Clipper Race: Race to the Scoring Gate

Published on October 8th, 2017

(October 8, 2017; Day 4) – Whilst the Finish Line in Cape Town remains the ultimate goal for the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race fleet in the Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms, at least three teams currently have the Scoring Gate in their sights.

Dare To Lead has dipped south of the rhumb line but remains in front of the rest of the fleet. Skipper Dale Smyth reports, “Another fast day down south here and it’s hard to believe we have covered just shy of 1000 nautical miles already in four days.

“The cold has really kicked in in the western side of this depression and the boat is raining inside with condensation. We are trying to stay in the southerly winds for as long as possible before they run out.”

Garmin has moved into second place, around 21nm behind Dare To Lead. However, Greenings in third position trails Garmin by less than 2nm, and Interim Skipper Andy Woodruff says, “It’s been another day power reaching under white sail with speeds between 11-20 knots, waves and spray coming over the deck, and sailing the day within sight of Garmin.”

Visit Seattle, Liverpool 2018, and Qingdao are fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively on the leader board, but are on a northerly course, around 200 nautical miles from the Scoring Gate. Qingdao claimed three points for being first to cross the Scoring Gate in the opening race to Punta del Este, and currently has a slight advantage on Visit Seattle and Liverpool 2018 in being closer to the Scoring Gate.

It was a great day of racing on board Sanya Serenity Coast, though the team remains in seventh place, around 73nm off the pace. But Skipper Wendy Tuck hopes that position could change in the near future, explaining, “What a great day of blast reaching. Only trouble is, the rest of the fleet is doing the same and it’s very hard to catch up or do anything radical. There is the big high about to cause some chaos, so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.”

The high Wendy is referring to is moving faster than originally forecast. Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell reports, “The next 24-36 hours will be lighter and more changeable for most of the fleet as the high does pass over.

“Afterwards, the north to northwest winds should be really rather good, and bring more mostly fair weather for a day or so. The next low bustling down behind should catch up with the fleet on Tuesday night or Wednesday.”

HotelPlanner.com Skipper Conall Morrison is also keeping an eye on the approaching high, especially with less than 5nm separating the ninth placed team from GREAT Britain in eighth. Conall comments, “We have been reaching under white sails for most of today, the wind is backing, as forecasted, and we have been putting reefs in and out overnight.

“Hoping now that the weather is kind to us as we work out how best to deal with the new high pressure that is forecast to overtake the fleet.”

Nasdaq has moved into tenth place, whilst Unicef has fallen well back in eleventh, following a spinnaker wrap. Skipper Bob Beggs explains, “Saturday brought a change of wind and we put up the Code 2 (medium weight) spinnaker to take advantage of it. A sudden and rapid increase in wind caused the team to experience a serious wrap around the inner forestay.

“We hove-to while making the recovery, so for those watching us in the Race Viewer this may explain our speed and course gyrations.”

Work continues in Uruguay to return PSP Logistics to the sea, after the boat suffered rudder damage. Skipper Roy Taylor is thankful for the incredible hospitality from the Mayor and city of Punta del Este, but can’t wait to resume racing, saying, “Clearly we cannot get a podium this time. We are wounded, but most definitely not finished.

“We will sail as fast and efficiently as we can while we consider our tactics for Leg 3 and the Southern Ocean.”


The 12 teams started the 3,560 nm leg from Punta del Este, Uruguay to Cape Town, South Africa on October 4, and is due to finish between October 19 and 22 and will be berthed at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront until October 31.

Event detailsRace factsRace viewerFacebook

Background: Held biennially, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race got underway August 20 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The 40,000 nm course is divided into 13 individual races with the team having the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew that signs up for one, some, or all the races. The 2017-18 race, expected to take 11 months, has attracted 712 people representing 41 nationalities, making it the largest to date.

Race RouteRace Schedule and Miles

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Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

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