2019 Antigua Bermuda Race - Day Three
The 2019 Antigua Bermuda Race entered a new phase on the second night (Thursday 9th May) of the 935 mile race to Bermuda. The international fleet encountered a pressure ridge over a thousand miles wide, right across the race course. Race leader, Supermaxi SHK Scallywag (HKG) came to a grinding halt and watched the rest of the fleet close the gap until they too lost the breeze. Scallywag's tactic of sailing almost 175 miles west of the rhumb line looked to work in their favour as the easterly going ocean current did at least work in their favour. However, during the night, it was snakes and ladders as one boat after another lost or gained in the patchy breeze. Behind the leader, teams are still using their own strategies to maximise performance and get through the light air and make it to the fresh breeze north.
At 1400 AST on Day Three, SKH Scallywag was back in the breeze, making 15 knots of boat speed, with 400 miles to go to the finish. Afansay Isaev Maxi Weddell (RUS) was approximately 100 miles behind the leader. The chasing pack were enjoying tight racing with only 18 miles of separation between the next five boats: Esprit de Corps IV (CAN), Pata Negra (GBR), Maremosso (GER), Challenger (CAN), Raucous (SUI).
“It was hard to see the Open 40 Raucous approach and pass us, and even harder not to follow them jib reaching due north,” commented Meg Reilly. “But we were patient and held our course, preparing for the best positioning for the wind holes ahead. So we worked with what we had. Sure the Code Zero would’ve been perfect, but we don’t have that sail (yet). So we tried double-slotting with the jib and a reefed staysail, and then eventually we hoisted the A3 with full staysail and have been running that combo at hot angles ever since. Currently squeezing 6-7 knots boat speed in breeze not too much stronger than that. Driving must be fine-tuned and precise to maintain momentum and keep the kite filled. Small light air patches ahead, but with a slow residual swell and a slightly reachy angle, we can keep Hermes moving ahead.”
The international fleet racing in the 2019 Antigua Bermuda Race is expected to reach the fresh winds north of their position during tonight, (Friday 10th May).