NEWPORT, R.I. — With the Irish coast just 200 nautical miles away for race leader Wizard at 1500 UTC today, the front runners in the Transatlantic Race 2019 might seem to be on the home straight, but there remain many hurdles and potholes ahead before they cross the Royal Yacht Squadron finish line this weekend.
At present David and Peter Askew’s VO70 and Lee Seng Huang's 100-foot maxi SHK Scallywag (top photo) are attempting to find the best way to exit an area of high pressure just off Ireland’s west coast. Once free, the forecast warns of fickle headwinds for the final 160 nautical miles they must sail up the English Channel to Cowes.
Since late evening Monday the tracker has stopped functioning onboard SHK Scallywag. Positions are now being sent through manually from the maxi and at 1500 UTC this showed her having made major inroads into Wizard’s lead. On Monday morning SHK Scallywag had been trailing her rival by around 90 miles. At 1500 this afternoon this had dwindled to 38 miles, although Wizard was making better speed further from the high’s center.
NEWPORT, R.I. - For the last three days the frontrunners in the Transatlantic Race 2019 have been striding across the North Atlantic at 20-plus-knot speeds, eating up the miles to Cowes in the strong southerlies - exactly the dramatic conditions and high octane experience their crews signed up for.
Sadly, the big speeds and ‘yeehaa’ moments are soon to come to an end for the two frontrunners, David and Peter Askew’s VO70 Wizard and Lee Seng Huang's 100-foot maxi SHK Scallywag, at least. Already this morning, Wizard’s boatspeed had dropped from 20 knots to 15.
The reason for this slow-down is a ridge of high pressure centred off the west of Ireland that lies in their path. As Wizard’s navigator Will Oxley described it: “Wind speed is dropping, the sky is clearing and the barometer is rising. The sleigh ride is coming to an end and now it’s back to tactical sailing. The trick is to get into the high enough to use its shape to get a nice lift on the exit, while keeping enough windspeed to keep moving. Sometimes it feels a bit like Icarus - making sure we don’t fly too close to the sun (read ‘high’).”
Blogs from the Boats
- Yacht Club Trophy - Two-Boat Teams
- 2019 Results
- Finish Photo Gallery
- SHK Scallywag finish photos
- Wind Conditions Enroute
- Photo Galleries
- Tracking & Media Information Sheet
- TR2019 Sat Phone List
- TR2019 Competitor Bulletin #5
- Final Sailing Instructions
- Scratch Sheet
- Yacht Club Trophy Entry List
- Social Ticket Reservation Form
- Notice of Race Incorporating Amendements 1 & 2