Clipper Race: Preparing For Eighty Knots
Published on November 16th, 2015
(November 16, 2015; Day 16) – The sun is shining and life at sea for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race has been brighter and steadier, however, a powerful incoming front, likely the strongest experienced so far in this Southern Ocean leg with gusts forecast to reach 80 knots, will soon put drastic change to this idyllic scene.
PSP Logistics Skipper Max Stunell, in tenth place, warns: “The next 36 hours are going to be tough. A strong front is moving across us and we are expecting some very gusty conditions. We have taken some precautions and luckily the past 24 hours has been smooth so everyone has rested.
“When it gets rough the conditions down below, especially in the galley, are akin to being on a roller coaster with jolts to the left and right and elements of free fall chucked in.”
In preparation for the storm’s arrival this evening, many teams have been taking the opportunity to rest in the currently steady conditions and are preparing meals in advance, as well as making extra boat maintenance and sail checks.
At the front of the race, LMAX Exchange, Derry~Londonderry~Doire and Qingdao have all now started the Ocean Sprint phase of the race course. With two bonus points on offer for the team which completes the 90 to 95 degree east course in the fastest time, it is all to play for.
Bob Beggs, Qingdao Skipper explains the tactical complexity of the Ocean Sprint, which he says poses the questions: “Do you (a) abandon your race strategy to square off across the start and finish line to cover the shortest possible distance in the fastest possible time? Or (b) continue with your overall race strategy to get to Albany before the competition? Either way the Ocean Sprint can be a bit of a lottery as those behind may have much better wind conditions when they start. Choices, choices…”
LMAX Exchange is expected to complete the Ocean Sprint this evening. Fourth placed GREAT Britain and fifth place Garmin will be next to cross the start line later today, still just 7 nautical miles apart.
Race standings are current as of 0900UTC.
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.