Clipper Race: Bait and switch
Published on November 15th, 2017
(November 15, 2017; Day 15) – The Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet has seen mixed conditions with fast downwind conditions being replaced by shifting winds and lighter airs for many teams. Sanya Serenity Coast remains in the lead with less than 2,000 nautical miles to go to Fremantle.
“Yes, we got a kite up, but it was only for a few hours as the wind increased and it was getting to be a bit much,” reports Sanya skipper Wendy Tuck. “We still maintained good speed, kite came down as it should (i.e. all in one piece) and it is chomping at the bit to get back up again.”
Whilst in the lead, she is not resting on her laurels and adds: “We still do have some tricky bits to get through (i.e. light winds and of course the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint). At the moment it’s all about boat speed and pointing the boat towards Freo…”
PSP Logistics retains second place and Skipper, Matt Mitchell, is optimistic despite the changing conditions in the south: “Right now, the wind has eased somewhat and we have a few hours of lighter air before it builds again from the north west which means more super-fast sailing and more miles falling away!”
After a fast 24 hours under spinnaker Dare To Lead has moved up to third place after overtaking Visit Seattle, who are now in fourth, and Skipper, Dale Smyth, reports: “It feels amazing to be going downwind and we have managed to fix up and clean numerous things onboard.”
Not far behind Dare To Lead, having also taken a northerly route, is Liverpool 2018 in fifth place. Meanwhile Qingdao remains in sixth but is experiencing fickle winds with Skipper, Chris Kobusch, reporting: “The wind died down over night though and, having a look at the weather forecast, there is a risk of yet another wind hole in the south. I have no doubt we will find it. Or it us.”
On board Garmin, in seventh, Skipper Gaëtan Thomas is also fearing the dreaded light airs, but remains hopeful that the team will benefit from the following winds, saying: “The centre of a high-pressure system is trying to swallow us up inside the wind hole. In the next days we should start to have some decent downwind sailing – it will be good to see some +20kts of speed on the speedo!”
GREAT Britain has slipped to eighth place with Skipper, Andy Burns, reporting: “From 40 knots to zero knots in the space of 24 hours. We are back in the realms of tedious wallowing awaiting our next onslaught of downwind fun.”
Back in ninth place, Unicef has been enjoying the downwind conditions with Skipper, Bob Beggs, explaining: “Downwind sailing is such a delight after the last two weeks. Now with the spinnaker driving and double figure VMG (Velocity Made Good) it seems we are finally going to eat some miles up in the right direction towards Fremantle.”
Nasdaq remains in tenth place ahead of HotelPlanner.com and Skipper, Rob Graham, reports: “After a slightly blustery evening when some heavy low clouds came over, things calmed down again overnight, and when the sky cleared it was reassuring to see that the stars are still up there. It’s been a long time since we saw so many.”
He added: “We’re making decent speed towards Freo across a gentle sea, in good conditions for helming and trimming lessons.”
Clipper Race Meteorologist, Simon Rowell, reports that, after the light headwinds, the fleet will begin experiencing increasing gusts with squalls as the front creeps closer, which is expected to reach the southern teams first before gradually moving north.
The Race Committee has also announced that, following Unicef’s official request, it would be awarded redress totalling 2 hours and 33 minutes for the time spent in support of the stricken yacht, Greenings, at the beginning of the race.
• 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. Updates here.
• 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