Fog lifts, Clipper fleet resumes leg to San Francisco
Published on March 18th, 2014
(March 18, 2014) – The foggy conditions that have caused delay to the 40,000 mile Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race lifted enough by first light this morning, allowing teams to officially start this highly anticipated 5,600 mile race from Qingdao, China to San Francisco, USA.
Jamaica Get All Right skipper Pete Stirling explained the race start, which took place at 08:50 local time (0050 UTC): “After nearly two days of slowly making our way south east out of the Yellow Sea, the fog lifted this morning and lead skipper, Eric Holden of Henri Lloyd, organised a Le Mans start.
“There was a ten minute countdown and at one minute all the crews had to be behind the forward coffee grinder and the engine had to be off. On the gun all the crews rushed forward to get up their headsails. The wind conditions were quite light and from behind so the sail plan of choice was full mainsail, staysail and Yankee 1. Le Mans start rules dictate all boats must keep the same course and sail plan for the first ten minutes, after which they can do what they want.”
After a clean start, the fleet is currently passing beneath South Korea, just under 300 miles from the waypoint beneath Sata Misaki lighthouse on the southern tip of mainland Japan. Qingdao and Derry~Londonderry~Doire, currently lead the pack at time of press but as it is all very tightly packed, the leaderboard is likely to update regularly.
As the fleet turns north along the Japanese coastline, the Kuroshio Current or ‘Black Current’ (a strong north flowing current that appears a deeper blue than the sea through which it flows) will bring stronger, northerly winds, expected to both propel and challenge the teams as they approach the North Pacific Ocean.
This leg includes an Ocean Sprint and Scoring Gate, allowing teams the chance to pick up bonus points along the course. All teams will also be entitled to two periods of Stealth Mode – once activated, that particular yachts position will be hidden from the Race Viewer for 24 hours for attempted tactical gain.
PSP Logistics departed Qingdao this morning and are now motoring to the same re-start line. Their overall race performance will be based on elapsed time and not first over the line. Skipper Chris Hollis explained his teams thoughts: “It’s very similar to when we left Albany (Race 5), when we started 36 hours behind the fleet, yet closed in to finish fourth fastest.
“The psychology makes it a little harder to race because you don’t have a boat next to you, but we will set our own gates to achieve time targets and race weather windows. We’re all looking forward to this trip. This is the big one, and we’re ready for it,” added Chris.
To track the fleet’s progress on the official Race Viewer click here
All twelve teams are expected in San Francisco between 8-12 April, subject to prevailing conditions. The fleet will be berthed at South Beach Yacht Club until 19 April, the start of Race 11 to the Panama Canal.
The 40,000 mile Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on September 1 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The race route includes Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Brisbane, Australia; Singapore; Qingdao, China; San Francisco, USA; Panama; Jamaica; New York, USA; Derry-Londonderry, Ireland; and Den Helder, Netherlands before returning to London in July. Race website: http://www.clipperroundtheworld.com