Clipper Race: Baptism by fire
Published on October 8th, 2015
(October 8, 2015; Race 2, Day 1) – The Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms is underway with the fleet mostly in a tightly-bunched pack after 140 nautical miles and 14 hours of racing.
Derry~Londonderry~Doire was first across the start line just off Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, closely followed by Visit Seattle and Clipper Telemed+.
The fleet experienced strong winds of 22 knots on the nose from the get go. Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Daniel Smith explains the tough beat the fleet is experiencing: “A windy start to Race 2 meant we didn’t get eased into the wind and waves in the same way as Race 1. A short sharp sea off the start and a hectic sail change had the crew working hard from the go. Although uncomfortable and testing our sea sickness remedies, 35 knots of wind is sending us south along our plotted course nicely.”
In the first few hours of racing the crew and yachts are already being tested by the stormy conditions the South Atlantic Ocean is well known for. PSP Logistics was hardest hit with a running backstay problem, but given the short distance travelled from Rio, the team is already back out racing after having returned to port for repairs last night.
As of 0800UTC PSP Logistics is only 132 nautical miles behind current leader Garmin.
Ashley Skett, Skipper of Garmin, described the conditions: “We are facing over 30 knots of wind and short, sharp swells on the nose – a recipe for seasickness and most of our team has been affected. The new joiners are facing a baptism of fire as we pound through steep waves at over 50 degrees of heel. It’s hard going and even some of our well-weathered round the world crew members are suffering.”
With more than 3000 nautical miles to go to Cape Town, Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell says the conditions will continue to challenge the teams. “After the fleet left the immediate coastline yesterday, the wind has backed north-east again, coming off the South Atlantic High. This should be the case for the next two or three days before an approaching front comes up from the south and causes tactical dilemmas for the Skippers and crew.”
LMAX Exchange and Qingdao are anticipated to start racing on Sunday 11 October after repairs are completed following LMAX Exchange running aground while being delivered to another marina and Qingdao getting into difficulties while offering assistance.
The Clipper Race fleet is due into Cape Town between 21-25 October and will be berthed at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront until 31 October.
Following Race 1, the Overall Clipper 2015-16 Race Standings are as follows:
LMAX EXCHANGE 15 points (12 + 3 Scoring Gate points)
GREAT Britain 12 points (10 + 2 Scoring Gate points)
QINGDAO 11 points
DERRY~LONDONDERRY~DOIRE 10 points (9 + 1 Scoring Gate bonus points)
GARMIN 8 points
ICHORCOAL 7 points
CLIPPER TELEMED+ 6 points
VISIT SEATTLE 5 points
MISSION PERFORMANCE 5 points (3 + 2 Ocean Sprint bonus points)
PSP LOGISTICS 4 points
DA NANG – VIET NAM 2 points
UNICEF 1 point
Report by event media.
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 second leg on October 7 takes the fleet 3932 miles from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town, South Africa.
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.