Clipper Race: The Challenge of Ocean Racing
Published on July 4th, 2016
(July 4, 2016; Day 14) – After setting a blistering pace across the Atlantic, some of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race teams in the LegenDerry Finale have found themselves all but grind to a halt in the light winds off the north coast of Ireland.
Those on the approach to Tory Island are still managing 8 to 10 knots but round the corner en route to Rockall is a different story with Da Nang – Viet Nam and Garmin both struggling to make 1 knot of boat speed when they polled at 1000 UTC.
“We have now passed Tory Island and have started our upwind leg. What a wild beautiful place it looked, another island on the ‘to visit list’, but will it ever happen?” Da Nang – Viet Nam Skipper Wendy Tuck pondered in her daily report today.
“We have now started on an upwind course. The breeze was nice and fresh to start off with but now is easing,” she added.
One place ahead of Da Nang – Viet Nam and currently fifth in Race 12 is Garmin. Keen to make up enough ground to catch GREAT Britain 17 nautical miles in front and close in on a potential podium finish in London by scoring well in the final three races, Skipper Ash Skett voiced his frustrations at the conditions they have found themselves in.
“The wind has dropped off now and it promises to be a long day of going nowhere in our fight to get to the island of Rockall. When the wind does eventually fill in again, it will be from the north-west, which means progress will still be frustratingly slow. If the forecast is to be believed, as we round the island it is highly likely that the wind will swing all the way around to the south-east which means we get another upwind slog all the way back towards Derry-Londonderry,” he said.
As the distances between the first seven boats continues to tighten, only 0.07 nm separates ClipperTelemed+ and LMAX Exchange, which at the moment are holding first and second place. Derry~Londonderry~Doirewas leading the race before going into Stealth Mode at 1200 UTC yesterday, so when its position is shown again at 1200 UTC today, there is no telling how this could affect the top three.
Heading towards Tory Island, Qingdao, Mission Performance, Visit Seattleand PSP Logistics are making better speeds than their competitors ahead but progress still feels “painfully slow” according to PSP Logistics Skipper Max Stunell, as the teams beat into the wind.
Mission Performance Skipper Greg Miller commented on how small margins and the unpredictability of weather systems is all part of the challenge of ocean racing.
“Yesterday was a light wind day with not much to write home about. Unfortunately Qingdao had positioned itself more north of us which had worked well for it, getting the better winds first. We still have a long way to go to Tory Island which as I write this is at 200 NM and seems like 1000 NM away with this wind. The tactics a week ago all looked so simple, but that is the thing about the weather, it changes constantly. Again that is ocean sailing for you.”
The Race Committee announced last night that due to planned missile firing tests by the Navy, the mark at St Kilda has been removed and a new one inserted at Rathlin Island. The final finish line will remain the same but the fleet will cross it from east to west.
Race Director Justin Taylor said: “This will have the effect of shortening the course a little but with the dying breeze and lower boat speeds the fleet should still start to cross the finish line late on 5 July, with the first teams arriving in Derry-Londonderry on 6 July.”
The Race Viewer has been updated accordingly but please note that due to the close proximity of the inward and outward bound revised route around Rockall, the automatic Distance to Finish may not work accurately with waypoints so close.
The majority of the fleet is still estimated to arrive in Derry-Londonderry on Wednesday 6 July. Click here to see the latest ETAs.
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