LAT 07 08.4N
LONG 110 24.7E
ETA 0600Z 20 FEB 12
WEATHER WIND 034/14 SEA 4 SWELL N1M CLOUD 3/8 CL BARO 1011
Gold Coast Australia has been making good ground overnight on the other yachts in the fleet managing to find more wind than
the other yachts and being on the right side of the course to take maximum advantage of the increasing wind that has a
greater resemblance to the GRIB files than the light fickle winds over the past few days.
In addition to the developing wind yesterday we found the eddie of current that I had researched prior to the race start and
have been looking for ever since. The eddie has not only been identified by the extra 1-2kts of speed that we have over
ground, but also (unfortunately) by the number of floating plastic bottles and other junk that we have been seeing that appear to be trapped in the vortex.
Last night we passed through a large fishing fleet who were trawling in the South China Sea. The trawler captains were
quite inquisitive of our yacht and consequently altered course to take a better look. As a result we passed the bow of one
of the larger fishing vessels at no more than 300 yards, close enough to see the captain wave at us in his lit up wheel
house. It was very pleasant to see that he was friendly and his actions of altering course were to take a better look at our 68ft racing yacht as opposed to warning us off their fishing grounds.
As the wind has gradually increased throughout the morning we have changed from our Yankee 1 to our Yankee 2 headsail and
continue to power on to the scoring gate. Later today our course will take us past a number of reefs and banks which will no doubt attract vast numbers of fishing vessels.
Before the start I divided this race into three phases. Phase one was the start to the scoring gate, phase two scoring gate
to Taiwan, Phase three Taiwan to Qingdao. We now have just over 300nm to sail until we reach the scoring gate, and we will
be working hard to maintain our lead to ensure we reach the gate in first place and win another three points before entering
the second phase of the race towards Taiwan. Overall we are making fantastic speed in this race and I was not expecting to
finish phase one for at least another few days. We are now basically clear of the fickle tropical wind and should have good
predictable wind from now on, at least until Taiwan where if the low pressure system currently developing in China has anything to do with it could be a bit rough.