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Spirit slowed by fickle breezes

is expected to be the first local boat to complete the Marion Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race tomorrow.

Spirit of Bermuda

The triple masted sloop could cross the St David’s Head finish line before noon.

Spirit entered the biennial event among the pre-race favourites for line honours. But fickle breezes have not favoured the sole entry in the new Classic Yacht Division whose arrival was further delayed after failing to hitch a ride on a warm current in the Gulf Stream.

“The Gulf Stream is identified by its warm water and warm breeze,” said

Spirit’s crewman Stewart Thomas. “And if we can enter it in the right place, the Stream can give us as much as two extra knots of current to push us towards Bermuda. But while our water temperature goes from 63 to 70 degrees, we cannot quite find the sweet spot of warm water and strong pushing current.”

The ship’s navigator Larry Rosenfeld added: “The experienced crew knows that the race can be won by the yacht which best solves the puzzle of the Gulf Stream.”

After falling off the pace in the hunt for line honours,

Spirit recovered considerable ground on the leaders on Sunday afternoon.

“The wind freshened up to 15mph, crossing directly across

Spirit’s beam,” Thomas said. “This provided optimal conditions for us, and we took advantage.

Spirit clocked over 10 knots on a beam reach for almost 24 hours, providing us the distance and speed we had hoped for. We are now predicted to arrive at the finish line sometime Tuesday morning, much better than earlier forecasted,”

Skipper George Cubbon and crew aboard the Hinckley Bermuda 40,

Alice Kay, the only other local boat in the 34-boat Marion Bermuda Race fleet, are due in sometime tomorrow.

Meanwhile, what is shaping up to be a two-boat battle for line honours between current leader

Shindig and

Lady B is expected to be decided in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Michael Reney and crew of the Andrews 68

Shindig have led the race since blowing past

Spirit of Bermuda last Friday. But they have lost momentum due to a ridge of high pressure that has crept across the race course and stalled the fleet’s progress towards Bermuda.

This has enabled skipper John Madden and crew of the Swan 62

Lady B to close the gap and set the stage for a potentially dramatic sprint to the finish line.

Follow all the yachts at home or on mobile devices with the proper app via the YellowBrick tracker programme available on the Marion Bermuda Race website (www.marionbermuda.com).

Positions are updated every hour on the hour on the YellowBrick tracking map.

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Published June 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm (Updated June 17, 2013 at 9:51 pm)

Spirit slowed by fickle breezes

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