The “Jellyfish”, skippered by James George, had an excellent night Wednesday. Gybing north of the rhumb line, the Jellyfish made a massive gain over the U.K. Army Sailing Association's J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER. At dawn Thursday morning, Jellyfish was the first yacht, still racing to pass the Scilly Isles. Over the last 24 hours, the Jellyfish gained 26 miles on their rivals to lead the six yachts still racing.
"We can see BRITISH SOLDIER’s kite behind us for the first time and we are now in 10 knots of wind planning on how to tackle the headlands along the south coast of England," commented James George. "We are determined to take line honours for the class, morale is good but it's tense on board, we know we have a real fight on our hands with BRITISH SOLDIER. It has been one hell of a race and we want to finish on a high, we are just trying sail fast and hang on to this lead."
BRITISH SOLDIER had to put an injured crewman ashore in the early part of the race. With just five on board, their watch system has had to change, resulting in far less rest and everybody on deck for every maneuver, regardless of watch. "When we saw them (the Jellyfish guys) in front of us this morning it was a bit of a blow," commented Captain Phil Caswell, BRITISH SOLDER's skipper. "We were absolutely gutted but we are over that now and we have eyes on them, working as hard as possible to pass them. We know we have a quick boat downwind and we are determined to catch them.”
As of Thursday 2100 hrs BST, the Jellyfish had 133nm to go to the finish off the Royal Yacht Squadron’s finish line in Cowes, Isle of Wight. The boys on Soldier have closed on their rivals and are now just 11nm astern. Both boats are playing a game of “cat & mouse” as they gybe downwind in the fresh running conditions, both averaging 8+ kts boatspeed as they head east past Start Point, just south of Dartmouth. Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth For more RORC Round Britain & Ireland Race sailing information