Clipper Race: Not what was advertised
Published on November 7th, 2017
(November 7, 2017; Day 7) – A wind hole held up the leading pack of the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet on Day 7 of Race 3 (The Dell Latitude Rugged Race) with the teams now back beating upwind. The downwind sailing conditions, that had been expected as part of a Southern Ocean sleigh ride towards Fremantle, Australia, are noticeably absent.
The podium positions have remained the same over the last 24 hours and, with under 3,500 nautical miles to go, Sanya Serenity Coast continues to be in front with Dare To Lead in second and PSP Logistics in third.
Sanya Serenity Coast was the first to break through the wind hole. “The crew worked really well keeping the boat moving,” explained skipper Wendy Tuck. “We had the Code 1 (lightweight spinnaker) up and managed to keep it flying. It’s now back on the nose. We have the really weird situation of nearly being able to surf upwind. It will change and get a bit messy as the sea and then swell turn and match where the wind comes from but, at the moment, it’s not too shabby.”
Dare To Lead Skipper, Dale Smyth, is lamenting the lack of downwind sailing, reporting: “The wind filled in later last night from the east and we are now close-hauled living at 45 degrees again. There has been a serious lack of nice downwind surfing conditions since we left a week ago.”
In third place, PSP Logistics Skipper Matt Mitchell remains relatively upbeat despite the upwind conditions: “The forecast has us in headwinds for the next 24 hours or so too so progress won’t be amazing. We shouldn’t be beating into the horribleness first seen on this leg though.”
With around 3,600 nautical miles to go, Visit Seattle remains in fourth place just ahead of GREAT Britain and Qingdao, who have leapt up to fifth and sixth place respectively and can now see each other on AIS (Automatic Identification System).
GREAT Britain Skipper, Andy Burns, reports: “As far as I can see from the position reports we get we are still very much in the mix and are now heading our best course east after our second wind hole in the Southern Ocean hit just behind Visit Seattle who we have on AIS. The weather is already showing signs of a serious eat, sleep, sail, repeat approach to the next few days as we begin our lengthy beat to somewhere near the Scoring Gate.”
Liverpool 2018 has slipped a couple of places to seventh place after a break in the weather whilst Unicef has climbed up to eighth after the wind returned on the nose.
Unicef Skipper Bob explains: “Back to life at 40 degrees, further south than yesterday with a wind direction that has a southerly element means it’s time for helming gloves. The downwind sailing under spinnaker slowed to a standstill in the afternoon, the wind dropped and then disappeared to return on the bow. With a tacking angle of 100 degrees, we are now 50 degrees off course until the next wind shift.”
Garmin fell to ninth position after significantly feeling the effects of the wind hole whilst Nasdaq remains in tenth and HotelPlanner.com in eleventh although the latter is catching up fast as it has been dealing with different weather conditions from the rest of the fleet.
Skipper Conall Morrison reports: “Top speeds were beaten again and again with a record of 22 knots. It is nice to have Greenings crew onboard and their racing attitude and experiences brings a freshness to life on the good ship.”
Clipper Race meteorologist, Simon Rowell, has explained the unusual conditions for the Southern Ocean being due to the Jet Stream being quite far north, which is why the low-pressure system is so far north. The fleet should begin to see the influence of the following high-pressure system and the wind should gradually veer and ease as the ridge approaches from the south.
• Greenings ran aground just hours after the start on October 31 of the third leg from Cape Town, South Africa to Fremantle, Australia. The crew was safely evacuated but damage to the boat was deemed too extensive for it to continue in the 2017-18 edition.
• HotelPlanner.com medevaced an injured crew member in Port Elizabeth and brought aboard six new honorary HotelPlanner.com crew members, formally of team Greenings, on board for Race 3 as it continues the race to Fremantle.
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 October 31 for the 12 teams from Cape Town for the 4,754 nm Southern Ocean sleigh ride towards Fremantle, Australia. Teams are expected to finish between November 21 and 25.
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