Clipper Race: To gamble or not

Published on May 16th, 2014

May 16, 2014) – The major question on the minds of the Clipper Race skippers is whether to take the gamble of tacking to the east now or hoping the wind will fill in in time to clear Morant Bay, on the south east corner of Jamaica, without putting in a costly tack.

The Spirit of Jamaica Chase saw homeport entry Jamaica Get All Right tack east early on day 1 amidst the north east trade winds, and now the team is in last place and losing miles on the rest of the fleet. Qingdao and Switzerland also chose to head east early on and are currently tenth and eleventh respectively.

Team Garmin skipper Jan Ridd, who was leading the fleet in the last 12 hours but currently sits in fifth, has also recently tacked east.

He explained: “The wind has teased us a few times allowing us to sail our desired course but the closer we get the more unlikely it looks like we will make this on one tack. The tactical decision now is either to tack now and give up our position at the front of the fleet or hold

on and hope that the shift comes soon. The longer we leave the decision the more costly the tack will be.”

Henri Lloyd is again leading the fleet, with Old Pulteney in second and OneDLL in third.

Currently the most easterly yacht, Jamaica get All Right skipper Pete Stirling is confident none of the fleet is going to escape changing course.

“I fully expect the next position update to see us even further behind as we are currently on the losing tack making a course just south of east. None of the fleet is going to clear the end of the island without tacking out to the east so we are making our move early in the hope it will pay dividends in the end.

“The crew are still highly motivated to get a good result on this race in to our home port and it is a long way from over yet. On Jamaica Get All Right we never ever give up!” he added.

Click here for ETAs.

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.

Having transited the Panama Canal, the 12 teams began Race 12, the Spirit of Jamaica Chase, on May 14. A Le Mans start 37 miles off the Panama coast marked the commencement of the 590 mile sprint to Jamaica. The boats are expected to arrive between May 17 and 18.

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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