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Clipper Race: Life on the lean

Published on November 8th, 2017

(November 8, 2017; Day 8) – Life continues at a lean for many Clipper Round the World Yacht Race teams today as the fleet slogs it out in tough upwind conditions.

Now deep in the Southern Ocean with around 3,400 nautical miles to go until Fremantle, Sanya Serenity Coast maintains its lead over the rest of the fleet although the distance it had over the other teams has considerably reduced over the last 24 hours.

Skipper Wendy Tuck, explains: “Yesterday, the wind was much higher than forecasted…so I decided to shorten sail even more. Needless to say, it didn’t increase and a lot of the time we were slightly under powered. Hopefully, we can hold on to our little buffer zone.”

PSP Logistics has edged into second place ahead of Dare To Lead although both teams have been frustrated by a lack of progress and have tacked southwards. PSP Logistics Skipper, Matt Mitchell, reports: “Although progress isn’t great, it’s progress none the less. We have a good solid 10 knots boat speed giving us about 7 knots VMG (Velocity Made Good).”

Qingdao, which has played its Joker Card on this race, has climbed to fourth place, and is currently ahead of Liverpool 2018 to the north and GREAT Britain and Visit Seattle to the south. All of the teams are finding life at an angle a challenge.

“I think I’m not the only one on board who is kind of over it now and looking forward to a change in wind direction to flatten the boat out,” said Qingdao Skipper Chris Kobusch. “Besides the heeling we made reasonable good progress over the past 24 hours and are heading more or less in the right direction now.”

Having slipped to seventh position, Visit Seattle Skipper, Nikki Henderson explains how they have gone south and hope it pays off. “The crew are relieved either way though as the wind has eased and therefore so has the lean. We had a tough day and a tough night. A few sail changes in bitterly cold conditions left the gang exhausted. Add that to a few bumps and bruises and the relentlessness of living life at 45 degrees and it’s really a challenge.”

Skippers on board eighth-placed Unicef and ninth-placed Nasdaq have been lamenting the cold conditions that the teams are experiencing on board. Nasdaq Skipper, Rob Graham, reports: “Apparently, this is summer in this part of the world! With the sail plan and trim largely fixed, there isn’t much to do on deck besides helming, so we have a rotation of crew spending a period below to stay warm.”

Garmin is currently in tenth position having taken the most northerly route of the teams to the east of, which is currently in eleventh having previously diverted to Port Elizabeth. The latter is experiencing slightly different weather conditions from the rest of the fleet.

“Today, we find ourselves beating into a South South-Easterly gale, making no progress towards the finish line on this course,” explains Skipper Conall Morrison. “However, such is sailing and we knew the last two days’ progress couldn’t last forever. This tack should see us into a patch of more favourable winds tomorrow and so we can tack and point the boat back towards Fremantle.”

Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, predicts strong gusts for overnight whilst there is a high-pressure system approaching the rest of the fleet making for some interesting tactical decisions.

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. medevaced an injured crew member in Port Elizabeth and brought aboard six new honorary crew members, formally of team Greenings, on board for Race 3 as it continues the race to Fremantle.

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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.

Race RouteRace Schedule and Miles


Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race

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