Clipper Race: Temporary Time Out

Published on November 15th, 2015

(November 15, 2015; Day 15) – Steady surfs and large swells eased over the past 24 hours for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet, having been replace with light, fluffy winds overnight and this morning which are now providing a temporary time out from the strenuous Southern Ocean onslaught of the past seven days.

ClipperTelemed+ Skipper Matt Mitchell, in ninth position, reports: “We’ve been making steady progress all day and life is a little more comfortable now than it was yesterday morning. The wind had continued to build and we were sailing with deep reefed main and Yankee 3 in 50 to 60 knots of wind with a very large swell, at times tipping the 8 to 10 metre mark.

“The crew handled the conditions admirably and kept the good ship ClipperTelemed+ pointing in the right direction while surfing at speeds in excess of 20 knots pretty much every wave. It really was an impressive sight, seeing this moving mountain range complete with white caps illuminated by the brilliant sunshine.

“As the day wore on conditions have eased and we are expecting a period of settled weather before the onset of the next front due later this evening.”

Huw Fernie, Skipper of Visit Seattle, in eleventh position, backs this up as he reports this morning: “The strong winds of the last few days are over. They departed us last night and we are now left with a long rolling sea and the memories but little else to show for what we have been through over the last week.

“The light patch we were stuck in last night had us pointing in all directions and will undoubtedly have made for slow progress on the Race Viewer; it wasn’t forecast to be so light for so long, but there is nothing to be done. If there is an upside it’s that we all slept like babies, so for the first time in a long time the boat is full of people instead of zombies. It’s amazing what a night’s rest and a little sunshine can do.”

The overall fleet positions still remain largely unchanged from yesterday. LMAX Exchange still leads, just over 100 nautical miles ahead of Derry~Londonderry~Doire in second and Qingdao, third. Fourth place GREAT Britain and fifth place Garmin are battling out the closest rivalry of the fleet, as just five miles currently separates them.

PSP Logistics Skipper Max Stunell, tenth, is already finding the light wind conditions frustrating, though he notes: “The only consolation is that it will affect most of the fleet. You can guarantee that it will fill in at some stage, and looking at the forecast the wind will certainly be doing that soon! Think we could be in for a very wet and windy time.”

This calm, light patch is definitely temporary. The next expected weather front is getting stronger, and depending where and when it passes over teams, they may have gusts into the 70 knot region in the next 24 to 48 hours, with a big back round to the south west after it goes over.

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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 third leg began October 31 and takes the fleet 4845 nm from Cape Town, South Africa to Albany, Western Australia. The fleet is estimated to finish between November 22 and 26.

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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