Clipper Race: Getting your money’s worth

Published on October 13th, 2017

(October 13, 2017; Day 9) – Following fast and furious conditions over the last 24 hours, which served up dramatic downpours and wind speeds gusting 60 knots, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race fleet is busy shaking out the reefs in order to make the most of more settled conditions.

Ahead of the front, which passed over the majority of the pack yesterday evening, teams were making the most of the exhilarating surfing conditions. Skipper Conall Morrison reports from HotelPlanner.com, currently in seventh place: “These were awesome surfing conditions and all of our experienced helms were really enjoying it.

“Top surfing speed was set by Adrian Hemmes at 23.5 knots. All anyone else on deck could do was hang on, but to be on deck in these conditions, and to see the power of the waves and how this Clipper70 performs was breath taking.”

Despite slipping from sixth to eighth place overnight, the same thoughts where echoed on board GREAT Britain. Skipper Andy Burns commented: “We got a full taste of the South Atlantic with winds gusting up to nearly 60 knots and steadying out around 45 knots, low grey cloud cover and large rolling waves with the tops blown off them. Surprisingly, the entire crew is never without a smile.”

But for tenth placed Qingdao, the thrill of the last 24 hours seems to be a distant memory. Skipper Chris Kobusch explains that the team has managed to find a wind hole and said: “Now we are sitting in about four to eight knots of wind and are bobbing around at six or seven knots, which feels like standing still after days and days of high wind and boat speeds.

“The crew had to work hard to get the boat going again, unfortunately there is not much more we can do about it and we have to hope this won’t last for too long.”

Although wind speeds have settled for most of the fleet, residual swell is ensuring that teams won’t be getting too comfortable, or dry. Dare To Lead Skipper, Dale Smyth, says: “It has been relentlessly wet and cold, pouring with rain and now that the front has passed through, a confused sea state and fickle winds have greeted us.

“As I type this we are crashing around big confused swell, trying to fly a spinnaker in next to no wind and going in the wrong direction.”

There has been no change at the top of the leaderboard with first placed Greenings firmly maintaining its lead this morning and Interim Skipper, Andy Woodruff, reported Greenings’ new record of 329 nautical miles sailed over the last 24-hour period. Separated by just 31 nautical miles, Garmin and Dare To Lead remain hot on Greenings’ heels in second and third place respectively.

Elsewhere in the fleet, Visit Seattle has crept up to fourth place, with Sanya Serenity Coast and Nasdaq holding fifth and sixth position. Liverpool 2018 claims ninth place today with Unicef in eleventh and PSP Logistics in twelfth after resuming racing yesterday.

Teams opting for the most Southerly routes have also had to tackle one of very few obstacles on Race 2, Gough Island. Commenting from Sanya Serenity Coast, Skipper Wendy Tuck said: “Gough Island is just ahead, like really just ahead!

“I will make a decision on what side we pass it as we get a little closer, it will depend on how long we stay in this breeze for, or if the system finally overtakes us.”

Looking ahead, the upcoming Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint will make for some gripping Race Viewer Action with the first teams due to start sprinting over the next 24 hours. Ahead of this, Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, explains that conditions should settle over the coming hours and that teams should be back up to full pace, albeit with much more sail up.


The 12 teams started leg 2/race 2 – the 3,560nm 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 40,000nm 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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