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Clipper Race: Australian female skipper wins Sydney Hobart Clipper Class

Published on December 30th, 2015

(December 30, 2015) – Wendy ‘Wendo’ Tuck, the first female Australian Skipper in the history of the Clipper Around the World Yacht Race, has clinched first place in the Clipper 70 class of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.

Wendy, the Sydney Skipper of Da Nang – Viet Nam, managed to hold off GREAT Britain and LMAX Exchange in a tight, tactical battle up the Derwent River. The team crossed the line at 1601 AEDT (0501 UTC) and finished in 22nd place in overall line honours.

At one point over the last 24 hours, the gap had narrowed to less than 3 nautical miles before Wendo opened up her lead to 10 nautical miles in the final few hours.

Da Nang – Viet Nam managed to keep up good speed over the last 30 miles after the threat of lightening winds didn’t materialise.

It is the first podium for Wendo and team in the Clipper 2015-16 Race global series. This is Race 5 of 14.

“This is my favourite Sydney Hobart ever,” said Wendy who has now finished her ninth Sydney Hobart.

“It was so intense, it was horrible over the last few hours but we managed to avoid the wind holes and keep up good speed with the rest of the Clipper 70 fleet bearing down on us. We only lost speed momentarily. I was trying not to get too excited, but the crew were so pumped as we approached the finish.

“The crew have really performed and I am so impressed. In this race, I realised I can push them harder, and that is going to be key going forward from here. We know we can get the results,” Wendy added.

Wendy also takes the Jane Tate Memorial Trophy for being the first female Skipper across the finish Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race finish line.

Also aboard celebrating the win is local Hobart resident David Graney, a round the world crew member.

GREAT Britain finished the RSHYR in second place in the Clipper 70 class at 1722 local time/0622 UTC, and LMAX Exchange in third place at 1739 AEDT/0639 UTC.

Pete Thornton, Skipper of GREAT Britain, said: “It feels pretty awesome to have just come second in the Clipper 70 class in one of the most famous races in the world. I am really happy for Wendo and Da Nang Viet Nam – I wouldn’t have wanted anyone else to win this. I thought we might have caught up but Da Nang Viet Nam pulled out a good lead in the final few hours and there was no way we could catch up.

“We are pleased with our second place and getting another point closer to the top of the leaderboard by beating LMAX Exchange, too,” Peter added.

Olivier Cardin, Skipper of LMAX Exchange, currently overall series leader, said: “That was the hardest race yet of the Clipper Race series.

“It was very difficult to manage the weather and the current. Getting out of Sydney Harbour was also very stressful with so many yachts around in such a little area, but the start was a great experience and one we will never forget.

“We had a tussle with GREAT Britain again and lost out this time, but it was great to have the rest of the Clipper Race fleet so close around us,” Olivier added.

There won’t be much time to celebrate or rest in Hobart for the Clipper Race fleet as the next test, the Henri Lloyd Hobart to Whitsundays Race starts on 2 January.

From Abell Point Marina, Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays, the Clipper 70 fleet will race onto Da Nang, Viet Nam, for the first time in the 19-year history of the Clipper Race. The fleet will arrive into Viet Nam in mid-February 2016.

For the overall RSHYR rankings, click here.

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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 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 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.

CLIPPER ROUTE

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