and head northwest. The Antigua Bermuda Race is entering a crucial stage. The reward for the teams that put in a big effort now will be to catch the breeze about 100 miles to the north, but the fresh breeze is moving east and those who fall behind now will miss the opportunity.
Two of the fastest yachts in the race continue to impress; leading on the water is Stephen Murray Jr.'s American Volvo 70, Warrior ahead of British Swan 82, Stay Calm, skippered by Lloyd Kyte. In the last 24 hours Warrior has not only passed Stay Calm, but extended their lead by 43 miles. Don Macpherson's American Swan 90, Freya has also had a spectacular 24-hour run and is now level with Stay Calm. These three powerful yachts are the furthest west of the entire fleet and will hope to get the fresh breeze before the yachts to the east.
Antigua, May 13, 2017: The fleet enjoyed beautiful conditions for the first day and night of the Antigua Bermuda Race. A light easterly breeze of about 8 knots and a gentle sea state provided glorious reaching conditions. By morning on the second day, all of the fleet had passed Barbuda - the next land they will see will be Bermuda, over 800 miles north. The wind experienced was more than forecast and this may allow the faster yachts to hook into good pressure further north. The slower yachts might miss the lift in pressure as it goes east away from the race track. The phrase 'rich get richer' would be an apt comment for the leading boats in the Antigua Bermuda Race. However to reach the rich pickings to the north, the fleet need to cross an area of little wind.
At 0900 ADT on Day Two, the Nigel Irens-designed catamaran, Allegra, of the St. Moritz Sailing Club was 800 miles from Bermuda. Watch Captain, Paul Larsen contacted the media team via satellite just before sundown on Day One:
“The view from the nav. office right here, right now is pretty damned nice! The Caribbean sun is closing fast on the horizon to my left and setting over the very low shores of the island of Barbuda. There is a slight swell, but it's comfortable. Scotty is doing some last checks around the deck before darkness sets in. Behind me, Rick is preparing a steak dinner. Everything is golden on board Allegra! We are making about 8.5 knots across this painting and we're grateful for every one of them,” says world speed sailing record holder, Paul Larsen in his blog from on board.