Clipper Race: Risk Versus Reward

Published on October 13th, 2015

(October 13, 2015; Race 2, Day 6) – Three teams have crossed the Scoring Gate, following the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet’s dilemma of whether to risk heading further south in pursuit of the bonus points.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire crossed first at 0438UTC today, followed by Da Nang-Viet Nam second at 0541UTC, and IchorCoal third at 0558UTC.

However, the possibility remains for Qingdao and LMAX Exchange (see note below) to cross the Scoring Gate quicker on elapsed time if they choose to head for it, and take some of the three, two and one points on offer for first, second and third fastest across the virtual waypoints.

Meanwhile, the low coming off South America is having a good effect, filling in the dead patch of wind ahead of the fleet, so progress should continue to be good out front, albeit with gale force winds for the yachts closest to or in the front, and 50 knot gusts.

On the leaderboard, GREAT Britain is now in first place, 19 nautical miles ahead of previous leader Garmin, and 41 miles ahead of third-placed ClipperTelemed+.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Daniel Smith said it had been a hard and tiring day on board:

“We have spent the day beating into 35 knots of wind and an uncomfortable sea. A few headsail changes means we are wet and tired. The crew just kept going,” he explained.

“The wind finally shifted for us which meant we could shake reefs out and change from Yankee 3 to 1 and finally to the lightweight spinnaker. This was a nice way to finally cross the Scoring Gate at 0438 UTC in what we believe to be first place (although LMAX Exchange and Qingdao may still decide to have a go).

“Whether heading to the gate was the right thing to do or not remains to be seen. We have watched our positions drop down to seventh as we have fought the elements down in the south and it has felt like the other boats have been heading straight for Cape Town and leaving us behind. In typical weather, the southerly route is considered favourable but I don’t think this is a typical crossing for any of us so I guess we’ll find out what the quickest route is when we are all tied up in Cape Town.”

LMAX Exchange and Qingdao are predicted to have a slower day by Clipper Race meteorologist Simon Rowell, as then next high pressure cell forms just ahead of them – but this shouldn’t last long.

Igor Gotlibovych, Skipper of Qingdao, described the last 24 hours on board. “Team Qingdao is slipping into the usual watch routine – trim, eat, sleep, repeat.

“With our nearest and dearest competitor disappearing out of sight and out of Automatic Identification System range once again, we are back to waiting for the six-hourly position updates.

“The South Atlantic weather is notoriously complex, so only time will tell how the various routes, hundreds of miles apart, will play out.”

All positions correct as of 0800UTC.

Note: Ten of the 12 boats started on schedule on October 7, while LMAX Exchange and Qingdao did not start until October 11 due to damage incurred while in Rio after the first leg. All twelve boats will compete together based on elapsed time over the same distance.

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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 second leg started October 7 and takes the fleet 3387 nm from Rio de Janeiro to Cape Town, South Africa. The fleet is due into Cape Town between October 21 and 25 and will be berthed at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront until October 31.

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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