Clipper Race: Podium Filling in Rio

Published on September 27th, 2015

(September 27, 2015; Race 1, Day 27) – At 0433 UTC (0133 local time) Qingdao crossed the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race finish line at Rio de Janeiro after 27 days of racing across the Atlantic Ocean, claiming second place behind LMAX Exchange.

The battle for the final podium place continues between GREAT Britain and Derry~Londonderry~Doire. Both are sprinting for the line, separated by less than two nautical miles after more than 5,500 nautical miles of racing. As of 0800 UTC GREAT Britain has 17.26 nautical miles to go and Derry~Londonderry~Doire has 18.4 nautical miles remaining. However with the unpredictability of the winds around Cabo Frio, both Skippers are wary.

GREAT Britain Skipper Peter Thornton says: “The wind has proven interesting. Right until the end, the notorious Rio winds have certainly not disappointed. We are giving it our all right to the end.”

His counterpart on Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Daniel Smith adds: “Again we find ourselves alongside GREAT Britain. It really will be neck and neck at the finish.

“At this stage one always thinks about the wrong decisions they have made, giving away a mile here or a mile there which at the time didn’t seem significant, a drop in the ocean. Both boats probably feel the same however.”

The pair have extended their lead over fifth placed Garmin, which has slowed after hitting light winds around the cape.

Eleven teams have now completed the Ocean Sprint, with Mission Performance producing the fastest time so far. Skipper Greg Miller hopes they have done enough to claim the coveted two points on offer. Greg says: “At 1949 UTC we crossed the 10 degree line of latitude and covered the 300 nautical miles in 28 hours 46 minutes. This has yet to be verified, but here’s hoping this is an unbeatable time in the conditions that Da Nang – Viet Nam, Unicef and IchorCoal have for the Ocean Sprint.

“The Mission Performance Warriors have worked tirelessly to get this. It has reinforced that we are capable of making Missi (our Mission Performance yacht) go fast, which will take us into Race 2 to Cape Town on a high and with confidence.”

While the frontrunners fight it out for podium places, competition is rife across the fleet. Currently in ninth place, Mission Performance is 54 nautical miles ahead of Da Nang – Viet Nam, which in turn is only 20 nautical miles ahead of Unicef. Jim Prendergast, Unicef Skipper says: “Yesterday was complete with a small milestone, a thousand miles to go to Rio. This brought about a flurry of questions and suggestions from the crew. It’s safe to say they are all excited to see what this famous city has to offer.

“With four more days of hard sailing, including some tricky coastal navigation and some varying winds, it’s important not to lose focus until we actually arrive. The battle with Da Nang – Viet Nam will continue to the wire I’m sure.”

As of 0800 UTC, the estimated time of arrival for GREAT Britain and Derry~Londondery~Doire is 1030UTC (0730 local time). To keep up to date with all fleet ETAs, click here.

To read about Qingdao’s second place finish and hear from the Skipper and crew, click here.

Positions correct at 0800 UTC.

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Background: The 40,000 mile Clipper 2015-16 Round the World Yacht Race began in London, UK on August 30 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The series is divided into 16 individual races, with the team with the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew.

The teams are on the first leg, which began August 30 from London, England to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The ports along the race route are Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Cape Town, South Africa; Albany, Sydney, Hobart and Airlie Beach, Australia; Da Nang, Vietnam; Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Panama; New York, USA; Derry-Londonderry, Ireland; and Den Helder, Netherlands before returning to London by late July.

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