Clipper Race: Everything Still to Play For
Published on July 5th, 2016
(July 5, 2016; Day 15) – With 175 nautical miles remaining in the LegenDerry Finale, Derry~Londonderry~Doire is leading the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to its home port once again, but with only 7.5 nm between the front three teams as they head for the final waypoint round Rathlin Island, a nail-bitingly close finish looks guaranteed with everything still to play for in this thrilling final stage.
The leaders all rounded Rockall together, within metres of each other, a remarkable feat after more than 3200 nm of racing across the Atlantic Ocean. LMAX Exchange Skipper Olivier Cardin, currently 3 nm behind Derry~Londonderry~Doire in second place, explains some of the cat and mouse racing over the last 24 hours.
“Beating, we saw Derry~Londonderry~Doire yesterday in the sunset and lost him during the night. Thought he was on the left but not sure. This morning ClipperTelemed+ came back from the right and crossed 3.5 nm ahead. We played some shifts and took the lead. Under control we kept going to Rockall with ClipperTelemed+ 400 metres behind.
“We didn’t know where Derry~Londonderry~Doire was. And 10 nm before Rockall, a sail appeared, he was on the left! Same bearing before crossing… it will be a close finish! And in fact we crossed two boat lengths behind, four miles off Rockall, with ClipperTelemed+ still 400m behind us.”
Derry~Londonderry~Doire Skipper Daniel Smith adds: “Rockall was impressive and a much bigger rock than I imagined. We skirted the side of the exclusion zone before hoisting our spinnaker and setting off downwind towards Rathlin Island. We hope that the wind holds. Currently we are just in first and with a bit of a blow we’ll be able to open up the gap and have enough power to negotiate the Traffic Separation Scheme and strong tides at Rathlin Island.”
Not giving up the fight, with such a short distance between ClipperTelemed+ and the two yachts in front, Skipper Matt Mitchell knows that his team are still in the running for a back-to-back win after their success into New York in Race 11.
“It’s a race against time now as light airs are forecast for about 24 hours’ time before swinging around to the south which could give us another bout of headwinds. It’s a bit of a drag race between the top three at the moment and there’s not too much in it really. Safe to say we are looking pretty safe for an arrival on 6th July.”
Further back in the fleet, the other teams are also gripped by the battle for podium places. Twelfth placed IchorCoal Skipper Rich Gould observes: “Although we have no chance of catching the front of the fleet it certainly is making compelling viewing. The forecast for the lead boats looks to be throwing down one last challenge, this coupled with the fact that the proximity to the coast will mean that tide (and lots of it!) becomes a large factor, could mean that there might be a big reshuffle of the fleet before the line is crossed.”
Given the most recent estimated arrival times, the winning team for Race 12 should have crossed the finish line at Greencastle by this time tomorrow (Wednesday 6 July) and arrived at the Foyle Marina. Arrivals are then due to spread across the coming days with other teams working to finish as high up the standings as possible because of the impact this will have on the Overall Race Standings come Race Finish in London.
With just days to go until the final ocean crossing of the Clipper 2015-16 Race is completed, Qingdao Skipper Bob Beggs, who won the Clipper 2000-2001 Race reflects on the remarkable race the fleet has had from New York.
“For the many leggers in the fleet this will be probably their first and possibly the last ocean crossing they complete. They discovered the Atlantic in one of her calmest moods. As a veteran of seventeen crossings this has been the fastest crossing I have made and the first in which I crossed without putting a reef in the mainsail.
“But with three or so days to still to run the race is far from over and the Atlantic may still have a trick up her sleeve before we arrive for the ‘LegenDerry’ Derry-Londonderry reception,” he added.
Who will be first to cross the line? Stay tuned to the Race Viewer to see if Daniel Smith and his crew can make this another historic home port win for Derry~Londonderry~Doire, and see how the rest of the fleet stand.
Given how closely the teams are passing each other to and from Rockall, please be aware that we will be seeing some incorrect data from the Race Viewer whilst we have boats travelling the same course in opposite directions. In the event of this place follow the tracking lines to work out positions rather than the current race table. 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