Clipper Race: Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint
Published on November 18th, 2017
(November 18, 2017; Day 18) – Leaderboard standings across the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet have stayed consistent over the last 24 hours as the leading teams began their Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint.
Race leaders, Sanya Serenity Coast, crossed the western start gate first with Skipper Wendy Tuck reporting: “We started the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint last night, so have our spikes on and we are off. This morning has been a bit busy – we decided to go for a hoist of the Code 3 (heavyweight spinnaker). All went well, until about one hour later the breeze built up again and what with chippy choppy sea was time to get it down.”
Conditions are turning in her favor though and she added: “Now it’s getting packed as it looks like we will be able to hold it now as the breeze has changed direction and eased. So, it will be time to drive it like we stole it very soon.”
In second place, PSP Logistics has also crossed the starting gate of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint and Skipper Matt Mitchell reports: “We didn’t have the fastest start as the wind was a little too much for a spinnaker. We are flying along now though. As I write we have just over 260 miles until the end of the sprint on our current heading.”
Having narrowed Sanya Serenity Coast’s advantage to around 60 nautical miles, he added: “We have around 1300 nautical miles to go until arrival and the competition is heating up! Our main focus points are both defense and attack at the moment – it’s going to be a close finish either way.”
Other teams will continue to cross the start gate of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint throughout the day and Visit Seattle is currently in third place with Dare To Lead and Qingdao in close proximity to each other in fourth and fifth place. Dare To Lead Skipper Dale Smyth commented: “I had a nice chat with Chris Kobusch this morning on VHF as Qingdao has been our sailing partner for the last 12 hours. Amazing that after 18 days you can be sailing alongside another boat despite taking vastly different tracks.”
Unlike the Scoring Gate, the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint bonus points are awarded to the three teams with the quickest times. The Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint winners therefore will only be announced once the final team has completed the challenge.
GREAT Britain retains sixth place whilst further back Liverpool 2018 is in seventh place ahead of Unicef in eighth. Unicef Skipper Bob Beggs reports: “The surfing continues, we’re pointing in the direction that we want to go. The miles to Fremantle are counting down.”
In ninth place, Garmin is preparing for a medevac of crew member, Erik Hellstrom, who is suffering from an abdominal condition [LINK], but Skipper Gaëtan Thomas said: “Erik is in good hands and we will do everything we can to get him back on track.”
Nasdaq, in tenth, is ahead of HotelPlanner.com, in eleventh, and Skipper Rob Graham is looking forward to the start of the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint commenting: “In terms of the racing, it’s interesting to see the fleet converging once again, as we each plot our best entry point and route across the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, which for us looks as though it will begin overnight tomorrow.”
Clipper Race Meteorologist Simon Rowell reports that today and much of tomorrow should bring a continuation of the strong WSW/SW winds that the teams currently have. It looks like a high-pressure system will be sliding around Cape Leeuwin as the teams approach Fremantle leading to some fleet compression and an exciting race finish.
• 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