Offshore pays - Day Two
Monday morning and it is raining in Plymouth, the good news for virtually all the fleet is they are now around Portland Bill and heading west and can expect to see an increase in wind, a Southwesterly building to a stiff 17 Knots by around midday, before swinging West then north west at about 15 Knots, as the leading boats get around Land's End.
Mike Slade's canting keel maxi, ICAP Leopard, is storming away at average speed of over 14 knots and hitting 20 knots plus in the gusts. They chose an offshore route across Lyme Bay which looks to have paid off handsomely. They look to be getting as far west as possible, to clear Land's End before tacking on the north westerly header and hopefully lining up the Rock, 200 miles away.
Niklas Zennstrom's, RAN, are still leading the Super Zero fleet on the water and handicap but Vittorio Volontes STP 65, Luna Rossa, is in a good position and only nine miles behind.
There is a titanic battle in IRC 3A between two Sigma 38's; Nick Gale's Zanzara and Nigel Goodhew's Persephone of London are neck and neck at the top with Zanzara just 1.5 miles in front.
Ian Laing's Swan 53 Sassenach leads IRC 1A, but Cyrille Legloahec's A 40, Batistyl, tacked offshore last night and made a big gain and is now only 2 miles off the lead and probably leading class on handicap.
In IRC Class Zero A, David Richards' Farr 45, Shadow is leading on the water but back in fifth and probably way ahead on handicap is John Shepherd's Ker 46, Fair Do's VII who have had a glamourous start to the race. They showed great confidence in their convictions, by going offshore as soon as they left the Solent and it looks to have paid off.
It is a complicated picture at the moment but the headlines are probably RAN in the driving seat overall and ICAP Leopard in with a chance of the record, their ETA at the Rock is similar to 2007 but there is a long way to go yet!