Clipper Race: An exhilarating night

Published on March 25th, 2016

(March 25, 2016; Day 5) – The wind has eased off substantially after an exhilarating night of sailing with a steady 30 knots, and gusts of 50 knots as the teams racing the Seattle Pacific Challenge, Race 9 of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, had their first experience of the might of the North Pacific Ocean.

The wind has been fluctuating and very variable due to the direction and the Japanese land mass, meaning many sail changes have been necessary to keep up with the conditions.

As a result of the variable conditions, there have been some changes on the leaderboard on day 5 of the Seattle Pacific Challenge. Garmin still leads the fleet, with Derry~Londonderry~Doire up into second place and GREAT Britain now in third place, with Unicef moving down a place into fourth.

ClipperTelemed+ is up into fifth position, with Da Nang – Viet Nam in sixth and LMAX Exchange moving down five places into seventh.

Bob Beggs, Skipper of Qingdao, in twelfth, described the last 24 hours of racing.

“Due to the complimentary east Japan current we were often seeing ground speeds of over 12 knots for a boat speed of only nine knots. This combined with a short sea meant we were often launching ourselves off the top of waves with no back and crashing down the other side, with the impact shaking the boat relentlessly.

“This made sleep difficult except that many of the crew were very tired and several suffering from Mal de Mer. Today as we shake out the reefs many are coming back to life slowly, with others exhilarated by the exciting sailing overnight,” Bob added.

Darren Ladd, Skipper of IchorCoal, in eleventh position, said his team was now making steady progress after an eventful night that saw the wind spike from mid-20s to a peak gust of 50 knots.

“For a while until first light this morning we were making 10+ knots under staysail and reefed main alone. We now have the Yankee 2 up and everything is going swimmingly.

“The gap between the back of the pack and us seems to be decreasing and with a forecast predicting light winds ahead, fingers are crossed that the whole fleet will bunch up. For us this would be a bit of a let off after being well and truly left behind after a reasonable start,” Darren added.

The weather is forecast to remain steady for the next couple of days, with more benign conditions.

*All positions correct as of 0900UTC.

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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 fleet departed on March 21 from Qingdao, China for the 6,637 mile course to Seattle, USA and are expected to arrive between April 15 to 20.

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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