Having had the excitement of crossing the Greenwich Meridian yesterday today sees the Clipper fleet sailing into western hemisphere and crossing the longitude of their home towns

Portsmouth, like all the fleet has slowed down and being to the south they will have always feared this might be the case. What they did not bargain for is the most southerly yacht, Bristol, taking 17 miles from them and sneaking into a one-mile lead. To cap a thoroughly good day for Bob Beggs and the Bristol crew their arch rivals Jersey had a bad day with a run of only 88 miles in frustrating conditions to the north.

There is now 150 miles separating the northern and southern flanks of the fleet and by a most unusual quirk of circumstances Jersey and Bristol are at the extremities. This could be viewed as unusual tactics when the two boats are vying for the overall lead but a race like this is far removed from what we saw at the Olympics with Ben Ainslie covering his rival every inch of the way. However hard one plans the actual course taken usually depends on many different, and frequently small factors. In this case Bristol’s decision to play with their spinnaker on the starting line ended up by setting them off on a southerly strategy whereas Jersey was channelled into a northern one. Circumstances have exaggerated these positions into two very different approaches to one similar problem.

Portsmouth and Plymouth could once again make further gains and either could come up and take the lead. Liverpool is doing magnificently well hounding Jersey less than two miles to the south west of her and is now only one mile behind on a ‘distance to go’ basis. Their performance is especially good as they have been hit by a ‘flu bug. Glasgow and London are still very much in contention just to the south of the Jersey/Liverpool duel. Leeds, between the northern group and the Portsmouth/Plymouth duo has a nice clear piece of ocean to herself and could easily make good gains. Positions this morning:

1 Portsmouth – 2278 miles to Salvador

2 Bristol 16 miles to leader

3 Plymouth 20

4 Jersey 35

5 Liverpool 38

6 London 44

7 Glasgow 46

8 Leeds 54