Clipper Race: Life At An Angle

Published on December 4th, 2015

(December 4, 2015; Day 4) – The steady, downwind race is over and the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race teams now find themselves living at an uncomfortable degree angle, beating into variable headwinds as they battle the frustrating conditions to select the best Ocean Sprint route.

After starting the Ocean Sprint section at approximately the same time, teams are now almost half way through it with Visit Seattle currently holding onto its overall race lead. Mission Performance and Garmin remain second and third, followed closely by GREAT Britain and Derry~Londonderry~Doire.

Huw Fernie, Skipper of first- place Visit Seattle reports: “Today has been a day for racing headsail changes as we are working hard to keep moving through the changeable winds. We have now entered the Ocean Sprint and the crew are digging a little deeper to maintain good speeds, creating challenging angles for the mothers.

“The mood is good as for the last few reports we find ourselves in first place. There are a fair few miles to go to Sydney, yet a happy crew who eagerly wait for the reports keeping everything crossed. Happy Hour truly is that and to see beaming faces shows that their extra effort continues to pay off.”

With the variable easterly winds forecasted to build to 30 knots tomorrow, and potentially gusting 40 to 45 knots on Sunday, the difficult upwind conditions are expected to get even tougher as the fleet continues to make its way across the Great Australian Bight to the next race mark, Tasmania.

After its excellent fourth place position yesterday, Unicef is now ninth after dropping furthest south in the fleet. Skipper Martin Clough says it’s been tough but the team is remaining positive: “It has been a frustrating 24 hours for Unicef, with variable winds and squalls which will have affected our position. The wind moved forward earlier and has forced us south. Hmmmm!

“The team has been working very hard with headsail changes and reefs as the wind has ranged from 8 knots to 30 knots in the squalls. Spirits are still high and we are very pleased with our performance so far.”

LMAX Exchange entered Stealth Mode at 0600 UTC this morning and will have its position hidden on the Race Viewer until 0600 UTC tomorrow. Where will it pop up tomorrow? Will Visit Seattle hold onto the lead to claim its first ever bonus points? Stay tuned to the Race Viewer to find out.

Event WebsiteRace ViewerTeam ReportsFacebook

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 fourth race began December 1 and takes the fleet on three legs within Australia: Albany to Sydney, Sydney to Hobart, Hobart to Whitsundays… a total of 5,105 miles. The leg to Sydney is expected to take around 11-14 days to complete with an arrival window of December 12-15.

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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