Clipper Race: Done and Dusted
Published on May 20th, 2016
(May 20, 2016; Day 21) – The Seattle to Panama leg on the Clipper Round the World Yacht draws to a close after the Race Committee announced yesterday that the compulsory Remedios Gate would be the finish line as wind conditions lighten in the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) – the dreaded Doldrums.
Four teams had already crossed the line and a further four have now finished after a fierce fight to maximise points. The remaining four will struggle to reach the line before the deadline of 1200 UTC today and will have their distance from it measured to determine the remaining places.
The teams that have now finished are motoring to Costa Rica to refuel, as planned, en route to the Panama Canal to make the scheduled transit window.
To recap on the podium places for the PSP Logistics Panama Cup, it was LMAX Exchange, ClipperTelemed+ and Unicef as the first three, closely followed by Derry~Londonderry~Doire in fourth.
Garmin, a little further back, secured fifth place and Skipper Ash Skett reflected on a tough tactical race: “We crossed the line at around 1100 local (1448 UTC) and celebrated a good result, all things considered. During the race we struggled in lighter than expected winds inshore for most of the time and although the tactic finally came good towards the end, it was too little too late to catch the leaders.
“It was a good performance by our team who never gave up, stayed focused throughout and managed to keep the boat moving in what was mostly frustrating light-wind conditions. The race as a whole was easier than most in some respects, such as comfort, but tougher in others such as tactics and technical sailing. It was certainly a sharp contrast to the previous leg and for those that experienced both races, the two extremes of sailing could not be more apparent.”
There was a relatively close fight for the next three places as Qingdao, GREAT Britain and IchorCoal took sixth, seventh and eighth place respectively.
Qingdao Skipper Bob Beggs described their tactics as the forecast wind direction failed to materialise: “This forced our hand to abandon our final race strategy due to unpredictable winds and go on a tactical footing, to place ourselves between our competitors and the finish line. This meant taking the north east tack to place ourselves between GREAT Britain, IchorCoal and the Remedios Gate. By heading north-east we soon came upon GREAT Britain and put our tactical plan into play and covered it all the way to the line.
“Luckily the tactical plan played out and Qingdao managed to stay ahead of GREAT Britain and IchorCoal to the finish line in a well fought race by all.”
From GREAT Britain, Skipper Peter Thornton reported: “The last twelve hours or so were relatively close with Qingdao but in the end it had the speed on us.” The unpredictable wind direction and squalls then challenged GREAT Britain’s course to the line. Peter added: “It all conspired to push both us and Qingdao much further south than desired… So began a slow and painful tacking session up to the mark as the wind swung and eased. This would have been not quite so painful if IchorCoal had not been trucking down from further north and on course straight for the finish line. Luckily, we managed to scrape round the finish mark a couple hours after Qingdao and just before we saw IchorCoal pop up on AIS (Automatic Identification System) doing around 9 knots, which was much faster than our 3-4 knots VMG (Velocity Made Good) into wind and current!”
The final places will be confirmed later today and the Race 10 leaderboard completed accordingly. So this is the last Daily Update for Race 10. ETAs into Panama will be posted on the web site in the next few days. Race 11 to New York is scheduled to start on 30 May.
*All positions correct as at 0700 UTC
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 current race began in Seattle on April 30 at 0320 UTC (April 29 at 2020 local time) and will take the teams along the 4208 nm course to Panama.
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.
Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race