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Clipper Race: It’s Getting a Little Complicated

Published on July 2nd, 2016

(July 2, 2016; Day 12) – After watching the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race blast across the North Atlantic in Race 12, The LegenDerry Finale, the weather forecasting is getting a little ‘complicated’ according to Clipper Race and Great Britain Olympic Sailing Team meteorologist Simon Rowell, with a weak ridge of high pressure providing more fickle conditions and potential wind holes that could shake things up as the fleet prepares to round Tory Island and head north-west towards Rockall.

“Moving out into the Atlantic the synoptic situation is becoming more complicated. Overall there is a low driving the easterly boats with the North Atlantic High pushing up a weak ridge between it and the following one,” says Simon in his report to the skippers this morning. “Skipper Max (PSP Logistics) looks to be just into the ridge, with Skipper Huw (Visit Seattle) still in the stronger stuff on the south of it; Skipper Bob (Qingdao) is just north of it and further east Skipper Wendo (Da Nang – Viet Nam) reports the conditions easing as the ridge approaches.”

Max Stunell, skipper on PSP Logistics confirmed in his report: “There is a mixed bag of weather moving between us and the rest of the fleet. The question is should I believe the routing software that tells us to take an easterly course towards Ireland or do we just point the boat down the rhumb line and hope for the best.

“We have encountered heavy rain which means we must be near the UK and it must be Wimbledon this week. We are now under Yankee getting wet waiting to see what the wind is going to do as it forces us towards the dreaded zeros of the predicted wind hole.”

Further east mid-fleet in sixth place (as at 0800 UTC) Garmin skipper Ash Skett observed: “A bit of an increase in wind saw us return to white sails yesterday which is actually quite welcome as it means a lot less stress on skipper, crew and boat. We are still maintaining decent boat speeds however, although how long that lasts is dependent on if we can outrun the light winds that are slowly creeping in from the west.

“I’m pretty certain that the course extension will mean that the lighter stuff is now unavoidable and it has the potential to mix up the race positions which have been fairly consistent for a while now. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out.”

Interesting isn’t probably the word skipper Dan Smith would use as his team aboard Derry~Londondery~Doire is giving everything to defend their tight lead as they approach the course extension at Tory Island. He said: “The worry is with a long beat to Rockall, and some light downwind sailing on the way back, the lead will be eroded, so we’ll keep pushing and hopefully stay in the breezier weather out in front and have some miles in the bag. All going well we’ll be round Tory Island before dark and on our way to Rockall. Roll-on Rockall.”

The ‘home’ team have a decent lead on LMAX Exchange and skipper Olivier Cardin’s two sentence report says it all: “Very difficult time now as we are losing a lot on Derry~Londonderry~Doire. 200 nautical miles to go before leaving Tory Island on port and going upwind. Hopefully, we will be better.”

ClipperTelemed+ is going to have to head further south-east to leave Tory Island to port before the turn which should be toDerry~Londonderry~Doire’s advantage.

It seems clear that the closing stages of the LegenDerry Finale are going to be nailbiting!

The majority of the fleet is still estimated to arrive in Derry-Londonderry on Wednesday 6 July. Click here to see the latest ETAs.

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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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