Clipper Race: Light Wind, Shipping Traffic, and Snow
Published on March 11th, 2016
(March 11, 2016; Day 13) – The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race teams still at sea are contending with frustratingly light airs in the final stages of The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup.
The freezing temperatures have delivered snow, but there should at least be some relief from the light winds with a small high pressure cell wandering east which should give the yachts south-south-east winds within the next few hours.
Simon Rowell, the Clipper Race Meteorologist, said these winds should last for about 36 hours.
Qingdao, racing to its home port, will be the next yacht to finish, in seventh place. Visit Seattle and IchorCoal are neck and neck, with Visit Seattle edging ahead this morning, but IchorCoal is nowone nautical mile ahead.
In his Skipper report today, IchorCoal’s Darren Ladd touched on the wide range of skills needed in an ocean racing team after the big mix of conditions over the last few days, which included a violent storm.
“The 2 knots boat speed we are currently wringing out of the Yankee 1 is not a bad return on the 3 knots of apparent wind currently on offer. Given the Yankee 4 only came down about 18 hours ago one can judge for yourself the flexibility needed in an ocean race crew.
“Since sunrise this morning we have aired the Yankee 2 and windseeker before deciding the best combination of course and boat speed were to be found with our current sail plan. Rather frustratingly Visit Seattle is finding boat speed out of very thin air. Morning Skipper Huw! What’s your secret mate?” Darren added.
Matt Mitchell, Skipper of ClipperTelemed+, said the heavy weather over the last few days had really tested both boat and crew, and it was now time for a regroup before the last push for the finish really begins.
“The wind has eased off as forecast and we are ticking along waiting for the high pressure to move further eastwards, where we will be expecting the wind to fill in from a more southerly direction, which will mean spinnaker up and high boat speeds to the finish. I anticipate that we will be crossing the finish line during the night tomorrow night, if all goes to plan that is,” Matt stated.
The yachts have had the added stress of dealing with extremely busy shipping lanes, following the enormous fishing fleets they have been sailing through for the last week.
Six yachts have finished The Sailing City • Qingdao Cup so far. They are first-placed Derry~Londonderry~Doire, followed by Garmin, LMAX Exchange, Mission Performance, GREAT Britain and PSP Logistics in order of final ranking.
For ETA updates, click here.
All positions correct as of 1000 UTC.
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.