Clipper Race: Somber day at sea

Published on November 20th, 2017

(November 20, 2017; Day 20) – Following the death of crewman Simon Speirs on Great Britain and his burial at sea yesterday, the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet continues its journey on to Fremantle in varying conditions with reports of everything from squalls and confused seas to blue skies and ideal downwind conditions.

Speaking from on board Nasdaq, Skipper Rob Graham said: “There has been a somber mood onboard Nasdaq as we try to come to terms with what has happened. For now, we have to pick ourselves up and concentrate on the task in hand: getting safely and quickly to Fremantle.”

Sanya Serenity Coast continues to lead the fleet but the area of high pressure ahead is bringing light winds which could threaten its progress. Skipper Wendy Tuck explained: “I am currently scratching my head trying to figure out how to get past this big high that is coming to spoil the party. We know the fleet will catch up as we park up, that’s always hard, as long as we have a tiny breath of air the crew are awesome at keeping the boat moving and moving well in light breeze.”

PSP Logistics, currently second, is leading the chasing pack some 200 nautical miles behind the leader. After completing the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint, Skipper Matt Mitchell reported that PSP Logistics had passed through squally conditions: “Well this is much more like it. Sun is out, kite is up and we are making great progress towards Freo.”

Visit Seattle, in third place, is hot on PSP Logistics’ stern trailing by just ten nautical miles. It too experienced varying conditions with Skipper Nikki Henderson reporting: “We are now pointing directly at Fremantle after a sloppy night in a confused sea with not enough wind to power on through. Going fast in the right direction with blue sky above our heads always feels good.”

Qingdao and Dare To Lead remain closely knitted together in fourth and fifth place respectively, completing the Elliot Brown Ocean Sprint yesterday evening and making good progress towards Fremantle. After a slow night under white sails, Dare To Lead Skipper Dale Smyth summarises the feelings on board and across the fleet: “I hate typing the blog today as if our lives are back to normal, they are not. We are all still deeply saddened by the events of the last two days and continue to offer our love and support to the greater Clipper Race family and Andy in particular.”

In another show of support, Unicef, led by Skipper Bob Beggs, made the decision to sail towards GREAT Britain and after speaking with Skipper Andy Burns Bob said: “Overnight we could make out GREAT Britain on the AIS and had a quick chat with Skipper Andy we offered any assistance they might need but they are self-sufficient and resuming racing, our thoughts are with them. We have now gybed towards Fremantle and are now flying our spinnaker making good speed and now expect the weather to become warmer each day as we head North and approach Australia.”

On board seventh placed Liverpool 2018, eighth placed Garmin and tenth placed Nasdaq, the Elliot Brown Sprint has not brought favourable conditions. However, that looks to have changed for eleventh placed which is just about to embark on the challenge. Skipper Conall Morrison, said: “This morning the wind is in a favourable direction for the Elliott Brown Ocean Sprint and so she is flying again. Our midday watch change has gone well and crew are focussed on doing their best over the next 320 nautical miles.”

Looking ahead at weather conditions Simon Rowell, Clipper Race Meteorologist, reports that the next low is starting to push in and the fleet should see the wind veering and gradually increasing over the next 24 hours, which will be more noticeable on board than the rest of the fleet. There is also a front pushing in with this, so teams can expect more gusty conditions and more squalls but looking further ahead the big feature is the high sliding around Cape Leeuwin ahead of them.

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. 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.

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Source: Clipper Round the World Yacht Race


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