Clipper fleet reaches halfway stage from China to USA

Published on March 30th, 2014

(March 30, 2014) – As the first Clipper Race teams start crossing the International Date Line today, exceeding the half-way point of the China to USA leg, those positioned in the middle, east of the main fleet were left feeling wet, cold and frustrated last night as Mother Nature poured her best attention on the most southern teams.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire skipper Sean McCarter sounded thwarted as he said: “Well we prepared for the worst last night and I must admit to feeling a little hard-done-by. Instead of 70 knot gusts and hail, we had lighter than average wind and a lot of rain.

“The annoying thing is that we went slow all night waiting to be hammered at any minute by the cold front, when in actual fact, we could have averaged decent speed and been more comfortable with a larger sail plan.”

Henri Lloyd skipper Eric Holden’s frustrations were also clear as he remarked: “Waiting, waiting, for a front that never seems to come. We reduced sail overnight expecting some weather to arrive. It did not and we lost many miles by going slow. The wind is still out of the south so the front has yet to pass through.

“I have become impatient for its arrival and frustrated by this hesitancy to sail the boat to its potential while the threat of the front lingers. The only upside is that we should be well rested for having taken it easy.”

Jamaica Get All Right’s Pete Stirling reported a far more positive experience as the most southerly boat however as he gushed: “I’m not too sure what kind of night the boats further to the north and east had but we had a brilliant nights sailing – one of the best I would say! As forecast, the wind and sea state started building quickly yesterday afternoon and by nightfall we were prepped with our storm sail plan in place.

“We saw steady winds of 40 knots gusting to 50 knots plus and a rough but manageable sea state overnight. Boat speeds were constantly in the mid-teens with occasional surfs into the low 20’s and the boat and crew were loving it.”

The overall lead remains close at this halfway stage as this exciting race to San Francisco continues to heat up.Invest Africa has held onto its first place, just 20 miles ahead of Henri Lloyd in second and 30 miles ahead of third placed GREAT Britain.

Clearly some skippers will be hoping to to re-live lastnight with better conditions and they may get their wish shortly as their clocks will get put back an entire 24 hours once they cross the International Date Line, now less than 50 miles ahead of Invest Africa.

Report by event media

Skipper reports:
Race tracker:
Race website:

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.

Eleven teams started the 5,600 mile leg from Qingdao, China to San Francisco, USA on March 16. PSP Logistics started the leg on March 19, a result of their late arrival into China due to several setbacks.

All twelve teams are expected in San Francisco between April 8-12, subject to prevailing conditions. The fleet will be berthed at South Beach Yacht Club until the April 19 start of Race 11 to the Panama Canal.

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.

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