Witt making good progress

  • Antigua to Bermuda Race 2019 (Photograph by Tobias Stoerkle)
  • Antigua to Bermuda Race 2019  (Photograph by Tobias Stoerkle)

Strong winds have allowed all yachts to make good progress on day two of the 2019 Antigua Bermuda Race.

Supermaxi SHK Scallywag, skippered by Australian David Witt, is set for a 24-hour run of over 400 nautical miles, within striking distance of race record pace.

The rest of the fleet has a velocity made good of between 11-8 knots, set for a 24-hour run of between 200-280 miles — fast going by any standards.

Over the next 24 hours, the fleet are set to finish their thrilling trade winds ride as they encounter an occluded front across their path to Bermuda.

Cold air from a mature low pressure system further north is overtaking the warm trade winds. The overall effect is a pressure ridge in which the fleet is likely to encounter light head winds.

However, the mixture of cold and warm air can also cause localised squalls giving sudden significant wind shifts in both direction and speed.

That mixture may be the reason for race leader SHK Scallywag’s western route. Heading to the west of the ridge should keep the SHK Scallywag in the breeze.

For the remainder of the fleet, racing in light airs can also be very rewarding. Keeping the boat going, even when the speedometer is barely moving leads to a big percentage speed gain. The first boat to get through the ridge will extend on the fleet.

In the IRC Racing Class, Afansay Isaev’s Maxi Weddell is leading the pack on the water, chasing Scallywag. Lombard 46 Pata Negra skippered by Andy Liss is leading the fleet after IRC time correction. Gilles Barbot’s Volvo 60 Esprit de Corps IV is second, and Pogo 12.50 Hermes II co-skippered by Morgan Watson and Meg Reilly is third.

In the CSA Cruising Class, Pata Negra has the advantage but Carlo Falcone remains close.