Clipper Race: Going for the bonus

Published on October 10th, 2017

(October 10, 2017; Day 6) – The focus of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race has been whether teams opt for a northerly route to cross the Scoring Gate for points or to pursue the preferred southerly track toward the finish in Cape Town.

While the leaders have their eyes on the finish, further back it was Qingdao, Liverpool 2018, and Visit Seattle that opted to go for gate and secure bonus points.

“We have finally managed to make it through the Scoring Gate, earning us a very respectable extra two race points, but it wasn’t without a fight let me tell you,” said Liverpool 2018 skipper Lance Shepherd, just missing out on the max 3 point award. “We had Qingdao in our sights the entire way as we trailed them by a mere four nautical miles and our guys loved every second of the race.”

For Visit Seattle, every point counts after dropping positions following spinnaker damage during Race 1. Skipper Nikki Henderson said: “We are chuffed with our extra race point – which may come in handy when paying for the repair work done to our spinnakers in Punta.”

After taking the Northerly route to cross the Scoring Gate, time will tell if they can make up the additional miles to catch the leaders sailing closer to the rhumb line.

Elsewhere, there has been a shakeup at the top of the leaderboard with just three nautical miles separating Greenings, Garmin and Dare To Lead.

After holding onto first place for five days, Dare To Lead has slipped into third place behind its closest rivals. Despite this, focus remains on maximising its position after deciding to playing the Joker. Skipper Dale Smyth comments: “The next few days hold good wind so it is neck and neck again, drag racing each other so no rest in the near future”.

Sanya Serenity Coast has moved up into fourth place ahead of GREAT Britain after the fifth placed team took the opportunity in the lighter airs to change out a batten in the main sail. GREAT Britain Skipper, Andy Burns, said: “It was really nice during this time to hear from Wendo [Sanya Serenity Coast]. She was just off our starboard beam and was concerned about the drop in the boat speed. I was also concerned about our boat speed as Sanya Serenity Coast cruised past us!

“We just kept saying to ourselves ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. In all seriousness, thanks to Wendo for being a good neighbour.”

HotelPlanner.com currently sits in sixth place and Nasdaq in seventh. Nasdaq Skipper Rob Graham said: “We missed the lightest winds near the centre of the high that slowed down some of our rivals, and we’re making good speed towards Cape Town across a relatively flat South Atlantic Ocean. The wind is slowly swinging from the East through North East to North which is a favourable direction for us.”

Eleventh placed Unicef is now taking advantage of the building winds and has covered the more nautical miles in the last twelve hours than any other team. Despite this, Skipper Bob Beggs is very aware of the remaining ground Unicef must cover to move its way up the leaderboard, commenting: “We now need a game changer to get back in the race!”

The high-pressure system that caused the fleet such frustration over the last 24 hours has now passed over to the East and the fleet is now benefitting from the building winds behind it and therefore better boat speeds.

Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, has advised the teams that the next front is expected to pass over them in the next 24-36 hours bringing gale force winds, strong gusts and the likelihood of heavy and thundery squalls. The results will be tricky helming conditions from the gusts and high wind speed.

Repair efforts continue for PSP Logistics after its forced return to Punta del Este. PSP Logistics suffered damage to its starboard rudder when it was hit by a whale early on during Race 2.


The 12 teams started leg 2/race 2 – 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.

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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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