Clipper Race: New Speed Record Set

Published on October 16th, 2015

(October 16, 2015; Race 2, Day 9) – It has been a day of fast spinnaker sailing as the front passed over the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet, with multiple teams breaking speed and distance records, including another new reported top speed of 32.9 knots whilst surfing in the gusts on board Mission Performance.

The wind has eased slightly now to around 20 knots for the front of the pack, but with some gusts of up to 40 knots still providing lively conditions. Garmin, in first place, is 14 nautical miles ahead of second-placed GREAT Britain and has 1246 nautical miles to run until the finish in Cape Town.

Next up on Race 2: The Stormhoek Race to the Cape of Storms is the Ocean Sprint section, which the front runners are 40 nautical miles away from starting in attempt for an extra two and one bonus point for the fastest time across it.

Darren Ladd, Skipper of IchorCoal, in tenth place overall, and further south on the Great Circle Route, said his team’s 24 hour distance covered figure will be a cracker today. “The good ship IchorCoal has been surfing its way towards Cape Town under a reefed main and white sails at times hitting over 20 knots. At last the winds are becoming favourable and we can point more or less towards the destination. Midday tomorrow shows lighter winds up north so we’ll discover if the plan to head south has been worth it. It certainly wasn’t the popular choice, but there are a few of us down here.

“Despite the challenging conditions, the crew’s mood is buoyant. There are lots of cheers and noise from the deck as each helm tries to outdo the last,” he added.

For the two westerly boats, Qingdao and LMAX Exchange, it was the opposite weather situation, with a day of frustratingly light winds. Using their average speed to date so far then LMAX Exchange is ninth, and Qingdao is twelfth.

Igor Gotlibovych, Skipper of Qingdao, says: “We struggled to make progress upwind, with tacking angles well above the usual. Since race start, the wind has now gone one full circle – with us putting in one gybe and one tack respectively. Such is the cycle of the South Atlantic weather, driven by the constant passage of low pressure system with high pressure cells forming the meshing cogwheels in between,” Igor added.

But conditions will be similar to that the main fleet has experienced for LMAX Exchange and Qingdao over the next two days, with strong winds and gusts into the 40s, Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell predicted.

Will LMAX Exchange and Qingdao make up time? Who will record the fastest time across the Ocean Sprint section? Keep following progress to find out.

All positions correct as of 1000 UTC.

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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