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Clipper Race: Tides and Tactics

Published on July 19th, 2016

(July 19, 2016; Day 2) – Light, patchy winds and the strong tidal conditions north of Scotland are testing nerves and patience as the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race teams battle to clear notorious Pentland Firth and make it out into the North Sea.

The leaderboard has been changing regularly due to the light, shifting wind in the Firth that has delivered a concertina effect and mixed fortunes. The tides can reach in excess of 10 knots in the Firth, making it a slow passage in the Den Helder North Seas Challenge to The Netherlands.

ClipperTelemed+* has made it out of the Pentland Firth first after taking more of an inshore route, and is now making 8.6 knots in south, south-easterly winds.

Derry~Londonderry~Doire is behind in second place having passed John O’ Groats, with PSP Logistics in third and Qingdao extremely close behind in fourth position.

Qingdao Skipper Bob Beggs described the last 24 hours and the decisions to come in his Skipper report today.

“Today has seen the most exciting sailing. Tidal races and headlands produce lots of interesting tactical decisions. I am sure those watching the race on the Clipper Race Viewer will be wondering what we are all doing at times.

“We have seen our position fluctuate between the back and the front of the fleet as the wind died overnight. We are busy trying to keep going against a foul tide in the Pentland Firth.

“Now that the tide is turning in our favour we will soon be in the North Sea beating our way south avoiding the oil platforms and shipping lanes before our landfall in Den Helder,” Bob added.

With Derry~Londonderry~Doire currently ahead of overall race leader LMAX Exchange, and positions changing between GREAT Britain and its old rival Garmin, the overall leaderboard could be shaken up in the battle for points.

Martin Clough, Skipper of Unicef, now in ninth position, has not fared as well, as Martin describes:

“For those of you watching our progress on Race Viewer, you will know that our fortunes seem to have changed this morning. After some great helming yesterday by the guys, we had battled our way into third position after some close racing with Visit Seattle and GREAT Britain.

“After nightfall, the wind died and we all entered the great parking lot on the north coast of Scotland. Our position now looks very unclear, and will depend on how we all fare with tide and steadily increasing wind.

“Tacking our way towards the Pentland Firth, with most of the fleet between us and the lighthouse, so the race begins again,” Martin added.

*Positions correct as of 1000 UTC.

Event WebsiteRace ViewerTeam ReportsFacebook

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 now on the 770 nm second leg and is due to arrive in Den Helder, The Netherlands between July 22 and 23. 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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