The Fleet appears to be split into two distinct packs of a lead group of 6 and a trailing pack of 5. Ha Long Bay Vietnam have been the first Yacht this edition of the Race to use Stealth Mode, emerging from their invisibility cloak in 3rd place. Right now the leading yachts are off the coast of Western Sahara roughly half way between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde Islands. The Scoring Gate lies ahead, with Sanya, Qingdao and Ha Long Bay looking best placed but there is still much to play for. Further ahead, but drawing ever closer, is the Doldrums and the Doldrums Corridor.
Now for the busy reader I can cover the Doldrums Corridor rules in just five words ……… You Can Use Your Motor.
Simples. Busy readers may now move on.
But, like most things Clipper it’s not really quite that simple. As I touched on in a previous blog (see Blog 80: They’re Off Again, published 15 September), the Doldrums, or the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is the area where the northeast and southeast trade winds converge. It encircles the globe near the thermal equator, though its specific position varies with the seasons. Within the ITCZ the average winds are slight. As trans-Atlantic sailing became more common-place in the 18th Century, sailors named this belt the doldrums because of the calm, inactive winds. To avoid, or rather reduce the time Clipper yachts may be becalmed within the ITCZ the Doldrums Corridor and the Rules were established.
For those interested in the detail ………
The positioning of Doldrums Corridor and the North and South Gates are defined in the race instructions. Both lie north of the equator for this race and look like this:
Each yacht is permitted to use its engine whilst in the Corridor subject to the following criteria:
- Yachts are ONLY allowed to motor-sail for a maximum of 6 degrees of Latitude which must take a minimum time of 60 hours to complete.
- All yachts MUST cease motor-sailing at 3 degrees North regardless of whether they have completed 6 degrees of latitude under engine.
- All yachts MUST declare their intention to motor-sail a minimum of 3 hours before doing so. 60 hours elapsed time will begin to be calculated from this declared time regardless of whether the engine is being used or not.
- When a yacht’s engine is started or stopped a declaration must be made to the Race Office within 3 hours, stating the time UTC, latitude and longitude and a digital photograph taken. This will allow the calculation of 6 degrees of latitude to be made.
- If 6 degrees of latitude is covered by the yacht before 60 hours has elapsed the yacht must REMAIN at that position of latitude. A declaration must be made to the Race Office within 3 hours and a digital photo taken.
- If a yacht must wait for 60 hours to elapse then before resuming racing it must return to its declared latitude. A declaration must be made to the Race Office within 3 hours after resuming racing and a digital photo taken so that the restart position can be verified.
- Once a yacht has declared their intention to motor-sail the request cannot be rescinded.
- All yachts MUST report their time of crossing latitude 9 degrees North within 3 hours of doing so regardless of whether they are sailing or not. This is so an elapsed time of 60 hours can be calculated, if for example a team decide to start motor-sailing at 5 degrees N they clearly cannot complete 6 degrees of latitude before 3 degrees N is reached.
Ruth is SO glad she asked!!!!!
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