Clipper Race: Leaders Heat Up, Literally

Published on August 30th, 2017

(August 30, 2017; Day 10) – The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet continued to make good progress under spinnaker in the Trade Winds but the race leaders further south are starting to feel the heat, quite literally.

Qingdao and GREAT Britain continue to hold on to first and second position respectively but and Dare To Lead have snuck into third and fourth position, overtaking Sanya Serenity Coast from the east.

Skipper of Qingdao, Chris Kobusch, reports: “We are experiencing the finest spinnaker weather and are flying towards our destination at around 10 knots. The rest of the fleet is chasing us at a similar course and pace and a lot can happen over the next 4 days.

“The only real struggle at the moment is the heat inside the yacht. [With the] ventilated fiberglass hull that gets heated from the inside as well as from the burning sun outside…you get one of the finest saunas available. The crew takes it with more or less humour and the occasional salt water bucket shower at the back of the boat becomes more and more frequent.” has clearly benefitted from being able to keep their medium weight spinnaker flying for over 80 hours although the Skipper, Conall Morrison, is finding the more temperate climes a bit challenging: “The heat is a bit much for me personally, and there was a welcome cheer from the crew when our Engineer, Greg Glover, declared that there was enough water for everyone to have a shower.”

Sanya Serenity Coast has slipped into fifth position and Skipper, Wendy Tuck, reports: “Tonight has been a tough night, started off lovely, then the cloud cover came over which made helming under kite a tad difficult. We only had our more experienced helms on but, at times, was still tricky. So far, so good, and it is just getting lighter now so hopefully we have got through this one unscathed.”

Visit Seattle, Garmin, Unicef, and Liverpool 2018 all follow closely behind in the leaderboard with PSP Logistics a bit further back along with Nasdaq who has been busy making sail repairs. Rob Graham, Skipper of Nasdaq, explains the dilemma he faced about re-hoisting the recently repaired spinnaker: “The wind and sea conditions were perfect for a spinnaker run, but I eventually decided to play safe: continue the helm coaching under Yankee 1, and plan for a kite hoist at first light tomorrow.”

Greenings has made a welcome return to the race after a brief diversion to Porto, following the injury to the Skipper (David Hartshorn). The team is currently lying in twelfth place but it is important to note that they will be given some redress for the time taken for the diversion.

Deputy Race Director, Daniel Smith, who has taken over as interim Skipper for the rest of Race 1 says: “We plan to continue with the high standards that Dave has set onboard and will sail safely, perfect our skills and race the boat to Uruguay. We are a few days behind the fleet but we will aim to keep hot on their tails and wait for some opportunities to open up. We need a bit of luck and some good weather but I’ve always said the harder we work the luckier we get.”

The Trade Winds are expected to increase gradually, and there will be more gusts at the north end of the fleet, but for the next 24 hrs these should stay less than 25 kts. The Clipper Race fleet is expected to make the most of these winds before entering the Doldrums corridor. Squall activity is still quite low although some drizzle is expected, which will come as a relief from the increasing heat!

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.

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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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