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Clipper Race: Westerly Tactics in Play

Published on August 27th, 2017

(August 27, 2017; Day 7) – It has been yet another testing 24 hours for the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet with a mixed bag of conditions leading to further movement on the leader board.

For the cluster that chose to take the westerly course, making the bold decision to add extra miles to their route, the gamble is beginning to pay off, as they enjoy favorable wind conditions and begin to advance on the leaders.

GREAT Britain Skipper Andy Burns, currently in eleventh place, has been keeping a close eye on and Liverpool 2018, ranked tenth and eighth respectively.

Andy said: “Things are hotting up on the GREAT Britain boat as we try harder and harder to chase the pack at the front of the fleet. Hopefully our tactics of staying further offshore will start paying off soon.”

However, for those who chose the more direct route to the east, initial success has now been stalled as they suffer through another painful day of low winds in the centre of a wind hole, all the time watching their leads disappear. Wendy Tuck, Skipper of Sanya Serenity Coast, which is currently clinging on to first place, comments: “It’s always a bit tough to see your lead chipped away, or should I say smashed to smithereens!

“We are now just waiting for the morning heartbreak, otherwise known as the position report. I did have it all planned out how to go around the weather system, but we just lost speed a tad too early and never got a chance to use my cunning plan.”

This was a thought echoed by Skipper Dale Smyth on fourth placed Dare To Lead.

“Well a tough day yesterday as we watched all our hard work slip away as we sat in a windless hole.”

Maintaining a positive outlook, despite slipping further down the rankings, is Bob Beggs, Skipper of Unicef. Unicef is now in fifth place behind Visit Seattle (second), Garmin (third), and Dare To Lead, but Bob said: “The focus onboard is good, and with just over 5,000 nautical miles to push, the race is just getting warmed up.”

The weather ahead looks promising; with some stable conditions on offer for those to the west and some wind on the way for those stuck in the wind hole yesterday.

After Greenings Skipper, David Harsthorn, suffered a serious injury to his left hand which requires emergency medical attention, the Greenings team has stopped racing and is diverting to Porto, Portugal.

The incident occurred on board Greenings to Skipper David Hartshorn, 52, a British professional sailor, at approximately 23:00 BST last night on day seven of the opening leg of the Clipper Race, from Liverpool to Punta del Este, Uruguay.

Clipper Race Director Mark Light explains: “The incident occurred around 450 Nm off the Portuguese coast whilst David was leading a spinnaker drop in breezy conditions. Unfortunately, his left thumb became caught in one of the lines which has resulted in some serious damage.”

The decision to divert to Porto was made quickly following assessment from the race’s remote medical support physicians at PRAXES as well as the team’s onboard medic, that an urgent operation is required.

Mark added: “In this rare situation that the Skipper is incapacitated, Coxswain qualified crew members on board each team have received intensive training on how to take control of the yacht alongside the Skipper and lead it safely to the nearest port, where further assistance will be provided, which is the case in this situation.”

The yacht is under good control between the Clipper Race Coxswain and Skipper and all other crew are safe and well. David himself is currently in very good spirits, being constantly monitored, and has been given morphine and antibiotics.

Due to the distance from Porto, which is estimated to be approximately two days sailing away, options are currently being examined for a medevac to be organised before the yacht reaches land. Once the team arrive into port, they will be met by Clipper Race officials who will advise the next steps to enable the team to continue its race to Uruguay.

All crew on board are safe and well and their emergency contacts are being informed of the situation.

The 12 teams started the 6,400 nm leg from Liverpool, UK to Punta del Este, Uruguay on August 20, which is expected to take approximately 35 days to complete, making it the longest ever in the race’s 21-year history.

Event detailsRace factsRace viewerFacebook

Background: Held biennially, the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race got underway August 20 for the fleet of twelve identical Tony Castro designed Clipper 70s. The 40,000 nm course is divided into 13 individual races with the team having the best cumulative score winning the Clipper Race Trophy. Each team is led by a professional skipper with an all-amateur crew that signs up for one, some, or all the races. The 2017-18 race, expected to take 11 months, has attracted 712 people representing 41 nationalities, making it the largest to date.

Race RouteRace Schedule and Miles


Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

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