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Clipper Race: Teams enjoying strong westerlies

Published on June 30th, 2016

(June 30, 2016; Day 10) – The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet is enjoying strong westerly winds of 15 to 20 knots as it heads east in the North Atlantic Ocean on day 10 of The LegenDerry Finale to Derry-Londonderry. The frontrunners have started the Ocean Sprint section of the course, gunning for those all-important two extra points to add to their leaderboard tally.

LMAX Exchange is now leading the fleet, 6.5 nautical miles ahead of yesterday’s race leader ClipperTelemed+, which is 4 nautical miles ahead of home port entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire in third position. Those three teams have started the Ocean Sprint section this morning.

Peter Thornton, Skipper of GREAT Britain, in fourth place, 56 nautical miles behind the Northern Irish entry Derry~Londonderry~Doire, said it had been a fast 24 hours, but he wasn’t too confident of a fast Ocean Spring crossing due to the changing wind.

“Another good fast period of eastings made over the past 24 hours. Not all under spinnaker now due to the wind moving a little more into the north-west, the relative angle to us which was just too hot for the course we needed to continue holding the asymmetric spinnaker,” he said.

“Coming up is the Ocean Sprint section but with the wind at this angle for our time of crossing, it is unlikely to be faster than others who may get a better opportunity later on,” Peter added.

Huw Fernie, Skipper of eleventh-placed Visit Seattle, said the race was turning into more of a straight line race now, meaning gains and losses will be small and come from good boat speed and good driving rather than the weather or current his team had suffered from earlier in the week.

“The groups are in fairly uniform six hourly slots so jumping from one to the other will be a tough ask, though with 1500 nautical miles left to race there is still plenty of time to have a go before we are tied up on the dock in Derry-Londonderry.

“This wind has been good enough to drive us in the right direction, but it has brought patches of fog and damp, it really feels like we are on the way home now and thermals are once again coming out in force. Despite a downturn in the conditions laughter is back once more, so with more whales, dolphins and a shark beside us we’ve had another pretty good day out on the ocean,” Huw added.

On the south of the course, IchorCoal is headed for the Scoring Gate and should cross it today and then begin to head up further north.

After news of the course extension yesterday, Garmin Skipper Ash Skett was relieved he had some extra time to try and catch the leaders in hope of a podium position. The team is currently in seventh place, and fourth on the overall leaderboard, four points behind GREAT Britain and aiming for a final podium place.

“We see it [the course extension] as an opportunity to catch up with those ahead and with the pretty unpredictable conditions that are forecast, there may be an opportunity to climb some places yet,” Ash said.

Simon Rowell, the Clipper Race’s Meteorologist, said the good band of west-north-westerly winds going over the top of the North Atlantic High will continue for the next two to three days.

In his daily weather briefing to the Skippers, Simon said after that it will get somewhat changeable as the gap between systems comes over, but this shouldn’t last too long, and shouldn’t turn in to a large blocking high either.

*All positions correct as of 0900 UTC.

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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 is now racing from New York to London, starting the transatlantic crossing on June 20. The 4,894mi course includes three legs: New York, USA to Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland; Derry Londonderry to Den Helder, The Netherlands; and Den Helder to London, UK. The Clipper Race fleet is due to arrive in Derry Londonderry, Northern Ireland between July 7 to 11. The global circuit concludes on July 30.

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

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