Clipper Race: Approaching Hobart
Published on December 28th, 2017
(December 28, 2017; Day 3) – It has been another nail bitingly close day of racing with just 38 nautical miles separating the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet as it descends upon Tasman Island, a race waypoint that marks Storm Bay and the River Derwent. Whilst the conditions have so far been favorable for a quick race, each position is still very much to play for with small mistakes costing teams big leaderboard places.
PSP Logistics’ bold tactical move to gybe west yesterday has paid off as the team holds onto first position in the Clipper Race class (53 in IRC and 14 in IRC Div 1) for the second consecutive day. However, it was only a small gain for the team which is fighting off competition from second placed Unicef and the rest of the fleet.
Skipper Matt Mitchell comments: “This race is far from over and it can still be anybody’s for the taking. There’s some significant changes due in the next few hours which could shake things up a bit but we are pushing harder than ever to keep PSP Logistics going.”
Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs adds: “It doesn’t get more exciting than this – the fleet is almost line abreast as we try to cover the last 90 nautical miles to Tasman Island. Unfortunately, the forecast is showing a change in the weather and the parking lot attendant is on the lookout for customers.”
There has been a big leap on the leaderboard for third placed Qingdao, which was in eighth place yesterday but is only just holding off competition from Dare To Lead and fifth placed Visit Seattle which is just one nautical mile behind at the time of writing.
With racing so close, positions elsewhere in the fleet have been changing regularly but at the time of writing Liverpool 2018 holds sixth place after repairing a small tear to its mediumweight spinnaker. Skipper Lance Shepherd reports: “Thankfully we have managed to regain some positions after deciding to risk a cheeky gybe and head west. It seems to have paid off as we are now back in the middle of the fleet.”
The bright pink boat is followed by seventh placed GREAT Britain and Sanya Serenity Coast in eighth. Being no stranger to the Sydney Hobart course, Sanya Serenity Coast Skipper Wendy Tuck took a moment to reflect on the race: “I do love this race; it can be a race that breaks your heart and spirit or makes you believe magic can happen, usually all at the same time.”
Towards the back of the fleet, but separated by only three nautical miles each, Garmin takes ninth, Nasdaq tenth and HotelPlanner.com sits in eleventh place. Speaking from on board Nasdaq Skipper Rob Graham reports: “There was a tactical split overnight when most of the fleet gybed west, but Nasdaq continued south with Garmin and then we gybed together at first light this morning.
“What’s the result of this decision? Well as I type we’re chasing Garmin directly towards Tasman Island, and the other Clipper 70s have just started to appear on our AIS (Automatic Identification System) screen again, with everybody due to converge at the corner!”
There is, however, a bigger gap forming amongst the Clipper 68s with some 53 nautical miles separating the two entries; UK team Invictus Games Sydney 2018 GAME ON, currently placed 47th IRC and placed tenth IRC Div 2, and Australian team Invictus Games Sydney 2018 DOWN UNDER currently placed 75th IRC and 16th IRC Div 2.
Looking ahead, lighter winds are forecasted and with the Clipper 70s so evenly matched, it looks like the fleet will compress even more as it rounds Tasman Island and heads into Storm Bay.
The fourth stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Race, officially known as Race 4: The Clipper Telemed+ Tasman Test, includes three races along the Australian coast. The 11 teams will race from Fremantle to Sydney, Sydney to Hobart, and Hobart to Airlie Beach in the heart of the picturesque Whitsunday Islands.
The first of three races started December 2 for the 2500nm course from Fremantle to Sydney.
The All-Australian Leg is the fourth of eight legs that make up the 40,000-nautical mile, eleven-month Clipper 2017-18 Race.
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.
* Twelve teams began the first leg but one yacht (Greenings) ran aground just hours after the start on October 31 of the third leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The crew was safely evacuated but damage to the boat was deemed too extensive for it to continue in the 2017-18 edition.
Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race