Clipper Race: King Neptune returns

Published on February 2nd, 2016

(February 2, 2016; Day 14) – For the first time since escaping the Solomon Sea Doldrums, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet is experiencing much drier conditions and smoother sailing, as it continues to head north-west towards the next waypoint off the south coast of Taiwan.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire continues to head up the fleet and has opened up a 35 nautical mile lead over second placed GREAT Britain. The battle for third remains tight between Qingdao, Garmin and LMAX Exchange, but for now the Chinese sponsored entry holds a 6nM advantage over Garmin.

Skipper Bob Beggs says: “For the last few hours we have had sporadic views of Garmin on AIS (Automatic Identification System) and can now see them on the horizon on our starboard flank. It is the first sighting of another yacht for nearly a week but as we approach the next waypoint yachts always seem to come together. The wind is at last veering which will allow us to change to our medium weight spinnaker. The guys on deck are now preparing for a peel so I will be called on deck shortly to help.

“Although Vietnam is getting closer, our arrival in Da Nang is still two weeks away so our focus remains with the racing. With the new course having been set, there are many opportunities to trade places amongst the fleet and there may be some interesting racing ahead.”

Qingdao has been embroiled in a battle with Garmin and LMAX Exchangefor days now, and the tight racing is driving the teams on as they wait for an opportunity to outwit their rivals, as Garmin Skipper Ash Skett says: “We have both LMAX Exchange and Qingdao in AIS range, one either side at about the same distance, making a juicy Garmin sandwich. With consistent and stable winds forecast for the immediate future, there will be little opportunity to make great gains for now but with the extended course hopefully there should be more tactical plays to come later.”

As the Trade Winds weaken slightly, a low front will come down from the north before sweeping east. The smooth sailing has finally allowed some of the Clipper Race fleet to have a special visitor on board nearly a week after crossing the Equator. King Neptune arrived on ClipperTelemed+, Garmin and GREAT Britain for the Pollywog crew members to pay their dues.

GREAT Britain Skipper Peter Thornton says: “Today we finally managed to find some suitable weather and time to conduct our crossing the line ceremony. There was a good hour at midday whereby the tadpoles became Shellbacks! Suitable court was called with costumes to fit the players and big splodges of a secret food based sludge were applied to the new crew after charges were read out, to which all pleaded guilty. The fire hose was used to great effect to wash down both crew and deck afterwards.”

The Ocean Sprint on the Da Nang New Spirit of Asia Race has been amended to take into account the new course.

It has been changed from between the lines of longitude, 121E and 116E to between the lines of latitude 18 30N and 16 00N.

Race Director Justin Taylor explained: “It has been changed to fairly reflect what a sprint should be. With the course change the original Ocean Sprint coordinates would have produced a diagonal course across the two lines of longitude. The new position of the Ocean Sprint produces a distance of approx. 150nM.”

To find out more about King Neptune and the Equator crossing ceremony, click here.

*Positions correct at 1000 UTC.

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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 fleet departed Australia on January 18 for the 6,070 nm leg from Whitsundays to Da Nang, Vietnam, with the fleet expected to arrive between February 17 and 21.

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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