Black Snake Current ramps up for Clipper fleet

Published on March 21st, 2014

(March 21, 2014) – The highly anticipated Pacific Ocean crossing began to live up to tough expectations yesterday as a low pressure system in the Black Snake Current built and gusts of up to 70 knots tested the Clipper Race fleet as it continues to make fast progress to San Francisco.

The 40,000 mile Clipper 2013-14 Round the World Yacht Race began the 5,600 mile leg from Qingdao, China to San Francisco, USA on March 16.

Mission Performance skipper Matt Mitchell explained emphatically: “We have been living on an absolute roller-coaster. The wind has been in the mid 40 knots constantly, as well as the waves to match, with the added bonus of being behind the beam.

“These brilliant sailing conditions coupled with the ‘Black Snake’ current has meant our boat speeds have been well into the 20 knots, more than half the time. It’s not all plain sailing though as these conditions take concentration and effort to manage, and there were some big gusts in the region of 55 knots at times.

“All in all, I can say that these are some of the best sailing conditions for sheer exhilaration that we have had to date on the race.”

Qingdao, in twelfth position at this point yesterday, recorded an impressive 24 hour distance record of 308.8 miles, propelling itself in the process to third position in the Race 10 leaderboard. It now sits just ahead of fourth place OneDLL, and less than ten miles from Derry~Londonderry~Doire and GREAT Britain, both currently neck and neck at the front.

After PSP Logistics’ excellent first 24 hours which took it straight to the top of the leaderboard based on distance covered in elapsed time, crew member Angie Faulkner unfortunately tripped on her tether and fell down into the cockpit, landing on her arm. After assessment from the on board medical team and Praxes healthcare team, the team decided to divert to Kagoshima Wan, Japan.

With support from the Race Office, Falmouth Coast Guard and Japanese Coast Guard, the team safely medevac’d its injured crew member at 02:00 UTC and Angie was taken straight to hospital with a suspected dislocated shoulder. PSP Logistics have now resumed racing.

The low pressure system has now died down considerably, with winds back down to the mid 20 knots. With more than 5,000 miles remaining to the Golden Gate Bridge finish line in San Francisco, teams are well aware that it’s unlikely the storms are over just yet however.

To read all the skipper reports click here.

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:

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