Clipper Race: Deteriorating Conditions
Published on March 1st, 2016
(March 1, 2016; Day 3) – The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet is enduring some difficult conditions with the wind increasing significantly, delivering speeds of up to 40 knots over the last 24 hours and short, sharp waves, making progress upwind very uncomfortable.
Waves of three to four metres are creating a lot of slamming action on day 3 of The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup. Sail changes are very physically demanding on the teams as they try and work the best sail plan to their advantage.
ClipperTelemed+ is still leading the fleet, with Visit Seattle in second, and GREAT Britain in third place. ClipperTelemed+ Skipper Matt Mitchell reports: “Life is extremely uncomfortable at the moment as we beat our way into an increasing seaway. The wind is hanging around the 30 knot mark and the swell is setting in at around 3 metres which makes for some impressive wave breaking action over the bow.
“Our position against the fleet is pretty good at the moment and we are concentrating on making the best Velocity Made Good (VMG) that we can.”
The conditions have deteriorated due to the north east monsoon being strengthened by a developing low moving away over Japan. The conditions are expected to stay strong for another two to three days.
The teams are making a respectable 7 to 9 knots as they head east before turning north through the Luzon Strait and up the east coast of Taiwan.
Max Stunnell, Skipper of PSP Logistics, in fourth place, said: “Well this is exciting, blasting up waves the size of houses, hoping there is going to be something behind it so we are not just plummeting into an abyss. Having tried various sail plans, getting some hard-working crew very wet in the process we have settled on a plan that allows us good speed and control without waves breaking all the way to the back pedestal winch!”
Meanwhile, in Da Nang, Vietnam, the South East Asian destination the fleet departed on Saturday, the city is celebrating Wendy Tuck Day in honour of the Australian female Skipper of the city’s namesake entry.
Will ClipperTelemed+ hold onto its lead? How will the strong winds and big swells effect the fleet’s tactical decisions?
All positions correct as of 0900UTC.
UPDATE: In January during the leg from Australia to Vietnam, LMAX Exchange came across a dismasted boat south of Guam (see report). At the time, the Clipper Race was unable to release any further details but it was in fact the German-registered yacht Sayo which was recently discovered off the coast of the Philippines with the sole occupant dead, probably for some considerable time. An LMAX Exchange crew member had boarded the yacht and reported the find which was relayed to the relevant authorities who instructed the team to continue racing while they took over the investigation and traced the next of kin.
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 on January 18 from Whitsundays, Australia for the two-part 6,985 mile course that stops in Da Nang, Vietnam before restarting on February 27 and continuing to Qingdao, China.
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.