Clipper Race: Southern Ocean leg begins
Published on October 31st, 2017
Cape Town, South Africa (October 31, 2017) – The third stage of the Clipper 2017-18 Round the World Yacht Race, officially known as Race 3: The Dell Latitude Rugged Race, got underway today for the 12 teams from Cape Town for its highly anticipated 4,754 nm Southern Ocean sleigh ride towards Fremantle, Australia.
The race officially got underway at 1200 UTC (1400 local time) in light and variable conditions.
First to cross the start line, ahead of a triangular course in Table Bay, was Capetonian Dale Smyth’s Dare To Lead team, closely followed by Visit Seattle, led by youngest ever Clipper Race Skipper Nikki Henderson, and HotelPlanner.com, Skippered by Conall Morrison from Derry-Londonderry.
Sanya Serenity Coast was first to the next mark with its kite up, followed by Greenings, Unicef and HotelPlanner.com. As the fleet headed out of Table Bay, Sanya Serenity Coast continued to lead the rest of the teams who were tested by fluky winds swinging between the north and west.
Early tactical decisions will need to be made after leaving the fickle winds of Table Bay, and passing the Cape of Good Hope, as the twelve teams negotiate a potential wind hole when crossing the Agulhas Bank, an area notorious for very disturbed seas where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.
This Southern Ocean stage of the Clipper Race is seen as the first major test of nerves and courage as the teams head into the notorious Roaring Forties, an area laying between 40 and 50 degrees latitude which is respected by sailors as one of the best places to fully appreciate Mother Nature in her most raw and powerful glory.
Once reaching the strong easterlies, spinnakers are likely to appear and ocean racing tactics will be in full flow as the matched fleet of Clipper 70s will aim to reach downwind surfing speeds of more than 25 knots as they steam towards Australia.
Greenings has won both stages of the Clipper 2017-18 Race so far but is currently in second place in the overall standings after receiving two penalty points from Race 1, lying behind Dare To Lead, which elected to play its Joker Card in Race 2 and came second into Cape Town.
This is the first race where more than one team – both Qingdao and Greenings – have elected to play the Joker Card, meaning that both teams will double their race points once final positions are confirmed in Fremantle.
Greenings Interim Skipper Andy Woodruff is not letting the pressure get to him, saying: “I have no expectations, just going to go out there and deal with whatever gets thrown at us, really.
“The team has really pulled together over the last two races and are in a strong, consistent position which is why we have taken the decision to play our Joker Card in this race. The last race was a good warm up and we’re feeling ready to take whatever the Southern Ocean throws our way.”
Teams are expected to arrive into Fremantle, Western Australia, between November 21 and 25.
Following a stopover there, they will depart on December 2 for Sydney, where they will once again take on the bluewater classic Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race between Christmas and New Year. After a short stop in Hobart, the race continues north up the east coast to Airlie Beach in the heart of the picturesque Whitsunday Islands which mark the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, which will tie up Leg 4, the All-Australian Leg.
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 40,000nm 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.
Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race